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Design Tips Featured UX Design

A brief guide to UX microcopy

A brief guide to UX microcopy

Illustration inspiration
Illustration by Ouch.pics

hen it comes to design, most people would immediately link it to visuals and appearances and they’re not entirely wrong. But UX design isn’t that simple, it’s more than just aesthetically pleasing interfaces. There’s only so much your design can convey without any written copy.

Think about it, there’s no point in designing a super cool button when the call-to-action is missing — the user will have no idea of its purpose.

“Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.” — Hamza Yusuf

Though it isn’t a new term, the role microcopy plays in design is something many UX designers need to become more aware of. A few words are all it takes to have an impact on the user’s experience. With just a few words, you can either encourage your users to complete a purchase or drive them away from your product.

Microcopy vs Copy

Microcopy refers to all the little bits of copy that are not content. These short sentences or words tell a user what to do, address user concerns, and provide context to a component that requires a different approach than traditional marketing-oriented copywriting.

The target audience is where the major difference lies. With content marketing, the greater focus is on the customer — their desires, the problems that they wish to solve with your particular product or service.

In contrast, microcopy focuses on the user, who is the same entity, just at a different stage of their digital journey. Microcopy steps in once the customer becomes the user and now needs some help with adequately using the product or service and getting their desired benefit out of it.

Designers = Writers?

Traditionally, microcopy has always been done by the UX designer; maybe with help from the marketing team. Yet writing and language proficiency are not typically something designers are well-versed in. It’s outside the scope of our expertise and responsibilities, and tasking us to come out with stellar copy alongside a great design might lead to burnout or subpar results.

This is why we’re witnessing a rise of a new position and job scope that focuses exclusively on microcopy — the UX writer. Whereas the UX designer focuses on the visual aspects of the design, the UX writer takes care of its linguistic peculiarities.

A UX writer’s job is to help the user have a positive experience while using the product. They need to understand the user’s pain point and behavior, in order to craft engaging microcopy and improve the product’s overall usability.

UX writers are an integral part of the UX team, and they work closely with business development, strategy, marketing, and sales to understand their perspectives and incorporate them into the product experience.

The benefits of microcopy

An effective microcopy seeks to understand and anticipate the user’s expectations. It allows the user to feel like they are having a conversation with the interface. Users desire more than just pretty colors and nice illustrations on their screen, they want to be understood.

We must keep in mind that the copy is often the most human part of the entire interaction with our product. It is the element which allows the product to speak with its users, answering their questions, giving them directions, and prompting them to take action

Below are some key benefits of an effective microcopy:

Removing doubt and confusion

Users drop out of the conversion funnel for all kinds of reasons. I’m not saying that UX writing would solve all your problems but it would definitely help if your users drop out due to the following reasons:

  • Ambiguous or confusing messages
  • Too many jargons
  • Unclear shipping charges
  • Not enough information is given about the product
  • Uncertainty on how to proceed

Mailchimp

Mailchimp does a good job by explicitly telling their users the requirements for their password which prevents them from encountering multiple errors.

UX microcopy

This example from Dribbble shows how a few sentences can not only provide context into what the product is about, but also prompt action with a call-to-action button.

A brief guide to UX microcopy

When it comes to microcopy, less is more. Keep it simple and straight to the point. WeTransfer’s microcopy is short and concise, yet it clearly explains the benefits of using it.

 

Foster relationships and connection

Blending emotions into your microcopy creates an energy-filled atmosphere where trust grows and users are more willing to act. It will also add a human element to your product, which could make a difference between a positive and generic experience.

Always remember to be empathetic and use the correct tone at the right time. If an error occurs or the user needs help, using the wrong words could backfire and leave a negative impression on the user.

UX microcopy

Muzzle does a great job of being fun and delightful by showing a list of notification messages with cheeky content to illustrate their point and show the benefit of their feature — blocking notifications from your screen.

A brief guide to UX microcopy

Microcopy provides brands with further opportunities to convey personality. Dollar Shave Club, which is known for its sarcastic and humorous tone of voice, adds extra bullet-points to product descriptions purely for entertainment purposes.

Builds trust and confidence

Digital products tend to raise some inherent concerns, such as security and privacy. If a product isn’t transparent, it may cause users to hesitate, think twice, and ultimately abandon it. From the user’s point of view, these are some of the questions they might ask themselves — can be extracted through user research:

  • Why are you asking for my phone number?
  • Will you spam me with marketing emails?
  • Why do you need my credit card when it’s free?
  • What do I have to do to not get charged?
  • Is this process secure?

