What do you wish you were better at? What is blocking you from getting really great work done? It doesn't have to be technical either. I listed out five of my own and I'm interested to see what the rest of you are focusing on this year.
True! haha. Marketing skills
I've been trying to focus more on passion projects or "fun" work to keep my brain engaged in the evenings and weekends. I've turned into a "office-hours only" designer over these last few months and I know that is stifling my creative growth. I'm hoping to start a "30 Days Of Lettering/UI/Sketching/whatthefuckever" to force me to get back into it.
Wish me luck.... It hasn't gone very well so far.
Get a design buddy, it helps and pressures you into committing to the 30 days challenge and is fun to see the growth of your body and yours at the end
Great idea! Thanks man.
I've been thinking a lot about what I want to learn or improve upon over the next few years. I actually tweeted about it the other day, haha.
The top of my list is design, which I don't think I'm a bad designer by any means... There's just always room for improvement.
Anyways, my full list is:
- CSS / JS
- Prototyping (Flinto)
- iOS dev
- Story Telling
I'm very interested in the last three because although they don't have a direct relation to my main work as a designer/front-end dev, I can definitely see how they will influence one another.
videography/photography and design go hand-in-hand IMO. learning framing for shots and learning grids both are very complimentary to each other. I would highly recommend them!
Flinto is great, on my learning list as well. Also improving my design & creative thinking skills
Hey Mackenzie, thanks for sharing! Design is very broad topic haha. I love that you included storytelling. I think it's something we all do with our work, whether we know it or not. You might like this book because it centers around stories
Differentiating signal vs. noise. Everyone in this industry has a voice and an opinion and maybe an Awesome New Tool™ and I don't really know what to pay attention to anymore.
I feel like we need to increase the sensitivity on our BS detectors amidst the info overload these days.
There probably isn't much Industry News that's worth your attention. If you aren't struggling with your current tools, just stick with them.
If something worthy does come out, it'll probably filter up to you some other way, like word-of-mouth.
Hey Steven, thanks for sharing. How are you going with this goal? Do you have any tactics that are working. Like do you stop reading design news? I agree, that it's our job to think a level higher than the tools - since there will always be new tools to get the job done. It's more important to focus on the problems we can discover, and solve for people..
Doing side projects for fun, with no expectations. Harder than it sounds. Would like to learn more cognitive psychology and also game design.
Hey Ian, side projects should always be fun! (unless they are making lots of money, in which case that's a business..) Make anything cool?
Currently doing my best to learn Framer.
I second this, Framer has been on the top of my list for a few months now.
Hey Luke, seems like everyone is using Framer at the moment. Have you been able to weave it into your normal design workflow. Has it been useful to sell or communicate your work? Let me know!
Get effective at doing various kinds of User Research.
Documentation and process in startups.
- Development (HTML/CSS + CSS frameworks)
- UX Design
Smarter use of the power of Sketch, symbols and atomic workflow for creating tighter more manageable design systems.
I second Jon's response! Building out a style guide and more intentional design system across the sites I work on. That, and business/brand strategy!
Not a technical one here. I'm trying to work out a better balance with my business team (who sets out the requirements) and my technical team (who does the work). Spending most of your work day "fighting" between requirements and real work is not fun.
Communication. I've been working on it since I started, and I'll be working on it until I'm gone.
There are always endless parts of design I'd like to improve, so I've been trying to narrow it down to just a few to make it more manageable. Here are the couple I've been focusing on:
- Framer (motion design in general, and being able to visually tell a story with my designs)
- Specific UX techniques (moving from more UI to more UX)
- The business side of design: marketing, presentation, communication, etc. (I'm doing more freelance, which makes the business side equally important as the design skills)
Information Architecture and how to guide the team better in it
Cognitive psychology and understanding better how people think and comprehend stuff
Framer (-_- ; )
- Overall efficiency - minimizing spinning my wheels on stuff, etc.
- Less (or faster) execution and more "thinking"
- Prototyping/animation (Principal, Framer, etc.)
- Overall communication
I would like to be better communicating my ideas. especially when doing and receiving feedback.
Technically I'm trying to learn Framer and the basics to build my website portfolio.
Hey Horacio, thanks for sharing! Communication is SO important. If you can't communicate well, you'll never be able to sell your work, or even explain it to others. Hope you are still focusing on this goal!
The actual UI design part. I'm pretty good at achieving results for my clients (small businesses) through designing for high conversions, but my UI design work isn't currently good enough to even get an interview at an agency.
- Behavior economics
- Design for accessibility
- Service design
- Setting aside and devoting time to build side projects off-hours
Hey Errol. How are your side projects going? Did you find the time?
I'm really struggling to improve my visual design skills. I'm an engineer by background, and feel like I have a better sense of experience and interaction.
Picking up fundamental design skills like typographic sense, colour theory, layout has been much harder for me. I'm not sure whether going to school for this is the best (and fastest) way to learn this. What do you guys think?
Hi Noorain, this is awesome that you are improving something that doesn't come naturally to you. Design school is an option, sure, (an expensive one) but you should try simple design projects first. I imagine its difficult to pick up because it's much more SUBJECTIVE than engineering, but there are many rules and principles you can learn, and you can become a great visual designer. Here is a random book I read in design school that might be of interest to you : https://www.amazon.com/Ways-Seeing-Based-BBC-Television/dp/0140135154
I'm trying to figure out what I want to focus on, or if I want to switch from being primarily a print designer to doing more UI/UX.
Putting the work out more often
Hey Abhijeet, sharing work is one of the best ways to make a reputation for yourself, and boost your credibility among other designers. The feedback you get also helps you to rapidly improve. Have you been doing it?
I always feel my work is not ready enough or I procrastinate to make it presentable. Have you encountered this?
For me, it's mostly coding and psychology/influence. Then again, I dislike the obsession of becoming better every day. Sometimes I just want to enjoy what I have and spend my home time with anything unrelated to my job.
Hey Dennis, thanks for sharing. I agree that noone should be obsessed with getting better. Because, you'd never be happy with yourself! Personally, I like to have something a little difficult to work towards, otherwise I get to comfortable, and lack motivation. If you've been learning a bit more about influence/persuasion, I hope you've checked out Influence by Cialdini!
I made a goal 3 years ago to learn a front-end framework so I could move away from jQuery and all the spaghetti code I was writing. So, I learned Angular! Then I discovered ES6 before Angular 2 went beta, so Vue.js, Webpack, all the stuff that comes with it, have been my main focus lately.
If you haven't tried Vue.js yet, I highly recommend it as an alternative to React and other view libs if you're serious about web UI development. The learning curve is much lower, and the guides/docs are stellar.
And with this, finding better ways to hand off design assets, prototypes, and high-fidelity behavior demos to our developers.
I believe that you should focus on the things that are the biggest point of friction in your current projects. So to that effect, I'm trying to establish stronger institutional reliance on user research where I work, develop more confidence in my copy writing, and build a foundation of Framer assets to incorporate that into our process easier and faster.
I want to learn UX/UI and do some for fun projects to make a portfolio and hopefully find a work from home job through this
I'm primarily trying to master (or just succeed in ) the business of being a designer/developer/writer along with how to build passive income streams in an overly crowded market :)
Aside from that big general one my list is as follows:
- Videography and Vlogging
- VR (really want to get on the bandwagon so I can design for it some day.)
- How to Network more effectively
- How to ride a motorcycle! (I'm working with a client currently that is in the business of motorcycles. I now want one but don't want to die.)