Master Your Mindset for Better UX
A designer has a lot to learn in order to achieve big things. A user interface or user experience design project is never straightforward; it is fraught with ambiguities and challenges in various aspects of the design process. These problems can only be solved if the designer has certain soft skills to support his technical knowledge. There are many skills that can master your mindset as a UX designer. This article is about some of them. The following 6 UX mindsets will help you tremendously. The good news is that most of these skills can be developed and honed with a lot of exercise and self-motivation.
Be open to criticism, embrace change, and learn from failure. As a UX designer, you have to put your ego and design aside for people. This means that not all of your ideas will turn out to be good. It's not about what you think is the best or which idea you like the most. It's about users and their needs, and creating great, useful products requires a lot of ideas that need to change, explore and change directions, and explore what works and what doesn't. If you get attached too easily to your ideas, you forget about your work.
Miscommunication is the main culprit for conflicts within teams. Effective communication is more than just sharing information. It's about understanding the emotions and intentions behind the information. In addition to being able to convey a message clearly, you also need to listen so that you can fully understand what is being said and make the other person feel heard and understood. This is something that should always be considered and will help you become an effective communicator.
Research & Evaluation
During the research, the user experience designer gets a better picture of the users and tries to understand problems and behavior. With methods such as contextual user interviews, personas, and empathy maps, the basis for the optimal product experience is laid here. Without research and knowledge of the target groups, it is often difficult to develop good ideas. This type of research is usually called user or design research and knowledge of the corresponding methods is very important for user experience designers.
During the evaluation, the user experience designer uses his technical expertise to evaluate an existing product or service. Usually, this is done with a so-called heuristic review, i.e. a systematic and written evaluation according to certain user experience criteria. The evaluation of existing products and functions does not play the greatest role in the everyday life of the user experience designer but is nonetheless important in order to create a good starting point for optimization.
Know your audience
User research is the first step in the design process. It should come as no surprise that one of the most important factors to consider when designing a product's user experience is the audience. If your plan is to create a product that your users will love, you need to have an idea of what your target audience actually wants and needs. This means that user research and user story creation should be an integral part of the UX design process.
It is vital that your users are the focus before you start designing! In this way, you can create added value for people who use your product and focus on benefits and usability instead of functions. User experience designers should be able to identify when to stop adding new features and instead keep constant about what users love and appreciate about an experience.
Curiosity & a desire to learn
A desire to learn is an important character trait in many different professions. You cannot be a doctor who once learned about medicine and then stopped reading about it. You will not be a good scientist if you are not interested in new scientific discoveries. It's the same with UX design. A self-learner and a willful person will become the driving force for their success. UI and UX are not industries that rely on fancy degrees or certification—success depends on professional ethics and consistency.
I'm not saying that to be a good UX designer you have to know all about it. You don't need to know everything about typography, color structures, usability and UX, business, coding, research, writing, psychology, etc. It's good to be a specialist, but you need to at least know the basics of many disciplines to be good. So the curiosity and desire to learn can make you a good UX designer. If you have no desire to learn or seek solutions to user problems and comprehend their essence, then you will not be able to work effectively in the UX industry.
"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious."
Cultivate your creative confidence
Don't be afraid to voice your thoughts because of afraid your ideas will be rejected. Practice and self-education is the only thing that can make you a better UX designer. But it's important to do it effectively, setting yourself the right goals. Prioritize your goals. There are endless possibilities and choices you can make. It is easy to get lost in this sea of possibilities. You must clearly define what you want to achieve and create an action plan. Set challenging goals for yourself. Setting goals for yourself will help you work more efficiently on time-limited projects.
Empathy" is the first stage of the design thinking process, which means putting yourself in the user's shoes, which can also be used by the design team and clients. As a designer, you must be able to empathize with other people - both passive and active. This is what makes you a great designer because you can incorporate these insights/discoveries into your work to create great experiences that are relevant and valuable to the people who will use them.
A great way to understand the audience you need to serve with your design is by communicating with them through user interviews, surveys, and usability tests that will allow you to gather the feedback you need to start designing. As you practice the Art of Communication, you must learn to be an Active Listener, this is the ability to conduct a listening session in which you focus on the other person and not think about the things that come into your mind and come out of them.
Empathy Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to take a balanced approach to the processing and consumption of information. We are constantly in the flow of information. It is easy to get lost in it, lose focus, or become a victim of manipulation. The skill helps to verify information, look for relationships between facts, think rationally, make the right decisions, and formulate strong arguments. Graphic designers and UX designers are equally adept at creative thinking. For UX designers, creating visuals that adhere to conventions while maintaining a sense of originality requires serious creative and critical thinking. Likewise, UX designers must design products that solve user problems, and sometimes traditional solutions are not always the best or most appropriate.
The user experience designer also manages to bring very complex functions into simple and easy-to-use interfaces. In addition, he also establishes recurring patterns within a product - the so-called design patterns - which make it easier for the user to find his way around. To do this, he must always have an overview of the product in its entirety and then refine and design the relevant details.
Ideas and new conceptual approaches are more and more rarely created single-handedly but are developed together in a team or with the client. The diverse perspectives make it easier to develop ideas than when you are sitting alone in front of the computer. The user experience designer often organizes these ideas and sketching sessions with the team in order to include the ideas of others at an early stage and to accelerate his own work.
There are many presentations in UX design, you can present the results of your discoveries, you can present your projects to your stakeholders or your clients. Therefore, it would be important for you to have at least some presentation skills that will enable you to build an effective presentation and know how to defend your work and how to present it in an effective way. Therefore, think about how you can improve your presentation skills before starting any presentation in your day-to-day UX design work.
Don't be afraid of making mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes. It's the only way to learn. You only really learn when you make mistakes. If you are afraid of making mistakes and want to do everything perfectly, learning will fall short. Keep the rules above in mind, but most importantly, try to keep using new UX design techniques and approaches in software development to find the result that works best for you and your customers.
Keep in mind that when designing interfaces, user-friendliness is just as important as appearance. When you become a designer, remember that hard skills are important, but soft skills are what make you great. It doesn't require you to read or do more than you already do. You just need to adopt this practice to your daily work. And thanks to this, you will soon see how you have grown not only as a designer but also as a person.