Microcopy can be used to respond to those questions, giving users the confidence they need to see the process through to completion.

UX microcopy

Linkedin builds trust by explaining why it requires the user’s credit card for a free trial — eliminating any doubt or fears that the user will be charged for it. It’s better to be upfront to your user, especially if you require them to give you confidential information; or if payment is part of the process.

 

“Small words can have a significant impact”

The benefits of effective UX microcopy are substantial; increased user engagement, brand loyalty, trust, and frictionless product experiences. When used correctly, good microcopy can help your product stand out in a highly competitive market.

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A brief guide to UX microcopy

Via Jeremiah Lam

Categories
Design Tips UI Design UX Design

What Does A UX Designer Actually Do?

UX designers working on a whiteboard

What is UX design, and what does a UX designer actually do? It’s a question I’ve been asked frequently since completing the CareerFoundry UX Design Program. Surprisingly, the question comes not only from friends and family, but also from employers and people who work in the tech industry.

There’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the field, which is why, as a UX designer, you’ll often find that your first task in a new job is to clearly explain the value you’ll be bringing to the company and how you’ll do so.

The purpose of this post is two-fold. If you’re new to UX design, it will provide a clear explanation of what UX is and what it entails. If you’re a UX designer, it aims to equip you with a clear and concise answer to that all-too-frequent question: What does a UX designer do?

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. What is UX design?
  2. What does a UX designer do?
  3. What are the typical tasks and processes of a UX designer?
  4. What skills does a UX designer need?
  5. Wrap-up and further reading

So what does a UX designer actually do? Let’s find out.

1. What is UX design?

Before we explore what a UX designer does, it’s important to first establish what UX design actually is. UX design focuses on the interaction between real human users (like you and me) and everyday products and services, such as websites, apps, and even coffee machines. It’s an extremely varied discipline, combining aspects of psychology, business, market research, design, and technology. As you can see, UX designers are expected to wear many different hats! We’ll take a closer look at what a UX designer does in section two. First, let’s consider where the term UX design comes from and how it has evolved.

UX is not new. In fact, the term has been around since the early nineties, coined by Donald Norman when he worked for Apple as a cognitive scientist. Don Norman was interested in all aspects of a user’s experience with a product or service, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, and physical interaction. To encompass all of the different elements that determine how a user feels while interacting with a product, he came up with the term “user experience”.

You can delve deeper into the history of UX design here. If you’re looking for a really in-depth exploration of UX design, then I’d recommend this UX guide—or simply hit play on the video below for a more gentle introduction.

 

Since the term came about, UX design has grown to be synonymous with good business; only those products and services that provide a seamless user experience will succeed on the market. With that, the demand for UX designers has radically increased—and, as the technology market continues to evolve, UX designers are more crucial than ever. The demand for UX designers is reflected in both the average UX designer salaries and the employment market for UX professionals.

UX design in action

So we know that UX designers are important, and we have a working definition of the term “UX”—but what does it actually look like in action?

Let’s imagine you’re shopping for a pair of shoes online. You find yourself in the “shoe” category, and there are over three hundred different pairs to browse—great! Then you realize there’s no way to filter the results, meaning you have to scroll through hundreds of unsuitable shoes before you find what you’re after. You get there in the end, and add them to your basket. You’re ready to make a purchase and, as a new customer, you have to create a new account. Ok, no problem—until you see that there are at least ten mandatory fields to be filled in! Buying your shoes on this website is starting to feel like more hassle than it’s worth, so you decide to abandon ship and look elsewhere.

That’s what you call a bad user experience. UX doesn’t only apply to websites, though; any kind of product or service you come into contact with evokes a certain type of experience. Is it easy to use? Does it enable you to complete your desired tasks with minimum effort? Is it logical and efficient? These are all indicators of a good or bad user experience.

Now we’ve established what UX design is, let’s return to our original question: What does a UX designer actually do?

Ryan planning a UX design sprint

2. What does a UX designer do?

If you’re considering a career as a UX designer, you’ll want to know how UX designers work on a day-to-day basis. what kinds of projects can you expect to work on? What is your role within a company? What does a UX designer actually do?

