The idea of a lone creative genius is fiction. When I initially started out as a UX designer, I believed that my UX designs had to be finished before I could show them to anybody. This susceptibility, I believe, originates from the belief that as designers, we must consider every detail before declaring a design complete. As a result, it might be easy to retreat — to completely embrace the solitary designer cliché — and believe that our difficulties are unique to ourselves. But here’s the thing: chances are, someone else on your team has faced similar challenges.
It can be scary, vulnerable, and difficult at times, but getting out of our heads and embracing collaboration in our design processes can help us all become a better UX designer. Over the years, I’ve learned that developing jointly entails putting your egos aside to create something that is greater than the sum of its creators.
Here are 6 tips that have over the years helped me become a better UX designer:
1. Discuss your ideas and UX designs
I spend most of my days working individually on interaction concepts and visual executions using prototypes, wiring, drawings (many sketches), and, of course, jpgs, pdfs, and some sketch files. When I am certain that most chips have landed in the appropriate locations, I generally reach out to my other UX designer friends for rapid first comments, recommendations on how to elevate work, and general tips on what’s working and what isn’t. Because a computer may be the worst tool for problem-solving, it’s vital to take a break from your screen and discuss your work with another person to ensure that your design goal is being communicated and that the system is simple enough for another person to utilize.
Read more: How to build a business case for accessibility design?
2. Accept Internal Reviews
We constantly conduct internal reviews before delivering designs to clients. This allows other UX designer on our team to provide feedback on our work. Talking about your design system with another individual might act as a filter for your own thoughts. Including other’s thoughts helps you know what is effective? What exactly is an outlier? What possible ways could be adopted for expanding the system? I usually gain confidence about how to proceed once we chat through a problem since I know how other people have engaged with the prototype. It’s easy to excuse a system’s defects in your brain when you’re the only one who’s seen the design, so getting a second, third, or fifth opinion on design is vital so we can ensure the system works and is beneficial to everyone.
It’s also a good idea to practice your presenting skills before giving a formal client presentation. What language am I employing to explain the design? Is it intuitive enough, or do I need to explain my reasoning for someone to comprehend my intent? If the latter is true, it’s a good clue that I’ll need to go through the design to get it to a point where it can exist without my describing how the user should interact with it.
Read more: How to be a good UX designer? Top 7 tips
3. Include Prototype Testing
Anything can serve as a prototype. A piece of paper, an interactive InVision board, a card sorting sitemap, or a general experience may all be used to evaluate how a typical user interacts with a product. When I’m unsure about a design assumption, I conduct informal user testing with the design team and other coworkers. Since everyone contributes a unique understanding of online accessibility standards and how to enhance usability, testing with members of your team is a fantastic exercise for thinking through basic user experience patterns.
4. Hold weekly design huddles
We also conduct weekly design huddles to keep everyone on the same page with what everyone is working on and to have a focused dialogue about trends, procedures, and inspiration. It’s vital to get together as a group like this because it offers a venue for discussing difficulties and possibilities that we as individual UX designer face.
Read more: Analyzing user-centered design vs design thinking
5. Help spread Inspiration
Browsing the internet is usually a solitary pastime — unless you’re forcing everyone around you to watch videos of thirsty dogs. We aim to share and preserve an orderly record of anything that inspires us online.
We accomplish this by categorizing connections to sites we like using Slack channels and Dropmark. This is an essential habit since it makes internet browsing more collaborative. It enables us to grasp each other’s frame of reference. And, because we are always learning from new experiences, it is critical that we share what speaks to us creatively, professionally, or personally. It’s also a wonderful approach to see what your rivals are up to and what tactics or trends are driving the market forward.
We can readily reference industry-specific sites in project strategy briefings by establishing an inspiration library. It also aids in our alignment as a design practice by providing us with a shared knowledge base about our creative inspiration and ambitions.
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6. Work together on larger projects
Larger projects need considerably more coordination among UX designer. Recent team efforts include re-launching our own website and developing the Communication Network’s periodical Change Agent. These initiatives have helped us to put our egos aside and have meaningful discussions about what is best for the project as a whole. It’s been difficult to provide constructive feedback on a colleague’s work, but when something bothers one person, it typically bothers many. Giving each other feedback drives us to have difficult conversations about what we’re trying to express with our UX designs and to recognize when something isn’t as inclusive or accessible as it might be.
Working toward a common goal permits us to gain collective processes and knowledge. Before redesigning the Constructive site, I didn’t know much about production work. So I tortured my wits for months trying to figure out how to optimize photos for the web (see future insight). Only when the other designers began assisting with production did we learn from one another how to construct a method that worked based on all of our collective knowledge. Methodology and procedure become more solid when they are repeated numerous times with various people throughout time.
Read more: An Overview Of Design Thinking
What’s the point of telling you this? The apparent explanation is that every successful team requires collaboration. That is somewhat correct, but the full explanation goes far deeper. Regardless of your specialty — design, development, content, or strategy — I think we improve as humans every day by engaging in difficult conversations with one another. As a result, the squad becomes considerably stronger and more powerful.
If you take anything away from this, make it this:
- We are all striving to produce exceptional work that communicates truth and worth.
- Our differences make us stronger as a group.
- We will never advise you to choose Helvetica as your brand typeface. (Okay, we didn’t state that specifically, but it’s still true!)
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