Do you want to become a UX designer whose works will be set as an example for beginners? Do you want your expertise to be highly valued in the market and customers to come from just everywhere?
Stop dreaming! It’s time to make your plans real, because all these are quite achievable goals! And FlowMapp together with three experienced UX designers will teach you how to achieve them! Let’s start with our detailed intro and end with the best tips from the professionals questioned!
Firstly, let’s connect the dots and discover what’s UX, which is one of the top hard skills for 2020, according to LinkedIn. Experts state that the user experience industry includes research, strategy, visual and interactive design, content, data science, and many other components that enrich the experience of any user who interacts with a website or application.
This is the key point of becoming a UX designer. One should master all these skills to perform their best in this role. As a result, a user experience designer is responsible for:
So, if you’re ready to research, analyze, test tons of variables that make a user’s interaction with a product or service clear and convenient, you have every chance to become a good UX designer.
A decade ago, there weren’t so many design specialties and people chose to be just web designers. Nowadays, there are so many design directions:
We won’t describe each of them and will consider you, dear reader, as a future user experience designer who is fully sure to become a professional in this field. If you’re interested in another specialization, find more information on it in our blog. As for the importance of UX design, it has recently become the key to the success of apps and websites. It defines whether a user will be satisfied with their work with the product. For example, if there are two similar apps with the same tools, the one with better UX will win the audience.
Also, this is the reason why companies should have separate people performing UI, UX, IxD and other design tasks. If they force you to do everything at once, think twice before accepting the offer, as it’s a possible issue for those who want to grow as only user experience designers!
Okay, you’re a beginner in UX. No way to success is possible without mistakes. Commonly, these mistakes are similar from case to case, so you can learn from others’ experience and avoid them. Here are the most widespread drawbacks of UX design:
These are not the only issues beginners in user experience come across. The rest of the common mistakes will be covered below, in our exclusive interviews with senior UX designers
The first and foremost tip to hone your skills is a constant education. No matter how you’ll learn — with a mentor, with the help of online courses, or by reading UX blogs on the Internet or watching thematic YouTube videos. Pay attention to the following things:
If you’re still wondering how to overcome yourself, see the expert comments below. Five senior designers told us the top secrets of enhancing soft and hard skills to create the smoothest user experience ever!
Except for everything mentioned above (learning the basics, choosing the right tools, and so on), we can recommend some more tips for you to hone your UX skills:
Finally, we are ready to switch to our interviews with professional designers who shared the best tips and their answers to the question: “What can be considered as a success in UX?” We believe it’s the final point you are striving to achieve, so... fasten your seat belts and let’s start!
Yvonne Lee is a UX | UI designer who is passionate about centering the design process and product experience around empathy and belonging. She focuses on creating experiences through research, design, and technology.
I would say that there are a couple of key skills needed to become a UX Designer. I would break it down as such from personal experience:
I think challenges depend on the environment in which you are required to work so they can vary in degree and the hardest challenges in one environment might not be as challenging in another environment or compared to the new problems that might come up. I think one of the challenges is when designers are given unrealistic expectations on the project from not understanding the UX practice. Another challenge one needs to be prepared for is the cycle of continuous iterations, which means you cannot get attached to the design but dedicate yourself to the process of bettering the design with the users in mind and not let yourself get in the way.
Also, communication and feedback are helpful tools. When you are able to effectively communicate, get feedback, and connect with others along the way, then it is easier to overcome these challenges. If you are searching for a mentor, I would reach out to people who you are inspired by or interested in learning from. People are generally happy to share their experience and advice! Adobe has a Discord platform for designers and learners from across the globe to share design ideas, design critique, and portfolio review/advice. During this COVID pandemic, it is a great tool to connect with a community online. I found it helpful to receive feedback and learn from a network of designers.
I enjoy reading blogs from InVision and Medium. They contain a wealth of knowledge on UX practices, design, and business. Currently, I love The Designer Better podcast from InVision. The podcast is structured to explore a topic commonly related to design for each season. They bring on experienced and inspiring designers, developers, and CEOs to converse on the landscape of user experience, the importance of understanding business, and the power of design from the personal experience of the guests. I have gained many insights from listening to people telling their stories, perspectives, the lessons they learned, and how they are paving the way for others!
Here’s a case from my practice + a piece of advice! One thing I would say is that I find listening and absorbing information from all sources, not just design-related sources, to be helpful and able to enhance the work you produce because you have more knowledge and access to multi-perspectives.
