May is Mental Health Awareness month and so we wanted to start this newsletter by doing a quick check-in:
We know that breaking into UX can be difficult. Continuing to navigate the industry can be challenging too. When I came across this article, I sighed in relief because it wasn’t another listicle of tips to succeed – it prompted personal reflection.
- Why did I become a UX designer?
- Am I happy?
- What can I improve upon?
- What is keeping me grounded?
Note: another aspect to consider is how much optionality you have.
It’s important to make time to reflect on these questions and even have conversations with others (as opposed to burying those feelings). It’s great for sharing experiences but more importantly, good for our mind and body.
A list of activities so that you can be a great facilitator, even in this continued remote environment. Find icebreakers, idea-generating, idea processing, and wrap-up activities here!
“Vivianne Castillo left counseling to become a UX researcher. What she found was an industry that talked a lot about empathy—but wasn’t very good at practicing it. Now she’s building a company dedicated to changing that.” This podcast is from Strong Feelings, hosted by Sara Wachter-Boettcher who seeks to showcase leaders in tech and design.
This article isn’t your typical “design trend” speculation—it pulls data from 1000 websites. Each website’s HTML and CSS files were scoured to determine font-family, header style, and other design details. Some interesting findings:
- The #1 ranked font is sans-serif, around 95% of P tags are sans-serif.
- Headers typically tend to be large or heavier but not both.
- The median for font sizes is generally H1 being roughly 1.9 times the size of P.
Given the data found in this article, I’m curious as to how design trends and best practices play into the similarities of fonts. It was no surprise that sans-serif fonts are a winner choice but the sizing between H1 and P has always been dependent on the font choice and design real estate (desktop, mobile, tablet screen).
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
– Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist
Interested in learning more about UX research? This is a recently recorded stream from Design Career Network with special guest, Michele Ronsen, founder of Curiosity Tank. She shares her online resources and walks through the steps to get started with research. In the end, Michele wraps up with questions from viewers such as “What are some questions or phrases to start a user interview that could make the user feel comfortable opening up?”
Customers Included: How to Transform Products, Companies, and the World – With a Single Step
Here’s a key area to wrap your heads around: design research. After reading this book, you will learn the answer to “why do companies so often fail to give customers what they want?” This book is informative – it’s filled with examples and case studies from companies like Apple, Google, and Netflix to clearly explain why including the customer is the secret sauce to success for any product.
No, coding is not essential to becoming a UX designer (here’s more on that) but it can definitely help for some design roles! Coding Fantasy is an RPG game that guides players from learning basic coding to more advanced levels. It’s cute.
[CASE STUDY SPOTLIGHT]
Designer & Cofounder: Dana Kozar
Case Study: Deeplyapp.com – UX & visual improvements
Deeply App is a wellness app released in 2019, with the goal of helping users maintain their mental well-being through meditation and exercises. It’s rare to see a design cofounder publish a case study about her own work, so that’s neat.
Why this case study is awesome:
- Scope and purpose: this case study set up the business context well: increase user engagement and retention, since many users would uninstall the app before giving it a shot. Dana walks through research and user feedback to guide how to attack those problems.
- Visual design: the case study presents a style guide and many screenshots of the updated visual design to compare how the changes were made to enhance the experience.
There are 2 parts to this case study but they proposed different problems and approaches. Many artifacts and deliverables were included to help readers understand the mobile app and why the changes would add value. It was nice to see a full set of app interfaces after all the work was done. Check out the work on DeeplyApp.com.
[UX COURSE RECOMMENDATION]
Inspired by this week’s highlight on UX Designer happiness? Sometimes, you just need a step back to evaluate your career from a holistic point of view. Check out this Coursera course (free enrollment!) by a developmental psychologist, who’ll walk through actionable exercises to help you…
- Understand best practices for making career decisions.
- Develop the tools you need to make the right choices for you, from deciding an area of study to exploring potential lines of work to pursue
- Know when to pivot at any time in your career.
The course is organized in a nice framework: Motivation -> Mindset -> Mapping Your career. Read more details about the course here.