“How do I explain what I do at a party? The short version is that I say I humanize technology.” — Fred Beecher, Director of UX, The Nerdery

Fred Beecher sums up the role of the UX designer rather nicely. As a UX designer, you’re there to make products and technology usable, enjoyable, and accessible for humans. UX designers tend to work as part of a wider product team, and will often find themselves bridging the gap between the user, the development team, and key business stakeholders. As a UX designer, it’s your job first and foremost to advocate for the end user or customer. Whether you’re designing a brand new product, coming up with a new feature, or making changes to an existing product or service—the UX designer must consider what’s best for the user and the overall user experience. At the same time, you are also responsible for making sure that the product or service meets the needs of the business. Does it align with the CEO’s vision? Will it help to increase revenue or retain loyal customers?

As for the kinds of projects you’ll work on, this will vary dramatically from company to company, as will the size of your team, and your priorities. You may find yourself designing websites, mobile apps, and software, or even designing for voice, AR and VR devices! Some UX designers focus on service design rather than tangible products, such as designing the overall experience of using public transport or staying in a hotel. Within the UX designer job title, there are lots of specialist roles. We’ve broken down some of the most common UX job titles and what they mean in this guide.

UX designer reviewing a wireframe

When it comes to everyday tasks, these will also vary depending on your role and the company you work for. My experience of working in UX has involved elements of research, testing, business analysis, project management and psychology, as well as the more hands-on design tasks such as wireframing and prototyping. Despite the variety the role offers, there are some general functions that a UX designer can be expected to perform, including:

  • Conducting user research
  • Creating user personas
  • Determining the information architecture of a digital product
  • Designing user flows and wireframes
  • Creating prototypes
  • Conducting user testing

It is important to be aware that UX designers are not typically responsible for the visual design of a product. Rather, they focus on the journey that the user takes and how the product is structured to facilitate this journey. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at the UX design process and some of the key tasks that a UX designer will perform.

3. What are the typical tasks and processes of a UX designer?

As a UX designer, you’ll go through each step in the UX design process to make sure that any and all products are designed with the user in mind. So what kinds of tasks can you expect to carry out on a day to day basis? For a glimpse into a typical day in the life of a UX designer, check out the video below.

Now let’s take a closer look at the kinds of tasks that typically fall into the UX designer role.

  • Conducting user research
  • Personas and information architecture
  • User flows and wireframes
  • Prototyping and user testing
  • Visual design

Conducting user research

The initial stage in the UX design process is where the research (magic) happens. Generally, a UX designer will get a brief from the client or their manager asking them to do some project research.

Let’s use the fictitious fast food chain “Foodies” as an example. Imagine Foodies approach you because they want to design a new app. Firstly, it would be the UX designer’s role to combine desk-based and field research to get a full picture of who they are designing for. This might include reviewing what the current website has to offer, interviewing existing users to identify opportunities and pain-points, and doing competitor research to see what else is out there.

These tasks enable the UX designer to pinpoint the core features needed for the Minimum Viable Product (in other words, the first iteration of a product that you’ll release) and to start creating some initial user personas. For Foodies, the core features might be a menu, the ability to make online reservations, and a local branch finder.

In a nutshell, the user research phase is when you scope out the project, identifying exactly who you’re designing for and what the users’ goals and challenges are in relation to the product. You can learn more about the importance of user research and how to do it in this guide or explore this set of free UX research tutorials.

Personas and information architecture

Based on extensive user research, UX designers might then create user personas. This is where you delve deeper into what tasks each persona wants to perform and why. A typical persona for Foodies might be Samantha, a go-getting 20-something who likes eating artisan salads on her lunch break. An example task for her persona might be:

“Samantha likes to pre-order the Moroccan Lamb Salad via the mobile app as it saves her time between meetings.”

Another popular approach which might be used in conjunction with (or as an alternative to) user personas is jobs-to-be-done (JTBD). You can find a full comparison between personas and JTBD here.

Next, you’ll start thinking about the kind of content needed and how it will be structured across the website or app. This is what’s known as information architecture; working out the most logical layout and organization of the content. A good information architecture makes sure that the user can easily find what they’re looking for and intuitively navigate from one page to the next without too much thought.

User flows and wireframes

UX designers use a range of tools to map out the user’s journey through a product, including user flows and wireframes. User flows are basic flowcharts which visualize the complete path a user takes when using a product, from entry point right through to the final interaction. You can learn more in this introductory guide to user flows. While user flows map out the entire user journey, wireframes provide a two-dimensional outline of a single screen or page. We’ve covered the wireframing process in more detail here.