I remember listening to a finance podcast and there is an episode about how the founder of this media company was successful because the CEO was able to understand people in their cultural and family structure, employment, and the historical context in the U.S. This idea of not homogenizing people as one but to understand and explore all the nuances helped me with the UX interview research that I was conducting at the time. It made me look closer and deeper into the problem we were solving and the individuals involved in the case study.
I would say that it is good to do your research and learn as much as you can about UX in general as a field in the beginning when you are thinking about pursuing it. The initial research really helped me gain that introductory understanding of UX, prepared me on what I can expect in this career, and allowed me to evaluate this career path in terms of if it aligns with my talents and values.
So, dear UX/UI beginners, now you can see that everything is not so complicated as it may seem. You need only the desire to become a professional and the willingness to head towards your goal step by step! Everything is in your hands and we are sure that everything will work out!
An inspired designer with a technical background, who doesn’t work for her ego, portfolio, or clients... She works for people who need powerful and creative design solutions.
I guess, the recipe for becoming a UX Designer or gaining any other specialization is always pretty similar: Theory + Practice. Still, it’s important to remember that you need to start practicing as soon as possible. By “practice” I mean any exercises that require applying professional skills. So, it’s not necessarily a real job/internship.
Some time ago, I had a mate who wanted to learn a programming language. So, he bought a book and started to read it right away. He was reading every day and completed it in a week or so. But the problem was he didn’t write a line of code during this time! Can you guess what happened next? Of course, he forgot everything he learned! Well, almost everything.
This is why practice is more important. I like to use games to draw an analogy. Let’s say you gain XP points for practicing, and gain a multiplier booster for learning theory. It works perfectly together but doesn’t work at all if we omit any of these parts.
You can't become a UX designer without practice because all your boosters will be multiplied to zero. Wasted. Actually, you can become a UX designer without theory, but your XP points will grow too slowly and it might take years.
I believe this is typical behavior not only in profession but in business life, relationships, etc. We always feel uncomfortable and very unsure of our skills, and we say, “No, it’s too early to do something. I need to learn more”. But this “learn more” may last the whole life. Sometimes we need to think less and start DOING.’’
As for the community, I believe you shouldn’t trust anyone with no doubt. Even if you’re just a beginner, you should always think, analyze, and ask questions. If somebody gives you the feedback you disagree with, kindly ask questions like “Why is this bad?” or “Why should I do that and avoid something else?”. Professionals always will be able to provide you with an explanation and convince you. If they have nothing to say or their answer sounds like “Well, I don’t know, I just don’t like it,” this should alert you.
I enjoy reading Medium blogs, here is my top 3:
Also, I’m subscribed to the Toptal newsletter. They post exciting content from different experts. This is also a great way to find like-minded people you can follow.
One of my recent findings is UXcel. I wouldn’t say it’s a serious, comprehensive education, but I really like the process of learning. It is super easy and funny, and still useful. I would recommend it for every beginner because it’s an easy way to fall in love with UX. And it still can be helpful for middle and senior designers! :)
The first case is about “accidents are not accidental.” When I was at the very start of my career, I needed money to buy a laptop because my old one was too slow and was making me very unproductive. My primary income was from just one client sending me small tasks for about 3 hours in a week and also a scholarship grant. But it was such a small amount of money, and I still needed around $1500 to buy a MacBook. I was stressed because I needed a new MacBook for my course work in college, which was coming in 3 months. But I was sure that somehow I would figure out where to get the money. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue how to do it. Suddenly, I’ve got an offer from a client for almost $1500. I was so surprised; this was significant money for me at that time! And this is the exact amount of what I needed! I was still shocked that the client came from like nowhere. I didn’t send any resumes, I didn’t post any messages that I searched for a job. Seems like God sent me that client! And I regarded it as a sign of the right destination.
Another case is about my first interview experience. Again, I was just a beginner, and I decided to apply as a trainee in a local firm. I was very nervous, and my failures started even before I entered the building. At first, I got off at the wrong bus stop, which made me late for about 15 minutes. Then, I couldn’t find the entrance to the building! Though I usually have a good topographical orientation, not that day. I made an embarrassing call to the HR manager I talked to before and asked her to help me find the entrance. I’m pretty sure she is still laughing at it sometimes. Finally, in the meeting room, I remember myself coming to the table and feeling there is a chair behind me. So I started to sit down and... fell off! I still can’t understand how it happened and why I just fell off the chair! The weirdest thing is that I was only one person laughing at myself in the room. Others kept silent, making me feel even more ridiculous.
