Ask DN: How can I improve my UX skills?

almost 6 years ago from , ⚡️ Creator of things ⚡️

Hey DN,

I've been creating websites since I was 15 years old. I mostly focused on UI design, but I also learned HTML, CSS, Javascript, basic PHP, and lately Swift.

I feel pretty confident in my UI skills, but I want to be better in UX design.

I want to have a deeper understanding on user behaviour, what people think (like mental models and stuff). I want to be able to easily identify potential problems on an interface / in a product. This is where I usually struggle. I think all of these things require you to ask focused questions.

Can you help me improve in this? What should I read / watch / study? What should be my main focus?

Thanks in advance!



  • Michael DegtyarevMichael Degtyarev, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Take a look at The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garret. You don't have to read the book, but study the diagram: http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf. It will uncover some concrete things about what is behind the surface, like: user needs, business objectives. Those are the foundation of good UX.

    The book will explain those concepts in more details, and provide some foundation to build upon, but it does little in terms of practical help. For that I recommend you check out https://hackdesign.org/ . It is free and curated list of resources for learning design.

    Ping me on Twitter (@twelvedesign) if you have more question or need more definite direction.

    5 points
    • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, almost 6 years ago

      I second this, really great book. Gave me a solid foundation in the basic principles and different aspects of UX design.

      0 points
    • Rick LanceeRick Lancee, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      We get bombarded with Jesse James Garrets stuff here at my school. This diagram haunts my dreams.

      0 points
      • Michael DegtyarevMichael Degtyarev, almost 6 years ago

        It is very solid framework for thinking about UX of a product. Embrace it. I've been going through other UX books that talk about design process, and most of them follow the same progression as the Elements.

        0 points
    • Zoltán Hosszú, almost 6 years ago

      Thank you Michael, I'll check these out!

      0 points
  • Tyrale BloomfieldTyrale Bloomfield, almost 6 years ago

    Read, Build, Repeat

    Seriously, the more you can consume and produce the better you will become. As you consume it will grow in your mind. Like planting a seed. You water it by production. When you build products, be they digital or physical, you will run into small and large obstacles. What you have previously consumed or built will help you navigate around these new obstacles.

    Perform user tests. No better way to know how people behave than to track them. This will illuminate as well.

    Watch. Look at how successful products are building their experiences. Try to derive how they are making decisions, understand the decisions behind the result.

    Find a UX process you like to use. Here is an EXTREMELY short list of options.

    1. UX Triage - fast, easy. Focus on what is needed now, not later.
    2. Lean UX - think, make, check, repeat
    3. Traditional UX - User flow, User personas, wireframes, waterfall.
    2 points
  • Keaton PriceKeaton Price, almost 6 years ago

    Observe. As much as possible.

    Watch people interact with other people, objects, tools, etc. It's pretty crazy how much I've learned from sitting silently, observing people.

    Aside from that, I would start with Don Norman's classic, "The Design of Everyday Things."

    1 point
  • Andrea MontiniAndrea Montini, almost 6 years ago

    Get out and talk with real people.

    0 points
  • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, almost 6 years ago

    The best way, if you can: work on a team alongside experienced UX designers.

    0 points