Empathy gets all the attention in UX design, but “understanding” is really what we should be talking about. Understanding things that are hard to understand is hard, and that’s why most people settle for the feeling of understanding instead.
As a general principle, there are two ways you can brainstorm ideas, and it all depends on where you start: with possibilities or limitations. However, one of those methods will often lead you down the wrong path, and the other prevents that risk.
You might design several versions of something. If each version isn’t better than the last, then what are you actually doing? But if you are able to make version 4 better than versions 1, 2, and 3… why didn’t you just make version 4 from the beginning?
After having lunch with one of my founder friends today, I was reminded about how important it is — make or break — to know what you’re final goal is when you’re designing, and how much it can make or break your company.
When it comes to analytics, new designers and people that don’t look at user behavior numbers have no intuition about what is “good” or “bad”. That’s ok, nobody is born with that skill, but how do you know if your conversion rate is “enough”?
Young designers often complain about doing design tasks to get a job. It can feel like doing “free work” or “giving away ideas”. Some designers even think they should be paid for their time. Ok, wait… you want to be paid to do job interviews?! Let’s back up a bit, because if you agree with that, you’re making a big mistake.
When does copywriting happen in your process? Some say you should design with real content. They’re not wrong. But real copy in your wireframes will lead to unproductive conversations. So, when should you add your real copy to the process?
The ironic consequence of focusing on empathy for years, with the intention of measuring the results of being more empathetic, is that it becomes a reflex, not an effort. A routine, not a special trait. A non-issue, rather than something enlightening to discuss.
The more experienced I get, the less I seem to matter in the design process. More importantly, I am not alone. Senior designers experience that shift over time and it makes certain behavior by other designers more transparent. Know this: if you are a junior designer, or if you haven’t spent time learning your craft, we see right through your bullshit.
Have you ever wondered why product teams don’t just design the real UI from the beginning? Why do we make wireframes at all? Is it only so less talented designers can work on UI too? Can we skip wireframes if we get more experience? Or do wireframes do something that UI designs can’t do? These are not silly questions.