Gaining mastery in any skill or career is a necessity for career growth. Growth does not happen by chance; it happens by being deliberate about getting better at your craft. To get better, you need to give yourself to life-long learning, engage in activities that make for constant improvements, and always set career goals for yourself. It is possible to lose relevance slowly if you don't seek to get better in your career.
This is true for UX design. You have to keep learning to become a better UX designer. It would be best if you didn't reach a stage in your career where you think there is nothing to improve on again.
UX design is an ever-changing field in terms of trends, design ideas, and even the design's user experience. Your UX design skills will need constant refining to meet new challenges thrown at you in your design career.
Basic UX skills like user research, usability testing, and user testing are regular. Still, their methods can change, or UX designers can find better means of conducting these processes as the industry expands. Thus, continuous learning and refining your skills will make you better in your design process.
How to Become a Better UX Designer
The advancement of technology is enough motivation to get better at what you do. This is because long-term relevance in your career depends on how updated you are with your skills. If your skills cannot meet the technical requirements of the day, there is a high chance of losing relevance.
Engaging in activities that improve your UX design skills is vital if you want to get better in UX design. Most UX professionals confess to being committed to a life-long learning lifestyle, a repetition of the core skills they have learned, and some essential design habits and practices.
Below are some of the habits and practices that can help get better in UX design.
Use design patterns often
Design patterns are reusable solutions for recurring problems in design. Design patterns help UX designers better understand the interaction between design elements and functionality.
Design patterns make working on multiple projects easier. You don't have to create a new solution every time you have a new challenge, and there is a ready-made template for fundamental design problems that can help your design.
The more you use design patterns for your UX projects, the more you understand the logic behind creating the user experience of each feature in your design projects.
Also, design patterns increase your work efficiency, reduce time spent on projects, and help you create a better user flow since you are working with a reusable solution.
Use storytelling skills consistently
The mark of a good UX designer is not just the ability to create appealing designs but rather the ability to communicate the intent of his design effectively, such that stakeholders, the design team, and users can understand the design.
To communicate effectively, you need to deploy storytelling skills. Storytelling allows you to share the purpose of design properly with your stakeholders. Since UX design focuses on the users' experience, storytelling will help you get better at interpreting users' pain points and converting those pain points to design solutions.
The best design solutions come from when the UX team understands their users well.
Collaborate with other designers
There is a transfer of ideas, shared experiences, and creative thoughts during collaboration sessions. The experiences shared during collaboration improve your knowledge bank and your expertise in your skills.
Study other people's designs
"No man is an island of knowledge" is valid for creatives, especially UX designers. This is because design problems are user-specific, which implies that UX designers solve unique problems.
Thus, studying the work of other UX designers helps you understand how to solve different problems that you are yet to come across.
Let experts review your work
Critiquing your work is excellent, but it is better to send it to UX experts for review. Most of the time, you might not see the errors in your design since you are the one that designed it, but experts can easily see the mistakes and offer suggestions that can help you become better in your UX design career.
Repetition is the key to mastery. The more you practice a skill, the better you get at it. Even if you don't have a project you are working on, you can volunteer to design for friends and family to keep sharpening your skills.
Daily practice helps you stay on track with your design skills and get more familiar with your design process such that you understand and get better with the methodologies in UX design. If you practice only once in a while, there is a chance that you might keep forgetting basic skills that you have learned.
Ask for feedback
UX designers need to ask for feedback from their users. Feedback helps you discover where you could have done better. You need to know your errors so that you can improve on them. Also, you have to realize that feedback is not to discredit your work; instead, it makes you better.
When you receive feedback on a design, you admit that you want to get better in your career. Hence you want to know areas you need to work on to improve your skillset.
Join a design community
A design community will help you develop a broad knowledge of UX design. You learn from other UX designers and gain insights and ideas from professionals' experiences.
Joining a design community can ease your process of making good design decisions; if you have a blocker about the decisions to make on a project.
Practice Active listening
Since UX design deals with understanding users' pain points, it is only right that you know how to listen to your target audience. You must practice how to actively listen to your target audience so that you can become empathetic with their pain points and their needs can drive you to creatively think of a solution for them.
How to improve the user experience of your design projects
Always carry out detailed user research
Solid user research is the foundation of any design that will meet user needs. As a UX designer, your primary goal is to create a product that resonates with your users' needs and pain points. Your users are your primary target audience, and understanding them starts from researching their pain points and motivations.
Thus, it is best to start by conducting detailed user research sessions on your real users if you seek to improve your designs' user experience.
Make your designs mobile responsive
Mobile devices have become an essential part of everyday life for most people. Basic activities like trading, task planning, transportation, and communication are now accessible on mobile devices.
There are currently 4.32 billion mobile internet users globally, and mobile internet accounts for 55% of the total web traffic. Today's vast majority of digital products prefer to use them from their mobile devices.
It is important to incorporate mobile UX design in your design plan to make your designs mobile responsive. The true mark of a responsive design is that it can work on all different screen platforms. Thus, you need to pay attention to mobile UX design to improve the user experience design of your products.
Your design's written content or copies are as important as your design. Your designs might be misinterpreted if your content does not correctly communicate the essence of your product. The user experience writing is the same as crafting microcopies on a website.
The copies in the web design have the purpose of guiding users on how to navigate the website or take action on the website.
Now, there are designated UX writers, but it is still the job of a UX designer to make sure that users can relate well to the copies on the website or digital product.
Use simple and relatable call-to-action buttons
Your call-to-action button triggers your users to receive your products' service or use your products. The buttons convey the essence of the product. Thus, they should be simple enough for users to comprehend. The words have to be something they can easily relate to.
Visual design deals with the physical appeal of a product. The visual design of a product seeks to improve the aesthetics of your design. Thus, it focuses on design elements like color, fonts, text, images, etc.
Being intentional about your visual design can improve how users accept your product. A product with a good visual design creates a lasting impression on users.
Avoid technical jargon
As a UX designer, you might want to use your technical jargon in writing your product description or product guidelines to prove your professionalism, but that will only confuse your users.
Apart from using your core design skills to improve the user experience of a product, you should also carefully choose the words you use in describing the product. Your design becomes usable when it has less technical terms.
User interface design
The user interface design is a mix of the visual design and the graphics design of a website. The user interface is built according to the wireframes created for the UI/UX design of the product.
The main element in your design is your functionality, but your customers might not get to experience the functionality if you have a bad UI design for your product. It is bad UX practice to substitute UI for UX or vice versa. You have to ensure that your UI design appeals to your users. A consistent concentration on your user interface design without reducing the focus on your user experience can help you get better as a UX designer.
Information architecture refers to the arrangement of the content of your design. How you arrange the content on a website can determine if it will be easier for users to navigate it.
Getting better in UX design requires sticking to the basics of design methodologies and having a mindset devoted to lifelong learning. As technology expands, you will also need to update yourself on new trends and developments in the UX industry.