UX designer making wireframes

Prototyping and user testing

With the product layout mapped out, the UX designer will then create prototypes and run some user tests. A prototype is simply a scaled-down version of your product; a simulation which enables you to test your designs before they get developed. Prototypes range from the simplest of paper models to the more realistic, high-fidelity interactive prototypes which closely mimic the final product.

Testing your prototypes on real users helps to highlight any design flaws before you create the final product. Several rounds of testing could take place before the design is completely right. Once it is, the new product is finally ready to go into development. UX designers also attend sprint meetings, overseeing product development to make sure there aren’t any feature creeps (which often happens in my experience!) and helping to make small refinements to the design as and when necessary.

UX designer discussing user testing

Visual design

You’ll notice that none of the above tasks are concerned with the visual design of the product. While some UX designers will also specialize in visual design, it tends to fall under user interface (UI) design. So, the final imagery, color schemes, icons, and typography will usually be taken care of by a UI designer. If you’re confused about the difference between the two roles, here’s a great guide explaining the differences between UX and UI design.

One final point to make is that a UX designer’s work is rarely finished after the product launch. There will be refinements, small changes, new releases, feedback to gather and analytics to discuss with the team. The UX design process is highly iterative, and a career in UX is as much about collaboration and coordination as it is about design.

UI designer talking to UX designer

4. What skills does a UX designer need?

With such a varied range of tasks, UX designers need to have a very diverse skill set. Besides technical and design skills like wireframing, prototyping and interpreting data and feedback, UX designers also need certain “soft” skills.

Adaptability, communication, empathy, problem-solving and teamwork are all essential soft skills. As a UX designer, it’s important that you can collaborate effectively with those around you—from clients and stakeholders to developers and fellow designers, all the way through to the end user.

Business knowledge also goes a long way in the UX design industry. It’s important to understand both the goals of the company and the needs of the target audience, and to align these when coming up with design solutions.

 

5. Wrap-up and further reading

As you can see, UX is a fascinating, varied, and highly satisfying career path which could take you in many directions. Hopefully you now have a good idea of what a UX designer actually does, and how to explain it to anyone who asks! If you’re keen to learn more about what it’s like to work in UX, check out the following, or simply get in touch with us to find out about how we can take you from complete beginner to a hired UX designer in as little as six months with the CareerFoundry UX Design Program.

  • How to become a UX designer
  • A guide to the best UX design bootcamps and how to choose one
  • Should I do a UX design bootcamp or a UX design internship?

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Related articles:

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What Does A UX Designer Actually Do?

Via CAROLINE WHITE

Categories
Design Tips UX Design

5 emerging UX trends in 2019

UX trends in 2019

What trends are UX designers going to have to consider?

With technology constantly moving forward the industry has to adapt to new UX design strategies. Here’s what’s hot today.

The user experience is more important than ever.

If a user doesn’t get the right experience when visiting a site or device then they will simply go elsewhere to get the experience they want.

Typically, the user experience has been based on click and gestures on websites and apps, but as web design tools progress, new technologies are becoming more and more commonplace and are changing the parameters of a good user experience. Think about how voice has changed the way that you interact with your devices and how you search the web.

Here, we take a peek at the UX trends that are shaping the now and the future, and outline what you need to know about them.

01. Voice User Interfaces (VUIs)

Voice user interfaces (VUIs) allow the user to interact with a system through voice or speech commands. Virtual assistants, such as Alexa and Siri, are common examples of VUIs today. The way users interact with voice user interfaces is very different to graphical ones, so you may quickly find yourself unsure of how to create great user experiences for VUIs.

The intricate nature of user’s conversing with a VUI means a designer needs to pay close attention to how easily a user might overstep with expectations, because individuals normally associate voice with personal communication.

02. Storytelling for a more memorable experience

From a consumer’s point of view, UX design is no longer a unique selling point, it’s now an expectation. Humans become engrossed in stories and a good story has the power to create empathy with the user. Because more brands seek new and innovative ways to stand out from the rest, we will see a growing trend towards storytelling in UX.

However, learning how to incorporate storytelling into the design process will be one of the biggest challenges for UXers this year, but it also represents a huge area of opportunity for both brands and UXers who want to stand out.

