7 tips for effective UX design in 2021
While looking to get into the User Experience (UX) field, you’ve probably found an exhaustive list of UX Bootcamp, design labs, courses and workshops. With so many choices, it can be hard to know which topics you really need to learn.
1. Design Psychology
Understanding how people think, how we respond to design elements, our cognitive abilities and our limitations. This foundational topic will enable you to make effective decisions about content organization, task flow, labeling, color choices, interaction design… everything. Why? Every design choice affects whether we can access the content, how we navigate, what is clear or confusing, how we make decisions, how long it takes to complete a task, and how we feel about the overall experience.
You’ll wanna learn about color and typography psychology, cognitive laws, and principles of design. Design psychology will also give you the fundamentals of visual design.
2. Research Methods
Making informed, user-centered design decisions is what separates traditional UI design from UX design. The traditional UI design was (and still is) based on design guidelines and assumptions about what people need and expect. UX design is evidence-based. UX professionals conduct a variety of user and design research methods, depending on the objectives. Findings of what works well and what does not provide valuable insight for making design decisions before committing designs to code. Learning how to plan, conduct and analyze findings is a core skill for UX professionals.
You’ll wanna learn how to conduct and analyze contextual user interviews, accessibility testing, usability testing, design sprints, paper prototyping techniques, etc.
3. Information Architecture
Structuring content so that it matches users’ expectations and helps them achieve their goals is a critical skill. Information architecture involves organizing, structuring and labeling all elements of the design and including copy and graphic content. You want to ensure that people can easily navigate, find what they are looking for and complete tasks. The information architecture will either help or hinder as people attempt to achieve their goals.
You’ll wanna learn UI components, organizational patterns, navigation, labeling, and basic rules of writing (e.g., feedback, errors, validation).
4. Wireframing / Prototyping
Creating low-fidelity and high-fidelity layouts of content based on research helps you (and the team) draft various design concepts and quickly make changes. Wireframes are skeleton design concepts (low-fidelity) that do not include aesthetics or content details while prototypes include detailed information architecture and aesthetics. Prototypes can be static or interactive and are typically used to explore various design ideas within a team and with your users.
You’ll wanna learn how to sketch or use software to translate ideas into low- and high-fidelity screens that can convey potential design solutions.
5. Interaction Design
Facilitating user interactions that are clear, timely, and predictable is vital for designing great user experiences. While the goal of graphic design is to convey a message or inspire people to take action, interaction design builds on that by supporting wayfinding, decision-making and goal achievement. The importance of mastering the principles of human-computer interaction, design patterns, and best practices for providing interaction feedback cannot be overstated.
You’ll wanna learn about topics such as: signifiers, gestures, forms, micro-interactions, progressive disclosure, search, filters, facets…
6. Inclusive Design
Designing for diverse abilities, cultures, identities, and context of use is often overlooked, or considered niche, but it’s actually imperative for designing great user experiences. Inclusive design is a framework for meeting diverse needs and expectations by having diverse representation within teams, collaborating with the people the design will serve, and focusing on the design’s impact on their experience. People expect experiences to be: accessible, usable, equitable, and ethical and that is accomplished through both the user interface design and back-end programming.
You’ll wanna learn about countering designer biases, accessibility, usability, and ethical patterns.
7. Basic UI Development
This is actually a bonus. Understanding the basics about user interface markup is not required but extremely helpful for having conversations with developers about styling and content presentation. I cannot count how often I have discussions with developers about tradeoffs and options for implementing a design. Having a basic understanding of HTML and CSS has come in handy. This can be the last topic you look into, but well worth it in the long run.
You’ll wanna review HTML and CSS with a focus on aspects that contribute to accessibility such as alt tags, tab order, form labels.
Always be learning. Like any occupation, there’s a lot to learn and we continue learning throughout our careers. Each project presents new design challenges. Design conventions, technology, and people change, calling for creative approaches to design solutions.
Be compassionate. Prioritize learning about the diverse experiences and needs of the people whom your design will serve equally as much as learning about design principles and design tools.
Pimclick is UX Design Agency offering a unique blend of creativity and User Experience expertise within the entirety of the web design spectrum.