Blog: Design Musings and Other Nonsense

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There is No “YOU” in UX

UX Design is a funny little critter.  That is, many (if not most), creative efforts allow the creator to leave their mark on the item they create.  In a lot of ways, the creative work they produce is a symbol of the artist, an extension of what the artist is, carrying with it something from the artist’s personality.

UX Design, or good UX Design anyway, is largely a selfless act.  Personally, that is what I like the most about it.  For a lot of people, it can be hard to divorce our own personal taste of how something should be and truly look at something from someone else’s perspective.  However, this is precisely what good UX Design demands.  It demands that you look at things from outside of yourself, that you challenge the assumptions you make, and that you build something not for you, but for someone else.

And, even when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, building something for them, you are not done.  You need to test, with real live “other people”, to see if your guesses were right.  You need to surrender your definition of “right” to the user.  After all, your design is not about you, it is about them.

Of course, as a designer, you always start with you best guess for what will work for your audience.  You use your experience with past, similar situations, to build something that you think will work.  However, when it comes down to it, it does not really matter if these guesses were right.  Of course, it is nice if these guesses were close, but what really matters is that you take the time and effort to get to what is right.

Great UX is a process, not a destination.  Personally, I feel like I get better at it with every new project/piece I create, mostly because there is seemingly no ending to the learning that is available with UX.  There is always a clearer, more succinct way to say something.  There are always more powerful word choices.  There are always places to smooth out in a process to make it easier. There are always ways to better capture the look/feel/tone around what you are trying to communicate.

All of these qualities are what draw me to UX design.  The ability to never have to stop learning, to never achieve perfect, to never be “done”.   I like the fact that my work is never done, because it gives me something to chase around tomorrow.  The never ending chase of the sublime is what makes UX Design the wonderful work it is, and I am so grateful that I get to do it.

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