03. UX for wearables

UX trends in 2019Think about how to design for wearables such as watches

During the past year, we’ve been witnessing the rise of a variety of wearables, from smartwatches to portable devices to monitor the quality of your sleep or your heart rate, for example. And their popularity will just continue to grow in 2019. So, it’s up to the UX designer to optimise the experience of these devices.

It’s an appealing space for designers that are intrigued by the idea of working at the intersection of fashion, technology and wellness, which adds that additional layer to the significance of user experience design.

04. AI for personalised experiences

UX trends in 2019AI plus UX = a host of design possibilites

With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies now have the opportunity to take a more personalised approach towards customers. AI will not replace UX designers but they can work together to give the user what they want. It’s about matching user information that AI collects with the knowledge of the UX designer.

Brands such as Netflix have known to curate content recommendations with their proprietary algorithm. This way, you’ll deliver a great experience based on the preferences, tastes, behaviours and characteristics of your user.

05. UX to drive business

Based on the trends we’ve already spoken about, UX design will continue to be the driver of business success, as more and more companies discover the return of investment when designing great products. The potential for design-driven growth is massive in both product and service-based sectors.

In short, a good user experience is clearly good for business. According to a study by Forester, companies who invest in UX, see a lower cost of customer acquisition, lower support cost, increased customer retention and increased market share.

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Design Tips UX Design

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be a Successful UX Designer

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be a Successful UX Designer

Cut out the things that are holding you back

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be a Successful UX Designer

Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

Success has different definitions for everyone. Becoming a great giver upperis essential to succeeding at the things that are important to you. Give up the stuff that is holding you back from becoming a great designer.

“Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.” (Seth Godin)

1. Give up thinking you’re an imposter

“I’ve written eleven books, but each time I think, Uh oh, they’re going to find me out now” (Maya Angelou)

Many designers suffer this fate. According to research, Imposter Syndrome affects 7 in 10 people at some point in their lives. It’s very common in high achievers and creatives.

Tanya Livesey gives great tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome:

  • As you grow and move up, be flexible and adaptable as you’ll never know all the answers.
  • Get a mentor. They can be a great support and inspiration.
  • Our inner critical voice usually comes from trying to live up to someone as a child. Tell your inner voice to zip it.
  • Spend more time looking outward rather than inward. Work on being less introspective.
  • Be proud and embrace failure.

2. Give up trying to solve the problem yourself

“There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves” (Lyndon B. Johnson)

User experience design is about collaboration between designers, colleagues, the business and users, to get the most useful and usable product created. You need to work with as many people as possible to get their ideas, insights and perspective on what you are designing.

Avoid going solo and get ideas from everywhere.

3. Give up working for a company that doesn’t do proper UX

“Most business models have focused on self interest instead of user experience” (Tim Cook)

Very difficult to grow as a designer if the company you work for doesn’t do the proper UX process. To do the right UX process takes time. If your business doesn’t make time for adequate UX design, it means it’s not a priority.

4. Give up trying to keep up with everything that’s going on in the tech world

“Let whatever you do today be enough”

There’s a lot going on in the world of tech. It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all the new stuff that’s coming out. Be picky and don’t get too stuck on everything. Find your niche and keep an eye on what’s going on in that area. For everything else, filter it out and keep your intake to a manageable amount.

5. Give up being unhealthy

“The mind and body are not seperate. What affects one affects the other”

To be a good designer you need to be creative, motivated and inspired. You can’t always be inspired, but if you eat crap and don’t do any exercise, your head will get foggy.

You can be unhealthy and design well, but it won’t last. Everything in moderation. Look after your health to give yourself the best chance of becoming an inspired designer.

6. Give up worrying about the tools you design with

“Problems are evergreen; tools and patterns are simply artefacts we shouldn’t be beholden to” (Stephanie Engle)

There are many tools for UX designers, and new ones pop up all the time. Use what works best for you. Use what makes the process as quick, simple and productive as possible.

Keep an eye on the new ones coming and be open to give them a try. Don’t get stuck on your everyday tools as there may be one new one that’ll make your life easier.

7. Give up rushing into Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, Photoshop etc.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” (Abraham Lincoln)

“Slow down. Rushing means you miss what’s right here”

Rushing’s not suitable for the UX process. You need to slow yourself down to design purposely.

Jumping ahead is the natural tendency. Personally, I like getting into Sketch, it feels like I’m moving forward, but it’s usually too soon. To create efficient designs, you are wise to stand back at the start and work through your discover and research stages.

