5 UX/UI Tips I Learned from being a student and professional designer

There are few jobs which require every hour of your week to focus on designing, though many of us choose to challenge ourselves with this task. Being a young student, (19), I am easily motivated with taking on new responsibilities. But I did not imagine the immense amount of experience I would acquire from my first UX/UI mobile design job. I entered the position with years of technical experience (Adobe Suite and countless other programs), a strong imagination, and enthusiasm for meaningful designs.

Here are the five tips I learned from my first UX/UI mobile design job:

1. Throw away the “rules:”

Many UX/UI designers, or those aspiring to be, most likely encounter “rules” when reading design articles. The 80/20 rule coined by Joseph M. Juran, the 60/40 rule about planning and executing, the 70/30 rule about consistency and flexibility. I have realized that at the end of the day, the most important rule is to finish! Not to finish one design and move to the next necessarily, but rather to complete a project or set of designs in the time you are given, or in the time you have promised. Do not succumb to over cramping organizational rules. Rather, you should consider doing what comes to you first and to stick with a vein of motivation. Ride the inspiration until it slows, and know as long as you’re challenging yourself and breaking your limits, the process is working.

2. Inspiration comes from combining the best designs for the situation:

Turning a cold shoulder to other designers’ creations and steering clear of their innovations is comparable to rejecting the process of evolution. Evolution, as in the way ideas, products, designs, and services are built upon to create something greater, something different. Companies consider customer feedback to improve their business. Sports teams watch their past games to refine their maneuvers. Us designers should embrace our community efforts and understand that the more we use our greatest designs, the further we will push them. Find the best of the best, study how their designs are different, how they are the same as earlier ones, how they satisfy a problem in a new way. Take the specific design ideas from multiple great designs, and combine them. Pick and choose which pieces will work together, and through this you may find that you must add your own touch to solve the problem you are confronting with your design. With this, you will push yourself to think as the greatest designers do.

3. Animations solve many problems:

When in doubt, spend the time to animate an interface (prototype it, use keynote or another program of your choice). There are several benefits of taking the time: 1. Seeing the animation will prove it’s worth (does the animation make the design make sense?) 2. Presentations to clients or a boss becomes clearer (your idea of how it should animate is clearly displayed) 3. Clients and bosses see your slight extra force of effort (they see you care about them/the design/clarity) 4. Pushes yourself to think of further animations (how else can something move to drive a certain user action, or understanding of the interface; maybe an animation can take the weight off of a specific UI element).

4. Push a problem to its extremes:

Brainstorms and wireframes will get you half way, the first half comes from understanding the problem. Designers find that studying their users, their personas, the context a screen is used in will enhance their designs. This is true. But take the situations further. In order to see an interfaces essential parts, crucial relationships, and driving principles, put the persona in an extreme condition. Find the critical goals of the user and match the interface’s salient clues accordingly.

5. Talking to yourself while pacing back and forth is never a bad idea:

Leaning over in an office space is not everyone’s most comfortable situation. Find a quiet hallway, a closed staircase, a vacant conference room, any place which you feel comfortable talking to yourself. Moving your legs, and using basic body motor controls have been proven to improve your thought process. But more importantly, YOU will find an improvement in your thinking immediately. Keep your pacing comfortable and path large enough to not become dizzy or claustrophobic. If you find your mind stuck, switch up your path; but do not spend any other thought on your movement.

There are of course more things which I learned through my time designing the UX/UI for mobile, but these five have stuck in my mind the most.

The following expertise’s are ones which I had limited knowledge of, prior to the job:

UX design, A/B testing, information architecture, iPhone app design, usability, navigation maps, prototypes, interface design, and so on…

To say the least, I was not fit for the job… in the eyes of the average employer. What I DID possess was far stronger than the above-mentioned, a vision for sincere design, years of technical experience, and drive. These qualities led to a successful project and a positive first time experience of UX/UI mobile design.

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