Practice, research, learning and working with others can help you to build your UX skills. Not all projects that you do for clients or your company can help you learn new techniques. You have to make time to learn, practice and keep improving.
1. Work on improving your design skills
- Practice drawing or sketching You don’t have to draw like an artist. Your sketches need to be good enough to get the idea down on paper. If you want to sketch better, consider taking an drawing class.
- Work on Color Theory Study how color affects how people behavior and react to your designs. Use a color scheme generator for inspiration.
- Experiment with design elements like white space, lines and animation These design elements can help make the user experience better by guiding your user to take the actions that you need them to do.
- Try out new design tools Every year there are new tools for you to try. You don’t have to use them all. Experiment and play with a few that can help you create better user experiences.
2. Be inspired and Keep up with Design Trends and Techniques
You can find inspiration for design everywhere. Look online, read magazines, books and art. Read design articles daily.
3. Create Throwaway or Projects for Yourself
When you work for a client or company, you don’t always have time to experiment with new ideas or new techniques. A personal or throwaway project, a project that won’t be published, can give your the opportunity to learn new skills and create something new. In the Frontside podcast, they talk about building useless stuff. Or throwaway projects that you build which combats burnout and lets you test new ideas.
Can’t think of a small side project to work on? You can do copywork. Painters learned how to paint from the masters by copying their work. You can do the same with a website or a UI. Eric Kennedy explains how to improve your design skills with copywork.
4. Focus on the essentials
- Focus on the big idea. Don’t get stuck on the details.
- Don’t rely on research.
- Keep it simple as possible.
- Start with your content.
- Don’t add things because you think their are fun or interesting.
5. Meet in person with UX Designers
Go to meetups, conferences or have coffee with other designers. Take time to meet with a mentor in person. By meeting in person, you can trade tips and techniques and help each other with current problems that you are working on.
How do you do all of this? As a developer or designer, you need to plan on continuing to add new techniques and skills. Plan to add time to your schedule so you can read design articles, apply what have learned and meet with others to share your new techniques.