5 mistakes shared from a first-time content designer

This week’s UX roundup: 2 article highlights, 3 design tools, 1 case study pick and more

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[ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS] 

5 mistakes I made my first year as a content designer

“Experience is my best (and favorite) teacher.” Cayla Dorsey shares 5 mistakes she made as a new content designer and how she learned from them: 

  1. I made writing a transactional relationship 
  2. I was too scared to push back
  3. I didn’t come prepared to back my writing decisions with facts
  4. I wanted to be a perfect writer
  5. I rushed to become an expert

#2 resonated the most with me. When in a new role, it can feel like you can’t push back even though you have good recommendations. Experience and building trust are two key ingredients in becoming comfortable with standing your ground. 

[UX DESIGN TOOL: SITE BUILDER] 

Want to make awesome, interactive websites without code? Use Webflow, the leading no-code website builder that makes building interactive case studies and portfolio sites a cinch. Webflow’s dynamic content management system is something to drool over, making writer-designer collaboration way easier.

[DESIGN PODCAST]

Ramblings of a Designer ep. 117 – Marlon McKinney

Marlon McKenney is a San Francisco-based author, illustrator, and creative director with over 20 years of professional advertising experience working in San Francisco’s top ad agencies. In this podcast episode, he shares his experiences working at large Fortune 500 companies and how he incorporates elements of self-empowerment African and African-American history into his work.

[ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS]

Inclusive teaching: audio describing your own presentations

Think about the last presentation you attended – did the speaker use slides to accompany their presentation? If yes, were there components in the presentation that the speaker mentioned or referenced? Were you able to follow along? 

Frequently in design work, especially during continued remote Zoom meetings, presentations come in the form of screen-sharing where the speaker is pointing out this and that. As a participant, sometimes it can be hard to follow along or you take your eyes off the screen for a moment and you find yourself missing a visual. Derek Featherstone’s article is a gentle reminder to consider making presentations more accessible but adding more audio descriptions in the form of using descriptive language, spelling out URLs, providing references, and describing what viewers should be visualized on the screen. 

[DESIGN TOOL]

Web Interface Handbook

This handbook is very thorough with explanations of fundamental topics for creating a good web interface. Clicking into the topic, there are examples laid out of when to use best practices versus what might just “look good”. 

[UX QUOTE]

“There’s a big difference between making a simple product & making a product simple.”

Des Traynor, Co-Founder of Intercom

[WATCH THIS]

Accessibility UX Insights: Designing for the Next Billion Users

Did you know that 80% of people with disabilities live in emerging markets? Over the next couple of years, 1 billion new users are expected to come online from emerging markets. There are four key takeaways from this global accessibility framework described in the presentation: awareness, access, relevance, and design. Keeping these things in mind will help you design something accessible to everyone. 

[BOOK RECO] 

Extra Bold: A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-racist, Nonbinary Field Guide for Graphic Designers

Extra Bold is a newly published inclusive, practical, and informative design career handbook for everyone. This book features interviews, essays, typefaces, and projects from dozens of contributors with a variety of backgrounds to bring a bigger design perspective. 

[DESIGN TOOL]

Cool Backgrounds

Looking for a cool background for your design? Look no further! Grab a funky abstract background from Cool Background. Start with a design, customize your color palette, and download! 

[DESIGN CASE STUDY SPOTLIGHT]

Planning – ClassTopBase

Designer & Cofounder: Ryan Yao

Case Study: Planning – ClassTopBase

ClassTopBase is a school management software for after schools that help school admins manage students, teachers, and classes. 

Why this case study is awesome: 

  • Simplicity: storytelling without extraneous details. It flowed from gathering information, sketches, wireframes, to design and build. 
  • Iterations: the progression from sketches to wireframes versions clearly showed how the design evolved with details. 
  • Design details: there’s a subtle progress bar at the top and custom CSS that makes the cursor larger and easier to locate. Definitely flexin’ those front-end skills!

How the case study can be improved

  • Surface up more user insights: sections like “impact and results” and “gathering information” can be more descriptive, e.g. using customer quotes or adding data to support those claims.
  • End on a higher note: the ending is a bit abrupt and thin, with a 1 sentence conclusion on challenges and key learnings. Capping the case study with user impact and images of the final product may better transition this case study to a close.

Overall, this is a scannable case study showcasing a mix of web design – frontend and UX skills. 

Note: the purpose of a portfolio can vary, depending on its target audience and the designer’s motivation. We don’t know whether a designer wants to promote their startup, get UI design clients or become a design lead. Thus, take any feedback we give here with large granules of salt. 

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