Today, a question came up in one (of the several) design Slacks I’m in. I found it intriguing:
I just left the “newbie” phase of my design career. I’ve been in the field for about 3 years, working on various design problems, as a designer, by myself. This year, I finally, finally got a job as a full time UX Designer with Story2Designs. Since I’m now doing design full time, (and not design research, or research coordination, assisting with research), I’m interested how one stays fresh and also how they keep learning. And thus, I stumbled on this topic.
A little bit ago my Pocket served me up an blog post that talked about how athletes train on the basics to keep performing. (For some reason, my pocket loves giving me stuff from Darius Foroux.) Darius’ post reminded me of another one from James Clear (another Pocket fave).
They basically say the same thing: fundamentals and repetition, focusing on the basics, is what helps good people be great.
Three years ago, I started this UX journey by taking Treehouse courses online. Before then, I had worked on a variety of research and policy projects. My last project I had worked on, I had built a website, and using some core principals of Community Based Participatory Research, I accidentally did some user research by observing several participants use a particular feature of a website.
At that time, there was a UX/UI course on Treehouse that sent me down this journey. I found Treehouse comforting, so I went back to study the basics of web and UI design. And, as the God of Internet Design Zeldman will tell you, it’s hard.
I don’t remember learning to be this hard. At the time of learning it at first, I was so excited to be learning something new, something that was going to change my life. I read everything I could get my hands on. (I actually read the whole Cooper’s About Face. then bought it.) As soon as I felt like I mastered one thing, I moved on to the next, confident in my skills to at least know what to look for in order to get the job done.
Now, re-approaching the fundamentals of web design, while some things have stayed the same, some others have changed. Techniques that I have gleamed on the fly have become core concepts, and those core concepts go deep. And re-learning them is hard but not impossible.
So here I go, re-learning the fundamentals, and hopefully gaining some insights along the way.