How to improve your designs and your work

How to improve your designs and your work

The daily grind can lead you to design in a hurry, skip important steps, and forget about some details. However, it is in those moments that we have to open our eyes the most and try to maintain the quality of the design as much as possible.Thinking about that and how I paid the consequences for having rushed in the past, I bring you some tips, reminders and recommendations to improve both your designs and your work as a UXer, and I leave you a bonus track with 35 tools you need to have! ¡y te dejo un bonus track con 35 herramientas que necesitás tener!

Review the flows

The interaction your users have with the interface should be as easy, practical, and intuitive as possible. If you can save a task, simplify a screen, eliminate a step, or save a click, don't hesitate to do it. The best way to polish those details (before testing with users) is by reviewing the flows and traveling yourself through the journey you designed.

Check this book Don't Make Me Think by Steve KrugIt's always good to go back to basics!

Don't ask for more data than you need

Whether it's in a registration, a survey, a record, or any kind of form, we should be careful with the information we request. This means that we have to make sure that the data we ask for in the form has a justification and a defined subsequent use. If you don't know when and how you're going to use that information, then it's not necessary.

Show progress indicators

The first of the 10 usability heuristics is Visibility of system status.

This heuristic teaches us that the design should keep the user informed of what is happening in the interface, providing them with transparent information about what they have already done and what they need to do to make their own decisions. In addition, incorporating a progress indicator forces you to divide the process into steps and detect opportunities for improvement.

Apply a minimalist approach

Just like silence, blank space is useful and necessary. It helps to contextualize and highlight components to achieve harmony and visual balance. Don't be intimidated by the simplicity of not having the screen full of information. In UX, as in life, less is more.

Take care of the Design System

Creating a Design System is a challenge, but it's worth it. Not only because it ensures coherence and consistency, but also because it saves a lot of work and headaches. Everything you can automate is welcome, especially if many people are designing in the team.

Take mistakes as opportunities

If your brand voice allows it, error pages (as long as they don't mean a critical pain point for the user) can be a great opportunity to connect with them.

Look how Disney did it:

Document everything

It may seem annoying, but documenting every piece or element we design is super important to keep a record of what we did so that it can be retrieved in the future by ourselves (if we want to redesign, for example), by other designers, or by other areas. Even in the UX Content area, the "Descartes Document" is often used to gather all the wording proposals that were not used in the final design, but which were still convincing. From old ideas, new and very interesting ones can come out!

Ensure legibility and information hierarchy

It is crucial to define the importance of elements in levels, organize them and order them from most to least important according to the user's objective when solving the task. An experience cannot be considered good if people cannot find what they are looking for. To categorize information into understandable and intuitive units, I recommend doing card sortings or tree testings to understand and validate the mental model of your users.

Ask for feedback 

Receiving feedback, from users, stakeholders, and colleagues, is an essential activity in a human-centered design process. Listening to the views of others allows us to see details that are outside our vision and that enrich the product.

No te olvides que el feedback es un regalo y hay que recibirlo como tal. Dependerá de nosotros qué tomamos de esa retroalimentación, pero siempre hay que agradecerla.

Diseñá para tus usuarios

Your project must have strong foundations to move forward and grow. In this case, by "foundations" I mean data and quantitative and qualitative information that comes from research and that helps you create your proto persona. Remember that when we do research, we are looking for patterns of behavior. We don't design for a particular person we interviewed, we design for a fictional person who has the characteristics that the people we interviewed share. We are always looking for insights.

When we say "users," we mean people. And people are diverse. It is important (and necessary) that your proposal is accessible to people with different abilities. Here is the WCAG website to consult and learn about Accessibility, in addition to a checklist with resources that I created for you. checklist con recursos que creé para vos.

Pay attention to detail

Functionality is more important than aesthetics, yes, but this does not mean that we have to leave out visual details. Remember to carefully review the contrast, color, size, alignment, buttons, links, typography, and even spelling in the process of polishing and iterating the design. Ask your team for feedback to help you fix those details.

Bonus Track

Having said that, I would love to share 35 tools that will help you work better as a UX Designer. As I said before, anything you can automate is welcome. This way you will have more time to dedicate to strategy!

Websites to download fonts:

Tools for card sorting and tree testing:

Websites to download icons:

Tools to create accessible color palettes:

Software to design prototypes:

Stock image banks:

Tools to manage your tasks and communicate with your team:

Templates to create your proto persona:

If you found value in this article, I would appreciate it if you could share it with anyone you think needs to read it. 

Thanks for reading! See you next time.