Well, I can say one thing — now I’m not afraid of interviews at all! I’ve already had the worst experience, there is no chance it can be worse! :) By the way, can we count it as my superpower?
Here’s what I highly recommend and what you should avoid on your way to your UX professionalism:
Mechanical Engineer turned Product Designer, illustrator, Prefer Tea Over Coffee to be awake, Green Earth Supporter and researcher of strange & unusual. Live and Breathe in India
As for me, there are only three things to become a UX Designer:
Now the most common question is: “Can you become a designer without a degree in design? Will you have to go back to school to pursue the career of your dreams?” The answer is: “NO-no-no!”
You don’t have to go to college or any school to become a UX designer. The only thing you need is the determination and dream, as well as confidence that you can design beautiful things that will be pleasing to the eye and — most importantly — to the soul. Dribbble is the main source of inspiration for me.
Rogie is one of the experienced and founding designers on Dribbble. I have been following that guy from the very beginning. He is a Product designer and Master illustrator. He has worked on so many brands like Walt Disney, Dribbble, Figma, and so on.
I was so lucky and fortunate to have him as the main inspiration source on Dribbble. 5 years ago, it was extremely difficult to get an invitation to upload your work to Dribbble. I was fortunate that Rogie invited me and allowed me to upload and showcase my work on this website. Believe me, Dribbble played the most important role in shaping up my career as a designer…
Raj Divan is one of the top designers I have been following for inspiration and motivation. He is a freelance designer based out of India.
As for podcasts, I usually listen to Chris Do on Spotify and enjoy watching him on YouTube as well. He inspired me to think about the other available options. He is a Creative Entrepreneur. After listening to him, I have also started working on a few products and, hopefully, I will also be able to grow from a Creative Designer to an Entrepreneur as well as inspire other designers.
Apart from this, there are so many talented designers doing great work out there. We should make a habit of reading creative blogs and watching other designers. Every designer is a student. We should try to learn whatever we can.
I am a Mechanical Engineer by Education. I haven’t got any proper education in design. The only thing I had in my mind 5 years ago was “YES, I can design and I will design!”
I had an old Windows PC with 2 GB of RAM. Seriously? Yes…
You might be thinking about how my old computer survived heavy tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. It wasn’t easy to work using such a low-configuration computer... After some time, I was able to get a few projects, so I borrowed a nice and powerful laptop from one of my friends and completed the projects I had. After that, I bought a new MacBook Pro and started using Sketch for designing. I started working as a Freelancer during my college days. It helped me to pay my college fee. Today I am Head of Design at Signgaze.
I often used a pen and paper for wireframing, prototyping, and idea generation. It was really difficult to manage different projects, keeping records of them. Creating a User flow diagram was quite a hassle.
Now there are some great tools available that allow you to create stunning wireframes, prototypes, and user flow diagrams very easily. For example, FlowMapp, InVision, Marvel, Axure, etc. I wish I had a full-stack UX tool in the past. It could have made me a better designer with less hassle.
Also, I can tell you an inspirational story from my experience. I always wanted to become a UX Designer and I started chasing my dreams. Along with UX design, I used to enjoy watching great illustrators out there in the industry. I was not that good at sketching and when I was talking to one of the illustrators out there, asked him a few questions regarding the illustration design field. He told me: “If you are not good enough at sketching, you cannot become an illustrator.”
Uff such a tuff word “No!”
Finally, I thought it was better to become the worst illustrator ever rather than sitting on the bench and watching cool illustrations out there... With practice and determination, I was able to design decent illustrations. And guess what? My illustration skills brought me my first job opportunity as a Visual Designer. I was able to impress them with my UX design skills. I had a full-time job as a UX/UI Designer there and started learning which is still going on.
Long story short, never let yourself feel down if someone is telling you negative things. Always try to overcome such challenges and prove that the whole world is wrong about you. (No one can always be right!)
Based on my own experience, I’m gonna share a few pieces of advice that will bring you closer to becoming a UX Designer, no matter what you’re doing right now.
Becoming a designer is a continuous process, you can not become a 100% designer ever. This is a continuous process of learning and developing.
Essentially, anyone who makes something that is used by others, be it a chair, a mobile app, or a business process, already does design, whether they’re aware of it or not. However, being a designer takes a little more than that.
Now if you have an idea what the design is, learn tools like Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD for designing prototypes and wireframes. learn to conduct high-quality user research, and engage in double delivery whenever possible. All doors will be open to you.
Here are some mistakes I have made at the beginning of my career, which I would advise to not repeat (keep in mind that this is based on my personal experience).
Written by Tina Podmazina