7 Super Human Ways to Keep Growing as a UX Designer
Listen, not everyone is going to like this but User Experience design is not just a good job title. It’s not just about having an eye for design, it’s about the effort behind the scenes. After all, UX can best be described as a blueprint for a digital product.
For those of you, and I know there’s plenty out there, who truly picked UX design because you love it and not because it comes with remote perks and a nice paycheck, I want to talk about how to level up. Because there is a lot of competition out there but let me let you in on a little secret, no one is you. No one can replace you, even if it feels like that.
To keep growing as a designer, you have to do more than design. You have to be human. And that means putting in the work for the things that you want! I have some unsolicited advice below that helps keep me growing and glowing as a designer.
Find the thing or things you love about design and lean into it
So, you aren’t great at visuals, stop taking on freelance logo designs that take your weeks to perfect. You really love wire framing but every contract you apply for talks about pixel perfect mockups? Don’t apply there! It’s not wrong to know what you love and go down the rabbit hole. In fact, you’re going to have more luck trying and failing at the things you love than the things you don’t.
Learn to Accept Defeat
Yes, this is a hard lesson to learn no matter what you do for a living, but the design world can feel mean and uninviting sometimes. It seems like there’s always someone better or smarter or wiser than you that seems to have it all figured out. Maybe they do but they didn’t get that way by accident. Practice makes perfect and sometimes you have to be willing to fall on your face and try, try again.
Learn, Learn and Learn Some More
The fun (fun?) part of user experience is that because it’s so new, there is a constant flow of helpful information out there. You can learn a new UI kit in a day. You can teach yourself a new product tool in two weeks. You can read a book in one sitting to understand a human psychology principle and that can make you a better designer. I know it sounds a little too good to be true but trust me, it’s not. And it works!
Listen to The Older and Wiser
Find someone you can talk to and listen to them! One of the advantages of UX is that it really hasn’t been around that long. Some of the best designer in the game are younger than you think but were once exactly like you. Make a connection, get a mentor, have a conversation with someone who you really look up too. They are going to be full to the brim with neat little tips and tricks that helped them. Trust the community!
Keep Getting Inspired
You know what’s really cool about design?! Is that it’s everywhere you look! It’s all around us and you know the internet doesn’t hurt either. Check out Dribble, Behance, or Instagram if you’re feeling a little stiff. UX is a creative field and everyone can get into a rut. Find your why all over again and find the meaning from beyond the screen. There is so much creating going on, it’s only a matter of time before that amazing brain of your clicks again.
Find a Passion Project
Maybe you’ve always wanted to design a UI kit or a library. Maybe your favorite website needs a little TLC. Maybe you had an idea for app weeks ago but just couldn’t find the time. Make the time! Create something you love again. It’s going to feel like a breath of fresh air.
Remember Why You’re Here
Think back to when you were first starting to dip your toes in the design pool. How did it feel? Why where you drawn to it in the first place? Who gave you the courage, who was the first person that was like hey, tell me why you love this?! When you think about your reason, the outcome is going to get better and brighter, I promise!
No one ever said it was going to be easy. Actually, UX Designer is statically one of the hardest fields to break into. Because it is everything all at once. But here’s the thing, you can do this. You can keep creating and learning and getting better and doing the thing. Digital products and spaces now more than ever have to welcome anyone and everyone.
And isn’t that the whole reason we’re all here in the first place?