Ask DN: What is one area you are trying to improve as a designer?

over 5 years ago from , Product Designer at Daily Burn

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.


  • Kris KimKris Kim, over 5 years ago


    9 points
  • AK SelbyAK Selby, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    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.

    7 points
  • Mackenzie Child, over 5 years ago

    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:

    • Design
    • CSS / JS
    • Prototyping (Flinto)
    • iOS dev
    • Videography
    • Photography
    • 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.

    5 points
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, over 5 years ago

    Doing side projects for fun, with no expectations. Harder than it sounds. Would like to learn more cognitive psychology and also game design.

    4 points
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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?

      0 points
  • Dan GDan G, over 5 years ago

    Currently doing my best to learn Framer.

    4 points
    • Wyatt CampizWyatt Campiz, over 5 years ago

      I second this, Framer has been on the top of my list for a few months now.

      1 point
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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!

      0 points
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 5 years ago

    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.

    3 points
    • Kieran RheaumeKieran Rheaume, over 5 years ago

      gahhh. this.

      I feel like we need to increase the sensitivity on our BS detectors amidst the info overload these days.

      2 points
    • Dan Charlesworth, over 5 years ago

      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.

      1 point
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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..

      0 points
  • Vinay ChilukuriVinay Chilukuri, over 5 years ago

    Get effective at doing various kinds of User Research.

    3 points
  • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, over 5 years ago

    Documentation and process in startups.

    2 points
  • Ryan CarterRyan Carter, over 5 years ago
    1. Development (HTML/CSS + CSS frameworks)
    2. Illustration
    3. UX Design
    4. Prototyping
    5. Communication
    2 points
  • Jon MyersJon Myers, over 5 years ago

    Strict Organization

    Smarter use of the power of Sketch, symbols and atomic workflow for creating tighter more manageable design systems.

    1 point
    • Rachel SinonRachel Sinon, over 5 years ago

      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!

      0 points
  • Melanie Lang, over 5 years ago

    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.

    1 point
  • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, over 5 years ago

    Communication. I've been working on it since I started, and I'll be working on it until I'm gone.

    1 point
  • Bryan Zavestoski, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    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)
    1 point
  • Account deleted over 5 years ago

    Information Architecture and how to guide the team better in it

    Cognitive psychology and understanding better how people think and comprehend stuff

    Framer (-_- ; )

    1 point
  • Ray MartinRay Martin, over 5 years ago
    1. Overall efficiency - minimizing spinning my wheels on stuff, etc.
    2. Less (or faster) execution and more "thinking"
    3. Prototyping/animation (Principal, Framer, etc.)
    4. Overall communication
    1 point
  • Horacio MejíaHoracio Mejía, over 5 years ago

    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.

    1 point
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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!

      0 points
  • Jacob JJacob J, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Javascript & Jquery

    1 point
  • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, 5 years ago

    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.

    0 points
  • Errol V., over 5 years ago
    • Behavior economics
    • Design for accessibility
    • Service design

    For funsies:

    • Handlettering
    • Illustration
    • Setting aside and devoting time to build side projects off-hours
    0 points
  • Noorain Noorani, over 5 years ago

    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?

    0 points
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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

      0 points
  • Jason Frostholm, over 5 years ago

    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.

    0 points
  • Abhijeet WankhadeAbhijeet Wankhade, over 5 years ago

    Putting the work out more often

    0 points
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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?

      0 points
      • Abhijeet WankhadeAbhijeet Wankhade, 5 years ago

        I always feel my work is not ready enough or I procrastinate to make it presentable. Have you encountered this?

        0 points
  • Dennis Schmidt, over 5 years ago

    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.

    0 points
    • Josh Clement, over 5 years ago

      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!

      0 points
  • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    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.

    0 points
  • Alex StillwellAlex Stillwell, over 5 years ago

    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.

    0 points
  • Rob Carreno, over 5 years ago

    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

    0 points
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 5 years ago

    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:

    • JavaScript (need to play catch up on ES6 and anything else new)
    • Videography and Vlogging
    • VR (really want to get on the bandwagon so I can design for it some day.)
    • Photography
    • 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.)
    0 points