10 TED Talks That Will Redefine the Way You Think and Work as a UX Designer

Albert Shepherd updated on 2024-06-06 13:48:24
ux talks

Technology, Education, and Design, or TED, is a global platform that inspires and motivates the audiences to know more about the world and ourselves. The conference that started in 1984 has become one of the most critical and vocal platforms about its three core domains today. Within these three aspects, Design has grown and evolved with the global platform.

As a result, there are numerous UX talks that have enjoyed an amazing response from the global audience because they had a coherent and all-encompassing appeal. The beauty of listening to TED talk UX design is that they are easy to understand even for a non-designer and everything that is talked about in these top 10 videos applies to the real world.

So, here are the top 10 UX design talks powered by the TED platform that every UXer must watch.

Top TED Talks in UX Design

  1. How to Make Easier - Sheena Iyengar

We make choices by Choosing the minute. Sheena Iyengar takes the audience on an extraordinary journey of the importance of making choices in our daily lives with this UX TED. She also addresses the choice overload problems and how to tackle them successfully.

In her talk, she has quoted some research and surveys wherein the authors asked average Americans and CEOs about the choices they make every day. It was found that an average American is presented with around 70 choices in a day and a CEO is presented with 139 choices.

The importance of knowing how to make choosing easier in UX design directly relates to the ability of a UX designer to understand the end-users. Every product needs an effective design that creates a smooth user experience for its customers.

So, by understanding how a person makes his/her choice, a UX designer is better adapted to create the relevant design.

  1. Simplicity Sells - David Pogue

David Pogue touches upon a very beautiful and important aspect of our lives in this TED talk UX, and that is simplicity. He takes the audience through the evolution of operating systems and shows how they have become progressively complex. David Pogue helps the audience understand that Software Rage is a real and daily problem.

So, the purpose of listing this TED talk on our list is that as a UX designer, you also need to understand the importance of simplicity. Systems and software might be getting smaller, smarter, and more efficient. But the users are not able to advance at the same speed.

As an example, you can reduce the size of the button on the phone screen, but the human fingers cannot reduce in size. So, to make our systems more efficient and minimal, we may be making its usage complex and challenging.

  1. The First Secret of Design is...Noticing

Tony Fadell uses his experience and expertise as a product designer to help his audience understand the impact of the little almost unnoticeable things in the realm of designing. In his UX talks, he is seen talking about activities like driving a car and the experience of driving it for the first time vs. the hundredth time.

This UX design TED talk is a great resource for beginners as they plan to step into this amazing field and have to learn how little things matter in every aspect of designing. Tony, who also created the iPod concept and co-founded Nest Labs wants young designers to understand the core of designing.

He says that we need to see things as they are and not as how we like to see them. The fundamental difference is that when we see things as we want, the solution won't work because our version is different from how everyone else sees the same thing and formulate the right solution.

  1. How Giant Websites Design For You - Margaret Gould Stewart

Margaret Gould Stewart has been a part of the team that has given shape, face, and meaning to things like Google, YouTube, and Facebook. She has been designing the aspects related to these platforms and technologies. Comprehending their unfathomable scale and structure is painstaking for one person.

Via this UX Talks on TED, the author helps the viewers identify two core concepts of designing. These are Audacity and Humility. Audacity implies the ability and potential to work on a project that has a global appeal, and humility refers to the sentiment that "the design I create has a global usage."

These things matter in UX designing because when you are building something that is used by more than a billion people, every little thing can turn out to be a disaster or improvement.

  1. Designers, think big! - Tim Brown

Designers have been creating new things and implementing their understanding of what passes as a great design for centuries. Tim Brown for one, who has created numerous designs, accepts that he has been looking at design from a different perspective, one that kept on becoming obsolete because he was missing the 'Thinking' behind that design.

In this UX TED talk, Tim helps his audience understand three tenets of design thinking or Integrated thinking. These tenets are Desirability, Viability, and Feasibility.

By accumulating these aspects, a designer needs to work on his/her design thinking. Design thinking must be used to fuse conflicting constraints and create a new solution that provides a new kind of user experience, one that impacts and engages.

  1. Reinventing User Experience - Kes Sampanthar

Kes Sampanthar came onto the platform of UX TED talks to share some rather remarkable insights, and some of his ideas might change the way you have been thinking about design.

He says that we need to come out of the two schools of thought that have been used by designers, one, making things beautiful, and the other is gamify the design.

However, Kes says that neither of these things is useful in creating compelling user experiences. As a designer, it is important to understand the true motivation of a user and what prompts them to make a decision.

Kes talks about the concepts of liking and wanting, which are different and individual aspects. Motivational design is the mix of liking and wanting that a designer should understand to create impact-worthy products and solutions.

  1. The 4 Superpowers of Design - Kevin Bethune

UX designers are superheroes. It does have a nice right to it, doesn't it? Well, Kevin Bethune goes to deep lengths in this UX Talks presented on TED and redefines the very fabric of the audience's understanding of what is designing and who is a designer.

Kevin shares that every designer has four superpowers, starting with X-ray vision. They are able to understand their users without actually asking a question. Second, designers are shapeshifters.

Yes, they know how to empathize, but this kind of understanding that turns a user's feelings into tangible end products is something that makes a design superhuman.

Designers can make other people or users superhumans by motivating them and putting them into a state of constant flow. Designers can imagine, create, and fabricate products that ensure that the end-users do not run out of flow while they are using them. Lastly, designers also have extrasensory perceptions. Want to know how? Watch the full video, and you will understand your last superpower.

  1. The Complex Relationship Between Data And Design In UX - Rochelle King

Rochelle King, who has been a part of the design team at Spotify and Netflix, highlights the importance of data in designing. In this UX design TED talk, she helps the audience understand the difference between providing user experience in the physical world and the digital one.

As a designer, you have better access to data and insights about the user's preferences, which makes things easier. At the same time, it also asks you to shoulder a higher extent of responsibility. This is because, in digital designing, you have all the variables under your fence and can control them with the help of actionable insights.

Rochelle instructs the audience to think of data as an ongoing conversation between helps a designer refine the customer instincts over time.

  1. The best computer interface? Maybe… your hands - James Patten

James Patten is an expert designer of robotics and uses his expertise in kinetics to create things in the real world rather than the digital world. This sort of UX Ted talks takes the audience onto a new and innovative train of thought that forces them to think differently.

As a UX designer, you may find this TED talk interesting in the respect that it talks about a user's hands as the best type of interface. James has helped people with his projects to use their hands and mind to create a better experience.

He wants the designers to think with a similar approach and redefine how a designer must think about their end-users ability to use their hands and minds to create new types of experiences.

  1. Design for All 5 Senses

Jinsop Lee is an avid supporter of good design and wants end-users UX designers to create solutions and product designs for the five human senses as opposed to two. These five senses are sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste.

As a new approach to understanding the user, a UX designer needs to imagine the end-user leveraging his/her five senses while using the product. If not for all five, even if a product is designed in a way that a user has to use one more sense apart from the usual two (touch and sight) can enhance the user experience.


All these UX TED talks are quite revolutionary in their own respect. If you watch them all closely, these UX talks provide a new way of thinking, imagining, and ideating the very fabric of UX design. Irrespective of the level of UX designing you have accomplished, you must watch these UX design talks as they will only add to your existing knowledge base and make you a better designer.