What Has Made You a Better UX Professional

As U.S. professionals or anyone working in tech, we’re constantly learning and furthering our skills to stay current in the industry, whether it’s studying a new skill, researching a new theory or practicing an activity, there’s always something that can help make us better U.S. professionals in our day to day work. I’m at the U.S. conference in San Francisco where we asked attendees what one thing made them a better U.S. professional.

I think the one thing that’s really changed how I go about projects is listening to what people have to say and just putting my preconceived ideas aside. I’m always trying to figure things out ahead of time, but sometimes just slowing down and just listening to what’s happening right now at the moment, what the problems are right now. And then just taking that step back, listening and and digesting that.

What makes me better is that I always want to learn new things. I didn’t just go to school and that I was then I’m always telling myself. So if there’s something I feel like that’s uncomfortable, then I said to myself, OK, you need to do that sometimes. Times just do it over and over again until you like it.

So the most important thing to me, the reason why I’m here is I understand people’s mentality, their approach, their style, their methodology and how I can work better to support them and how we can collaborate better. So all day long, it’s about how to work more efficiently together. So I think having the knowledge, the understanding of the basics will help me become a better practitioner.

Some of the particulars that you do as a researcher, some people may not understand the subtleties of being able to express that to other disciplines is pretty important. And so just finding the right language and way to express that, to sort of have a teachable moment with others definitely helps. And so I find myself being reminded to articulate what it is I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and the impact that it could have and why it’s important to consider continuous learning is critical because you never stop.

People are changing every day. Society is changing every day, and you’re designing for those people. So you have to stay on top of what the right thing is to do for your users.

One of the things I think that has made me a better UX practitioner is a lot of storytelling and empathy mapping. I work in the medical device industry and there’s a lot of things around safety, both for the practitioner and for the patient. And using empathy maps and storytelling gives me the ability to truly understand the needs, which in turn provides a safer experience with the products I deliver.

I think the ability to learn different aspects that I heard of, I wasn’t sure about the feeling that I can go back and actually do it. And it’s OK if I practice several times a fail a little bit, hopefully I’ll get better each time. But there’s seems to be a lot of tools and information that I can take back to you.

So my background’s a little different. I used to be a teacher. I taught for five years. And so I’ve really been excited to see the parallels between user experience and teaching. There’s so many different ways to engage people and elicit information from people. And that’s one thing that I’ve really learned and been able to apply in my new career. And that’s been really exciting for me to see.

The Visual Principle of Scale in User Interface Design

When looking at a visual, you can usually immediately say whether it looks great or feels just a bit off. Few of us can actually verbalize why that is. Visual design principles inform us how design elements like line, shape, color, grid, etc. go together to create well-rounded and thoughtful visuals. Designs that take advantage of these principles can drive engagement and increase visibility. So let’s talk about a commonly used principle scale. The principle of scale refers to using relative size, and when I say relative, I mean how the size of one item relates to the size of another item to signal importance and rank and a composition. Even more simply put, more important elements in design are bigger than ones that are less important. When something is big, it’s just more likely to be noticed by your user. A good rule of thumb that I follow when using this principle is to have three different sizes. So that’s something that small, something that’s medium sized and something that’s large in your design. Having this range of different size elements will not only create variety within your layout, which makes it interesting to look at, but also helps establish visual hierarchy. So let’s talk about a real life example to help solidify this concept on iPhone.

The platform medium makes popular articles visually larger than other articles. The scale of these popular articles literally take up almost half the screen, making these articles larger. So we’re talking the scale of them directs users to potentially more interesting or current reads. When you tap into an article to read it, you can see how scale is used again. So there are the three different sites we talked about. There’s the title that is large. The subtitle is Medium Size and the body text is small size. Windscale is used properly and the right elements are emphasized, users will easily pass the visuals and know how to use it. Utilizing the visual principle of scale will help create well-rounded and thoughtful visuals.

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