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.
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?
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.
Two questions I get a lot are “how do I get some experience as a beginner?” and “how can I practice UX without a client?” Here are two suggestions, based on your experience. The “advanced” task is at the bottom.
When Tumblr opened up the messaging feature so any follower could send a question, I got a bunch. Interestingly, most of them were asking the same question: how do I get UX experience if I have never worked in UX before?
I stumbled onto a post about pairing designers and developers and it got me thinking: why stop there? Is that the only important pair of competencies?