The Takeaway: It takes time to become proficient in the field of UX. Do not try to learn every design process out there. Focus on one. Then spend time mastering the methods and activities that comprise your chosen design delivery process to help you become a fluid and agile designer.
UX Design Processes or UX Methods and Activities – what is more important?
What would I say to any designer who thinks it’s important to learn half a dozen design delivery processes instead of becoming fully proficient at delivering and mastering UX tasks or methods within a process?
I would write you a letter of encouragement, and if you’re trying to learn, double diamond, the IBM method and a whole lot more at the same time, I welcome you to read on.
Using one solid over-arching design thinking and delivery approach does and can work. This is proven. It’s one’s methods, micro approach to discovery and research activities that would change, depending on the problem to solve. Meaning, the process may somewhat flex or vary in terms of time, types of activities performed and so on.
Experience should teach any seasoned designer this.
Many experienced design leaders and institutes such as the Nielsen Norman Group and the Baymard Institute will tell you, that processes such as those I’ve mentioned above and others are variations of the same core process, which is to discover, design and iterate or to understand, explore and materialise.
If you are a designer who hasn’t yet done the following, I encourage you to immerse yourself beyond the surface in established teachings from NN/g or another world-leading institute to understand how the foundational practices of UX differ from what you’ve learned so far.
If your approach to learning is one of humility, you’ll find that there are many more foundational things to master when comparing those established teachings against your own knowledge.
The problem we see today is that many designers jump from design process to design process because they haven’t really become fully proficient at delivering actionable insights from UX discovery methods and research activities or tasks that make up a process.
They may be tempted to follow the loudest noise (design approach fad or disruptor[not in a good way]). Sometimes that is due to inexperience, other times, simple naivety.
That’s okay. Just be sure to learn the lessons from your journey to becoming the best designer you believe you can be.
Focus less on learning half a dozen or however many over-arching UX design processes exists, and focus more on mastering the UX methods and activities that support those processes to drive project success.– Desi Reuben-Sealey
Jumping from process to process won’t improve you as a designer, mastering the UX activities and tasks will.
UX Design Processes Illustrated
Let’s end this with an example; imagine you own one car. Would you drive that same car to do food shopping as you would to your job? Probably.
Would you still drive that very same car on a short or long road trip to see a friend?
Most likely. But what would change?
- The number of stops you would make for breaks
- The number of times you fill up for petrol/gas/charge (if electric)
- The route if the weather or traffic became an influence on your journey
But you would still drive the same car.
The above example illustrates that whilst the car doesn’t change (the process), our activities whilst driving that car would change (the discovery and research tasks and other things).
So focus less on learning half a dozen or however many over-arching UX design processes exists, and focus more on mastering the UX methods and activities that support those processes to drive project success.
Don’t turn yourself into “a knower of all but master of none.”
Meaning, learn one design delivery process really well, then spend time to master the methods and activities that comprise your chosen design delivery process to help you become a fluid and agile designer.
Time and experience will expose you to other processes, so no need to rush, you’ll get there with the right mental approach.
This is a letter of encouragement to all designers of lesser experience, to continue to allow time to shape your approach, and humility to push your learning, as well as individuals or entities more experienced such as Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, Baymard Institute to help enlighten your current levels of understanding.
References: Design Thinking 101 (nngroup.com)