8. Give up thinking you can’t get a job at Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Medium etc

“If you want it work for it, it’s as simple as that”

If you want to get somewhere, you need to write it down and work out how the hell you can get there.

You don’t need to be the best designer to work with the best companies. You need to be the most resourceful. Hatch a plan and hustle like mad.

Andrew Doherty does a great job explaining how his resourcefulness got him a job at Google in his video ‘How to get a great job in UX’.

9. Give up on perfectionism

“Making mistakes is better than faking perfections”

You’re not meant to get your designs perfect; you’re expected to get them out into the wild as soon as is sensible, then test and iterate.

You only really learn when you make mistakes. If you’re fearful of making mistakes and try to get everything perfect, you’ll miss out on learning.

10. Give up thinking you can’t write

You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing (Doris Lessing)

Writing helps designers:

  • Research a topic and learn more about it.
  • Articulate their thought process.
  • Learn to tell a story.
  • Pass on their learnings to others.
  • Become a better designer.

I write every week, some weeks every day. Much of it gets deleted. Much of it I don’t like, it’s iterative. Writing has made me a better reader, a better learner, a better writer and a better designer. Give it a go. You don’t need to publish it, you just just need to start writing.

11. Give up working with toxic people

“Letting go of toxic people is an act of self-care” (Karen Salmansohn)

They’ll be people you work with who don’t see the value in UX design. They’ll be those who’s ego gets in the way of their job, and they treat you or your work colleagues poorly.

When you come across these people, plan to move on, if it looks like you’ll be working with them for a while. You need to surround yourself with inspiring people to become a great designer

12. Give up worrying about titles

“You will be measured by your influence in the digital age, not your job title”

Are you a mid-weight designer? A senior designer? Neither matters. To become a great designer, you need to focus on your trade and not your title. Your skills and experience are more important than your title.

You are not a senior designer because you have it in your title. You’re a senior level designer because you have done your time, worked hard, produced lots of great work and can pass this on to designers starting out.

13. Give up working in your comfort zone

“A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for” (John A. Shed)

You only really learn when you’re out of your comfort zone. Once you get to point when you have mastered all you can in an area, and you’re getting comfortable, it’s time to move on.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

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Design Tips Featured UX Design

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX Design

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX Design

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX Design
Photo by Devin Edwards on Unsplash

“You must want to be a butterfly so badly, you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” (Sekou Andrews)

You’ve been keeping a keen eye on the UX/Product Design role for a while.

You’ve read a bunch of Medium articles and done lots of research on courses.

You decide to jump in and commit.

You pay for the in-classroom course.

One week in. “Shit, it feels like everyone else knows way more than me.”

One month in, “I’m exhausted.”

Finishing the course.“I’m buggered, anxious and excited. I’m ready to do this in the real world (I think).”

Three weeks after the course, “shit, getting a job is not as easy as I thought.”

You get the point.

It’s no walk in the park changing career into User Experience.

Here are seven simple truths to think about before getting into UX/Product Design →

(caveat: this comes from my experience as someone who had no background in experience design or digital stuff before I started.)

 

1. You might love-hate it (for a bit)

“Being supper uncomfortable and drinking too much coffee makes me twitchy”

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignToo much coffee please 😳(Photo by AJ Garcia on Unsplash)

It will screw with your head. Jumping into a new world freaked me out at first, it all felt so foreign. I never got bored, but I got bloody tired having to keep my brain in gear all the time.

It will stress you out being in this new world, and if you’re like me, you’ll drink too much coffee and have your monkey mind overthinking everything.

The point: Whatever will be, will be. Let it happen and don’t worry about it too much. This is the way it’ll be getting going. It’ll give you a few grey hairs and a few sleepless nights. Suck it up and enjoy it.

2. It might NOT be the right time for you

“Don’t rush, just because you have reasons! Reason with the reasons and take definite action in the right direction, in haste, where needed, or with patience, where it is essential to do so! Mind your thought and think about your action!” (Ernest Agyemang Yeboah)

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignIn 2009 I closed my cleaning company in Scotland. I was massively stressed. This stress meant my body didn’t enjoy uncomfortable situations anymore. For a while after, I sat in the shadows avoiding situations which put stress on me.

Years late when I jumped into user experience I felt much better. I felt stronger. I was less twitchy and tired. I felt ready for the change and was ready to give it a good crack.

The point: Everyone is different. Timing is important. Don’t jump into experience design unless you can put your heart, soul and strong mental health into it.

