3 ways to bring new life into your design process
Hey friend, happy Tuesday!
It’s springtime and the wildflowers in Texas are in full effect, so let’s talk about rejuvenating the design process. Great UX design happens when the designer is passionate about the work. Because when you truly care about what you’re making, you invest the time and effort needed to create something exceptional.
What can you do if you’re missing that passion you once had?
My secret to bringing new life back into my design process is… to think like a baker, gardener and financial advisor.
Experiment like a Baker
A great baker starts with the base recipe and experiments with variations. That may mean trying out different ingredients, adjusting the quantities, or incorporating new flavors. With each variation, the baker evaluates the result, paying close attention to the texture, flavor, and appearance of the finished product. From there they’ll determine if they want to make more adjustments to the recipe. Again and again, they evaluate the results to see if the changes were successful.
When designers think like a baker, they take the base recipe of say, a product detail page (product title, description, product images, price, an add to cart button) and start to experiment with variations of the design. Creating themes to push the variations and drive creativity (i.e. the storyteller, minimalist, etc.). They may explore ways to bring in the return policy to increase confidence. Add social proof such as customer testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content to build trust and credibility. Or include animated elements, such as hover effects, transitions, or interactive graphics to add interest and delight.
There’s a direct correlation between the number of design variations you explore and the quality of your product. There’s even data to prove it. In a study published in the International Journal of Design, researchers found that "a larger number of design alternatives can lead to higher design quality and lower development cost." The study looked at the design of physical products, but the results can be applied to other design fields as well.
Have fun and repeat the process of experimenting, testing, and making adjustments until you achieve your desired result.
Prune like a Gardener
A healthy and thriving garden is the result of pruning. Gardeners prune plants for several reasons. For starters, pruning promotes plant health by removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches. It also improves air circulation and sunlight penetration, which promotes healthy growth. And pruning stimulates growth for new flowering or fruiting. By removing the old, unproductive parts, the plant can put more energy into the new growth.
Just as pruning is essential for maintaining productive plants, it’s also an important practice for UX designers. Pruning helps simplify the user experience, improves usability and optimizes performance by removing unnecessary or ineffective elements from the design. Just as overgrown branches and leaves can block sunlight and inhibit the growth of a plant, cluttered or confusing elements can prevent users from easily navigating a website or app.
It doesn’t always seem right to prune a branch with some flowers on it, but remember by pruning the branch, the other branches become stronger and produce more flowers, just like your designs will.
Determine risk tolerance like a Financial Advisor
A great financial advisor evaluates a client's risk tolerance to develop a tailored investment strategy. They guide clients in making informed investment decisions that are likely to lead to long-term financial success. The thing is, a financial advisor can put together a strategy that will maximize their return, but if it’s deemed too high or low risk, while it still may be a great strategy, it’s not a great strategy for their client. To avoid this they begin by evaluating the client's financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance.
Great designers do the same. It can be deflating when the client says no to your design. Which is why it’s crucial to bring clients’ and stakeholders’ into the design process to understand their risk tolerance. Because again, you can come up with an amazing, innovative design but if your client is more risk-averse (compared to a client that wants to be the trend setter), then it’s not the best design for them. Quick mock ups early in the design process can help you compile a client risk profile — which includes their risk tolerance and project goals — to recommend designs that align with their needs and preferences, along with their customers’ needs and preferences.
So to achieve great UX design, have fun with the process. Put on your apron and experiment with the design. Grab your gardening gloves to prune your design. And talk to your clients to assess their risk tolerance. As Jonathan Ive said: "Design is a journey of discovery."
✨ Things Worth Checking Out
Enjoy watching YouTube videos but wish you had accompanying notes? Try out Eightify, AI-powered summaries for YouTube videos
Looking for positive accounts to follow on Twitter? My favorite account for beautiful photography is Adam James Pollock’s (@aIIegoricaI)
Interested in the evolving marketplace model? Listen to this episode from the a16z podcast, The Marketplace 100: A Glimpse Into The Future of Commerce
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading! Please consider sharing this issue via LinkedIn, social media, or email. And give it a like! Your support means a lot 💛
Until next week,
Thanks for reading Secrets to Great UX Design! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.