In this post, we focus on resources UI and UX designers can use to enhance their skills
UI and UX Resource 1: How to Enhance Design Skills
In 3 rapid prototyping exercises to improve your UX skills author and designer Elaine Tran approaches rapid prototyping from an interesting angle. She does not make the traditional case; rapid prototyping is an efficient way to design a great product or UI.
Instead, she explains how rapid prototyping helps UI and UX designers:
- Sketching, iterating, going through the rapid prototyping process “shows others how you think through problems.”
In other words, explains Tran, rapid prototyping is an effective way to for UI and UX designers to show their design thinking.
- Rapid prototyping also improves design skills, “Your solutions should come to you through sketching, feedback and multiple design iterations, that’s where the story is told. It just depends on how you read it. Like good UX — the true power of the UX process is hidden. This is where we can train ourselves to think fast, seek validation and refine our own design process.”
Tran devotes the rest of the article to specific rapid prototyping exercise aimed at improving UI and UX design skills. This short article is well worth the time because it shows UI and UX designers how to enhance their skills right now.
UI and UX Resource 2: The Power of UI Patterns and Guidelines
From high-level research presentations, to design documents, to robust pattern libraries, nearly all UX and UI designers have participated in patterns and guideline discussions.
Even with such exposure, however, it’s easy to get bogged down in endless debates about specific components and interactions. In Why You Need UI Guidelines? author Saadia Minhas explains why guidelines are useful, identifies various types (stye, components, layout, etc.), and briefly shows how to start creating guidelines. The latter is especially useful for those new to the building and document patterns libraries for UI and UX design. Minhas refers to Microsoft and Google guidelines as good starting points. Those working with enterprise software might wish to consult IBM Carbon, Oracle Alta UI, and Salesforce Lightning.
UI and UX Resource 3: Cognitive Load
UI and UX designers constantly strive to design useful, engaging, and delightful experiences. At the very least, the goal is to reduce the user’s frustration and confusion. Understanding cognitive load is essential to achieving these goals.
Cyberpsychology and UX 3: Optimising Cognitive Load is the third of a 3-part series about cyber psychology. While the takeaways for designers are useful reminders, the best parts of this article are explanations of cognitive load, the total mental effort used in working memory.
The author helpfully explains intrinsic, extrinsic, and germane load, why each is important, and the implications of each means for UI and UX design. Directly related to these points is the user’s tolerance of cognitive load which, of course, varies depending on the context and the target user group.
The author carefully and clearly connects cognitive load to the challenges UI and UX designers face in their daily work.
UI and UX Resource 4: When Design Thinking Makes all the Difference
Design thinking has quickly become an essential point of discussion in nearly all aspects of product and software development. That’s good news for UI and UX designers who already apply key design thinking principles such as ideation and deep engagement with customers.
In this brief Inc. article, author Natalie Dixon outlines six moments when it makes sense to apply design thinking. All six are useful, but two stand out:
- Re-framing a stubborn challenge by framing critical questions before choosing a specific solution. This point may sound straightforward, but as we explain in https://uiuxtraining.com/2018/04/02/design-decisions/, we must make follow specific techniques to battle the brain’s tendency to settle on the solution that comes to mind and stubbornly stick to this initial idea. Dixon’s critical questions method is one such technique.
- Generating novel ideas with a brainstorming session focused only on questions or by “ ‘quiestorming’ leveraging silence and solo work before group work.”
UI and UX Resource 5: Great Search UX
Search has never been more relevant than in this age of information-overload. Author and inbound marketer Connor Iny offers three examples of effective search on mobile in this article about great search UX.
Iny explains why the search interaction on each app is different, and why it works in the travel, retail, and map contexts.
Iny makes a good case for relying on qualitative research when making design decisions about search. While UI and UX designers should consider quantitative metrics, Iny reminds readers that qualitative research offers insights into user behavior. At the end of the day, such understanding is the mission of UI and UX designers.