3. It won’t stop being hard

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” (Colin Powell)

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignFell running is a punish

It’s a bit like training to do a fell run. Fell running is something weird I used to do as a teenager. It’s a running race up and down a hill. Training to do a fell run is bloody hard at the start. As you get fitter you get better, but it doesn’t get any easier. You just get better at being used to the discomfort.

The point: With experience design, there’s a steep learning curve. Once you get a handle on what’s being asked of you, it’ll feel less foreign. It will still be tough though.

 

4. Short courses get you moving, the rest is up to you

“You realise that you will never be the best-looking person in the room. You’ll never be the smartest person in the room. You’ll never be the most educated, the most well-versed. You can never compete on those levels. But what you can always compete on, the true egalitarian aspect to success, is hard work. You can always work harder than the next guy.” (Casey Neistat)

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignEd Catmull — We all begin with suck.

If you did a General Assembly ten week plumbing immersive course how much would you learn? Would you know enough to become a fully fledged plumber? You wouldn’t, you’d learn enough to get an apprenticeship.

Stupid example but you get what I’m saying (plus I wanted to shoehorn this crap joke in below 💩)

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignThe point: Don’t rely on a great boot camp courses to get you fully started. They give you a great foundation and show a potential employee your commitment to the field, but there’s still lots to do. There are no short cuts for this.

5. Honesty and authenticity is a surprisingly valuable tool

“Don’t trade your authenticity for approval”

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignOk, we hear this kind of stuff all the time in Medium articles. And yes it is a cliche, but bear with me.

If you don’t have much UX design experience design, don’t make out that you know lots. No one cares if you don’t know it all. People only care if you’re honest, authentic and hardworking. They will care though, if you’re bullshitting.

You’ll need to go for a junior end position. When I started out I emailed Mehran (my first UX boss) and said I’m looking for a UX design role and I wanted to start from the ground up. I was lucky and he gave me a crack.

The point: Don’t bullshit your experience as it will add layers of stress to your days. If you say you’re a rockstar, you’ll hate it for longer than a while.

6. You will need to make some ‘LUCK’, and be a little pushy

I am a greater believer of luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” (Thomas Jefferson)

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignPhoto by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

For my first role, I got a lucky break with Mehran and Mick interviewing me and offering me a position. Luck’s created by talking to lots of people and not giving up.

Luck is every day. Luck is what happened when my now wife agreed to go out with me. Luck is what happened when I chatted to my mate Ash about getting into a digital a career.

The point: Hustle a bit to get in the door. Be patient and a bit pushy. There’s no magic to this. The more you people you ask for a job, the more chance you have of getting one.

 

7. Choose wisely who you take advice from

“Be wary of design advice from non-designers and be wary of career change advice from people who’ve never changed career”

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignPhoto by James & Carol Lee on Unsplash

“Advice is like cooking — you should try it before you feed it to others.” (Croft M. Pentax)

I just read this quote in an article by John Mashni and I stole it as it’s a cracker. Thanks John.

There are lots of non-UX designers who’ll give you lots of advice on the field. Depending on the person’s background, more often than not this advice doesn’t help. Mainly because lots of people don’t fully know what a user experience designer does day to day.

Get design advice from designers or people who’ve worked very closely with experience designers.

The point: Listen to the right bloody people. Such a shame to be put off by people giving you the wrong information.

 

8. Care less about your age

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind. it doesn’t matter” (Mark Twain)

8 Simple Truths To Think About Before Getting Into UX DesignThis is a funny one. I’ve chatted to people who are 60 who’ve started in user experience design and it’s worked out well. I’ve chatted to 40-year-olds, and it’s been a battle for them.

My feeling is you shouldn’t give a damn about your age. Who cares. If you enjoy the word of experience design then just get on with it.

If you have lots of responsibilities, work around them, don’t fight them. If you start your new career causing yourself, your partner or your family lots of stress then read number 2 again.

The point: There’s no point worrying about your age. Work with it.

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by Guy Ligertwood

Categories
Interaction Design Inspiration UI/UX Inspiration

Stylish Personal Web Design for Portfolio

Daniel Tan share a beautiful web design project on his Behance profile. It’s for his personal website and portfolio. It features a simple layout with a good usage of typography and motion design. In addition, the illustrations are quite stylish, vector but with a bit more character.

Daniel is a designer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For more information make sure to check out his website at https://creativespace20.wordpress.com/

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