5 Illustrated Tips On How To Be A Better UX Designer

5 Illustrated Tips On How To Be A Better UX Designer

Do I look fat in this?

If you’re a regular subscriber to our newsletter, you’ll be familiar with the illustrated UX Quick Tip that we include in each issue.

Matt pulls together some of his favourite quick tips from past newsletters, including the corresponding illustration for each one.

If you’re a regular subscriber to our email newsletter, you’ll be familiar with the UX Quick Tip that we include in each issue.

The tip is a short reminder (sometimes a quote from a thought leader who we respect) to help you be a better UX Designer. We like to go the extra mile with our quick tips and include an illustration to go with each one.

Today we thought we’d pull together some of our favourite quick tips from past newsletters, including the corresponding illustration. If you have a quick tip to share, feel free to send it in. We’ll include it in a future issue of our newsletter, credit you with the submission, and create an illustration to go with it!

1. Understand the problem.

Understand the problemThis sounds so obvious, but I’m including it mostly because I realised during the week that I need to remind myself of this principle constantly. It’s very easy to become focussed on deliverables, timelines and politics without taking a step back and validating that you’re actually working on the important stuff.

An innovative solution is worth nothing if it doesn’t solve the right problem.

2. Start with the content.

Start with the contentAaron Gustafson said it best in a seminal article called Ruining The User Experience, published on A List Apart several years ago.

Sometimes designers and developers forget that this is why people come to your site to begin with. Craft it lovingly and serve it to your users with a minimum of distraction, like a well-plated dish; don’t just heap it all together like it’s a buffet.

You worked hard on your content… celebrate it.

3. Think beyond the project.

Think beyond the projectThis tip is unashamedly lifted from one of our favourite UX bloggers, Whitney Hess.

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Last April, Whitney tweeted that designing the product is all for naught if you don’t first take the time to design the organization. Not that every UXer has the power on Day 1 to begin implementing organizational change, but it’s our obligation to champion UX within an organisation.

Your product simply won’t survive beyond your involvement if the organisation is not ready to embrace the processes used to design it in the first place.

4. Do the thinking for me.

Do I look fat in this?

Every time you make the user make a decision they don’t care about, you have failed as a designer.

—Aza Raskin

Or in the words of Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think. A good system doesn’t ask me all the ways I would like to get things done. For example, if I need to search for something, don’t force me to choose a section to search in.

Make common-sense assumptions for the user for things they don’t care about or may not want to deal with right away.

5. Be wary of introducing bias.

Introducing BiasBias can leak into a UX process whenever you allow a subjective opinion to shape your decisions. This is unhelpful because it leads to designing for yourself and not for the actual users.

Let the data speak first and save your judgments for the visual design stage—the quiet but insistent user needs can then survive through your research process and help inform your work.

Read about the types of bias in Luke’s excellent UXMas article, I Knew You Were Going To Say That.

If you like these tips, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter. Read more about why we think it’s an email newsletter that you’ll love.

Written by
Matthew Magain
Join the discussion

  • Great set of tips and nice illustrations! I’m a particular fan of #1 (understand the problem before jumping into design solutions).
    In terms of tip #3, a related tip is to have a look at the organisation wide strategies (such as annual reports, strategies and plans) and how your project supports the wider goals.

  • You did the exact job, Brilliant tips with absolute correct illustration and these are not quick tips these are the best tips. Yes user experience is a must and the designer who understands his user will definitely succeed.