Whether you are creating a simple mobile app by yourself or are working with a team to create an enterprise web application, building a successful product requires strict adherence to several key principles. Some of these key principles include having a bias toward shipping, gathering and incorporating user feedback, and developing and executing an effective distribution strategy.
Having said this, one of the most important principles when building any type of product centers on the user experience. User experience (“UX”) is so critical because it keeps users returning to your product. It fulfills their needs while simultaneously guiding them on a journey through the product. Even if users are not consciously thinking about it, they are intuitively coming to conclusions about the product and how it makes them feel.
“You are not the users.”
Because UX creates these deep, personal connections with users, it is absolutely vital for any creator to pay close attention. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur who has an idea for the next game-changing app or a UX professional who wants to improve your skills, I want to share some helpful tips on how to become a good UX designer. Even though what follows is not absolutely everything you need to know to become a world-class UX designer, following these tips and strategies will certainly provide a great start.
Tips on Becoming a Good UX Designer
To start, one of the key habits that you can adopt to become a good UX designer is to study the greats. Reading and studying in and of itself isn’t enough (as is the case with mastering any new skill), but studying the greats can help you learn some of the key tenets and concepts of great UX. For instance, I recommend that you study people like Jony Ive (the former Chief Design Officer of Apple), Steve Krug (author of Don’t Make Me Think) and the work completed by IDEO, which is a renowned design firm in Palo Alto, California. Learning how these experts think (and the things they avoid in the UX design process) can help you get off to a great start.
Beyond studying the world’s experts in UX design, you will want to develop a keen sense of empathy. A large part of UX design is stepping into the shoes of your user. You need to understand their wants, dreams, challenges, and how your product can make their life better. Not only this, but you must truly care about your users. You can’t fake it until you make it. Taking a sanctimonious or morally superior attitude toward your users’ problems will lead you down the wrong path. By contrast, by adopting and refining your sense of empathy, you are able to design a more engaging product.
Next, don’t be afraid to experiment. Becoming a good UX designer is about the journey, not the destination. Even though you may be learning UX to complete a task in your day job, it’s in your best interest to dabble with side projects. Doing this gets you out of your current line of thinking and helps work out your UX muscles. For example, if you are working on the UX for a large business’s mobile app, think about experimenting with the UX for consumer apps in your spare time. It can be a fun and effective way to try different things and add to your UX repertoire.
Finally, meet with and speak with other UX designers. The UX community is friendly and can offer a wealth of information and advice. For instance, if you are struggling with a particular aspect of a project, you can tap into your community to find potential solutions. Becoming part of the network can be a great catalyst for discovering new ideas and meeting fascinating people. And who knows? By being proactive and joining the UX community, you may find an exciting new career opportunity.
Mastering Your Craft
Becoming a UX designer can be extremely exciting. Your work is a critical component to the success of any digital product. While becoming a good UX designer takes some time, you can speed up the process by following the tips and strategies I described above. Ultimately, I wish you the best of luck!