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UI design is a field that is constantly evolving. What’s more: the pace of the progression is becoming quicker and quicker. The needs that some designers have to meet are no joke – and in order to be able to do that, they had to embrace one skill: adaptability.
If you think there will come a point when you can stop learning, think again. Being able to adapt to the client requirements is not based on your will to deliver only. It’s also about extending your knowledge base and putting new approaches into your practice.
You might feel that you’re so busy with your work that there’s no space for learning. Let me tell you, if this goes on for too long, you will have too much space for learning. The clients will soon become aware of some of your methods becoming obsolete, which can discourage them from cooperating with you.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in some good books or attend courses that are both fun and educative. Here are my tips for time and cost effective ways to broaden your horizons as a designer.
Don’t hesitate to look for courses, lessons and educational materials that seem interesting to you. There are countless of them online and some sites concentrate them in one place, so you have access to information about pretty much anything you need.
This is the best resource to learn coding in a fun way. Scrimba is an interactive learning platform for amateur designers, as well as professionals in the field, that want to stay up-to-date. I promise that with this tool, you will never get bored.
You’ve probably heard of it, because it is probably the most popular website with online courses available. As for now, their homepage says there are 183 000 courses. The database contains a solid number of lessons focused on design which will provide you with deep knowledge of the field.
Personally, I use Udemy for “micro” lessons. When I’m faced with a specific task that I’m not sure how to handle, this is the first place I go to for learning. Back when I was just starting to dive into Adobe After Effects, I went through a course focused on the program.
If you don’t feel like investing the money at the moment, wait for a special discount. The prices of the courses go really down during Black Friday, Christmas etc.
I owe my design skills to Skillshare as well. It is another site providing courses for pretty much everything you need, but design topics are especially abundant on it.
The educational videos are available through subscription.
Every field has a few leading experts that are known for what they’ve accomplished or the relevance of advice they give. If you don’t follow anyone who inspires you in your work and keeps you updated on the news, start doing it now.
There are lots of professionals that share their insights on social media, as well as their websites, in YouTube videos or blog articles (hey there!).
What’s so good about this is the fact that these people have gone through the process and you can bet they wouldn’t share anything that would harm their reputation. They mostly publish high quality and updated content. That might give you the inspiration you need.
Observing your competitors doesn’t mean you should start copying them. It means that you’re opening up to other possibilities, because everyone thinks differently of problems and therefore has different methods on how to deal with them.
Let’s say you need to come up with a solution for a website that sells cat food. You have a problem: you have never designed such a website, so you naturally can’t come up with ideas on how to build it. What you can do to get some inspiration and learn something is to check the competition.
Start asking yourself questions like: “How did the designer manage to design this solution?” and “What can I do to make it better?” – this will provide you with valuable insight and may pose as a starting point for further, more specific research.
You can also start checking other designers on platforms like Dribbble or Behance.
If you understand your user, you have all it takes to be a good designer. That might sound easy, but the reality is quite a different story. All of your major design decisions should be based on user behavior data that you actively need to gather.
As I mentioned in the article Is there such a thing as perfect design?, only the feedback from the target users can determine what you need to improve in order to enhance usability. Become a sponge for user feedback, because it is a resource that never stops giving. This will provide you with many learning possibilities.
Pro tip: Learn about the 3-30-3 rule. If you don’t grab the users’ attention within 3 seconds, they will most probably leave and look elsewhere. If you manage to keep them on the site for 30 seconds, the probability of them staying and browsing some more goes up exponentially. And if they’re staying for three or more minutes, they are likely to share the content and become valuable customers.
It’s a well known fact that once you put the learned theory into practice, you’ll remember it for a long time. This is because you will really live it through and see it manifest in real (virtual) life.
Don’t lose your curiosity. Don’t lose your passion. Keep learning and your work will flourish.
PS: If you’re really eager to learn about UI and UX design at a deep level, I recommend these amazing books:
User-Centered Design: A Developer's Guide to Building User-Friendly Applications
Seven Step UX: The Cookbook for Creating Great Products
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Just Enough Research
The Best Interface Is No Interface: The simple path to brilliant technology
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