Things I wish I knew when I started designing

5 years in the design field is not too long. But it gives me many lessons that if I knew about it before, it will be a better designer than I am today.
Things I wish I knew when I started designing

1. Learn to code

Why not? Many discussions about whether designers should learn to code. Let think about the team you’re working with. Who are you working with? Yes, many people: Product Manager, Quality Assurance, Delivery Lead, Data Analyst, Back-end Developer, iOS Developer, Android Developer, Web Developer,… Half of the team are developers. How do you communicate your design when talking with them without base knowledge of coding?

2. Learn to write

Writing is designing. I mentioned it many times.

Let take Twitter for example. Try to remove all the text on the app, what left you can see and do you know they are they?

More than 50% of the interface is text. If you remove it, there is not much leftover. If you don’t care about the text, your design will fall apart.

And more importantly, writing will help you be a better designer.

3. Find a way to raise your voice

As a designer, you have to convince other people to believe in your designs, your solution. You have to raise your voice.

Raise your voice doesn’t mean that you should talk very loud, yell to other people. Speaking isn’t the only way to communicate. Body language is way, writing is equally important.

Find changes to raise your voice: speaking, or writing via slack, email, or document. Just pick one medium that works for you. You don’t have to be perfect in everything.

The goal is to speak up. Be confident in your design.

4. Share work in progress

Share your work with other designers and your team member earlier, you will get early feedback from them. So you change your design early, without throwing your whole month effort.

The more time you spend on your design, the more love you will take for your design. So it would be difficult for you to receive feedback and change your design. This called the IKEA effect. It not only applies to users who spend a lot of time creating their desired item. But it also applies to designers when we spend too much time on a design solution.

So share your work earlier, when it was a rough sketch in papers, or it’s a simple wireframe or an ugly design.

5. Be Confident

Confidence gives you the courage to tell your team why you’re worth it, what you’re worth, and what they are losing by not working with you.

The term “Fake it till you make it” is easy to say, difficult to do. But if you are not confident in your design, who else will?

6. Embrace feeling like an imposter

Don’t worry if you feel like an imposter — it’s normal. Many people feel it, so you’re not alone.

Embrace it and spend time learning more about design and the digital world of work. Be patient and give yourself a time to get your head around it. There’s no rush.

7. Seek out criticism

As a designer, you need criticism. Constructive criticism of your design work is the best way to grow. Learn to seek out criticism and don’t take it to heart.

“You should treat your critiques as investigations or explorations and not conclusions.” - Mike Davidson (former VP of design at Twitter)

That’s it. Thanks!

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