At the beginning of a new year, it’s important to take time and consider the previous 365 days – for learning, reflection, and growth. Since 2016, the UX Collective has published a summary report on the State of UX – what designers, thinkers, and engineers were designing, doing, and developing. This year’s report was a fascinating, in-depth analysis of UX design as a discipline – how it is changing and will change. In this post, I will summarize the major findings of the piece.
#1 – “Everyone is a lead.”
It’s trendy to be a ‘Design Lead’. But, is it important? Does it mean anything? Many people are attracted to titles that sound powerful, but the real importance lies elsewhere. Instead of going for fancy roles, consider impact throughout your company, influence within your team, and industry opportunities to inspire, support, and encourage other designers.
#2 – “Designers are too busy to design.”
There are many responsibilities of being a designer that are not design. Planning, organizing, scheduling – our days are often full of mundane, tedious tasks and long meetings. Don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, focus on being strategic – conceptualizing, prioritizing and cutting, experimenting, and embracing consistency, patience, and hard work. Patience makes perfect!
#3 – “Design is not saving the world.”
Last year was a bad year for big tech companies. And now, in advertising, they are working to improve their image and give the illusion they’re working towards a better world. Internally, their teams are suffering – under burdens of big profit and short deadlines. Want to feel better about our industry? Get out! Volunteer! Mentor! Work to be the change you desire to see.
#4 – “Designing for less.”
Designing for healthier behaviors – difficult, but necessary. Please, free yourself from being a KPI zombie! Technology does addict people, now let’s help them – use their phones well, limit their screen-time, and improve their mental health and wellness. Now that’s good design.
#5 – “Our obsession with design methods.”
The internet gives us significant access to millions of free online resources. And while this may speed up our process, we must be careful of blind-acceptance, competitor copying, and thoughtless repetition. Don’t forget to be creative, thoughtful, original, and solution-oriented!
#6 – “Should designers design tools code?”
This is one of the hottest questions in our industry. But, it’s missing the mark. Of course it’s good to understand technical limitations and the work our developer coworkers do, but it’s more important that our tools improve to help the future of design-developer workflows.
#7 – “Thinking outside the artboard.”
As useful and standard as artboards are, they are not realistic – they are not how people truly interact and experience our work. Instead of thinking dimensionally – think emotionally. Focus on the real stories, journeys, and experiences of real users.
#8 – “Embracing the open kitchen.”
Don’t be a design bat – be a design butterfly! Share your work, processes, and methods. Reflect on your failures with others, bring people backstage into your office, and seek ideas from designers and non-designers alike. Be authentic, open, and always willing to learn.
#9 – “Making tech work.”
This year is the year of figuring out how to make existing technology work for everyday people.; in homes, offices, and pockets. Perhaps we’ve slowed the rush to create the next big-bang and now we’re shining our guns – thinking of how and why we are designing and building what we are. In 2019, let’s be thoughtful, relevant, designers that make kind, sustainable technology.
And there you have it – a summary of The State of UX in 2019. I’d highly recommend reading the full article here. I hope these ideas give you food for thought as you design this year. Above anything, I hope these ideas serve to encourage and remind you that your work as a designer is far more than pushing pixels – you have a unique voice, opportunity, and platform to make the world a better, more beautiful, place.
Image Source: Screenshot from the UX Collective website (https://trends.uxdesign.cc/)