10 Things that Helped Me Improve as a UI Designer
Side projects are what lead me to discover my interest in product design in the first place.When I was 18 years old, I had the idea to build a tool that allowed people to create their own Snapchat geofilters, which had just been released by Snapchat, at the time.I had some graphic design experience — knowledge on how to use photoshop and illustrator, but zero exposure to product design.Yep, this is the first UI design I ever made. (circa July 6, 2015)After attempting to design my first side project, I realized that I enjoy the process but was clueless about how to properly design a real product.I ended up hiring a designer to finish what I started, and they did a slightly better job…This project led me to continue designing side projects for any and every idea that I had. Whether I had plans for my project to be developed or not, I would still design it as though it would be.Working on side projects helped me develop the skills that other designers who aren’t focusing on the entire product experience, are skipping. I would have to take into account all of the states to make my product complete.I’ve always pushed myself to come up with ideas for products and design them out as much as possible. I’ve created a bunch of products for fun that have never left a Sketch file on my computer.My side project RocketHaving a side project not only shows that you have initiative and can create a product on your own accord — but it also allows me to display my authentic design style.It showcases a creation that came out of my creative exploration, with no one else’s fingers in it.By IconicebestiaryAnytime I download an app, sign up for a website, do online shopping, change my password, or literally do anything — I pay attention.It’s easy to mindlessly sign up for apps or go through digital experiences without giving much thought to them. But it’s when I pay attention that I notice all the attentiveness to detail that went into constructing such a seamless flow.By paying attention to what design decisions other, often much more established companies have made, it allows me to draw inspiration.When I was starting, I knew little about product design, but the best place to learn was from the experiences that I was already having on a day to day basis. If every app I use has a “Sign Up with Facebook” button, then maybe there’s a reason for that.I would often and still do, screenshot mobile app interfaces that I like and use them as a point of reference later.By IconicebestiaryInterviewing, in my opinion, keeps me sharp. It is a confidence boost when I get an offer and an opportunity for evaluation if I don’t.I’ve interviewed for design roles at several companies; this does a few things to help me improve:I can learn what skills employers are seekingI have to be able to articulate what I am capable of and what I know — so I need to know what I’m talking aboutI’m often asked challenging questions about product design which can reveal what I don’t knowCompanies frequently have design challenges which require out of the box thinkingCompanies often require a design presentation which improves my presentation skillsIn one interview process, I had to complete a design challenge and then present my work explaining how I landed on particular design choices step by step.In the interview, I was fielding dozens of questions challenging why I used specific colors, what kind of grid I used, why I established the hierarchy the…
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