Design is an endless pursuit of knowledge, and it's hard to know where to start. One of the best ways to improve my skills is by doing 100 UI screens in 100 days. This design challenge has given me more than just a hundred new designs - it's helped me learn about design history, different UI patterns, and how to work with the brief in a short amount of time.
I was able to work with UI patterns from the past years, and it's been fascinating to see how design has evolved. In terms of learning about UX trends, I learned a lot more than if I had just done this by myself - having someone else provide feedback on your designs is incredibly valuable.
As a result of this, I now have transferable skills that can be used in future projects. I was able to generate user flows easy-to-implement solutions to help my prospective customers be more successful, which has helped me think about design differently. It's vital to care about the quality of your work and consider how useful it is for people.
When I started the UI 100 challenge, I was just hoping to get better at design. But now that it's finished, my skills have improved, and more importantly - so has my mindset about design.
It's natural to get caught up in figuring out how to make something "perfect." It's easy to get sidetracked by ideas on how things could be improved. There is always more room for improvement, which can lead to design paralysis, where you avoid releasing anything because of your high expectations.
As we all know, perfect doesn't exist; It was hard not to think about what else I could change or improve once something has been finished and sent out the door (until further development happens). But at some point, I had to accept that nothing is ever really "done." No matter how much time you spend polishing your work - there will still be people who won't like aspects of it.
In the end, I had to focus on what mattered most. And once I did - it was a lot easier for me to work faster and get more things done with less stress. It may have been hard at first, but it gets much easier over time if you keep practicing that mindset.
I believe that there is always something new to learn in design; This project has given me many ideas about future projects because this challenge has made me realize how vast design can be.
Some UI best practices tend to work more than others. This doesn't mean that they will always be the most effective design solution - but it's still worth exploring and practicing them in your designs. For example, visual hierarchy can help you show what is important on a page and draw attention to some aspects.
This project has also made me appreciate how valuable research-backed data can influence design decisions such as color or layout choices. I think there should be more of an emphasis on both quantitative and qualitative research, so designers have multiple sources for inspiration when creating new projects/products/content. There need to be ongoing studies into UX because the effects of technological advances cannot yet be fully predicted (for example, augmented reality).
I learned that it is essential to start with a strong foundation and build upon it. It's easy to underestimate the time needed for this part of the design, but I think there needs to be more emphasis on user research so teams can establish what problems they need to solve to give their users the best experience possible.
If you want people to have a positive experience, it's essential to keep users in mind. It is so easy to get caught up with your own work - but you need to realize that people are the most crucial part of the design, and they decide whether or not something will be successful.
It was also exciting to learn about UI best practices because I've never had the opportunity to study design outside of my own bubble. This project made me realize that there is so much more than just color, shapes, and typography - it was a great reminder that designs need to be user-centered for them to have any value at all.
My main takeaway from this challenge has been how important your mindset is when it comes to design. If you want to be successful, designers must think about the user first and spend time planning out how they can make their experience better; I've found that thinking like this has helped me improve my designs faster than usual because I'm able to predict what people will need before they do - which is an advantage that I'm grateful to have.
Designing for everyone
I've also realized that it's essential to design with users in mind. While putting your own personal touch on a project might be the best way to express yourself as a designer, you have to consider whether what you're creating will make sense and work for other people like it does for you (if not, then why bother?). And if this means sacrificing some of your ideas - so be it; It's better than having something released that no one uses or enjoys because they can't figure out how to use it. This is especially true when designing products aimed at children where UI needs are different from adult audiences (such as larger buttons).
It has made me think about UX more critically; I'm starting to interrogate design decisions that I make and asking myself - "Is this the best way to do it?"
Jumping into solutions too quickly
There were a few times where I jumped into design solutions too quickly. Although it might have been easier to just come up with something and start working on it, being able to understand the problem first is going to be better for everyone in the long run because you'll save time while also creating good work that actually solves the issue at hand (instead of making things worse).
This challenge has made me want to learn more about how other people approach problems; There are so many different ways someone can solve an issue - which means there's no one correct way. And even though we're all trying our best, this doesn't mean that we should ignore learning from each other or taking advantage of what others know. The world would be a better place if we all tried to learn from each other more often.
I've realized that you should try and be open-minded about design; Something might not make sense at first, but it doesn't mean it's a bad idea, so don't dismiss things too quickly before understanding them completely - because there may still be something valuable in what people are trying to say even though they might not know how to put themselves across properly.
It has made me think about design decisions differently; I'm starting to ask myself, "What is the best way for this idea/product?" instead of just jumping into solutions without thinking twice. It has also reminded me that good work can come from anywhere if you're putting enough time and effort into it.
Recognize that it's a tough fight every time
Sometimes people will not want to listen to you or your ideas. Occasionally there may be a lot of pushback for even the most fundamental changes - but that doesn't mean it's time to give up because if you keep trying, then eventually things might change (for example, Apple originally had trouble changing how headphone jacks worked on their iPhones).
It has made me remember that good work can come from anywhere; Even though I might have more experience in design than some other people, this does not make them any less valuable when they can provide insight into problems/solutions which would otherwise go completely unnoticed by others. It is always worthwhile collaborating with different people and learning about the world from someone else's perspective. We all see things differently, and that can be a beautiful thing.
I've realized how important it is to build trust with your audience; If you don't have their faith, then they won't listen to what you're saying - no matter how good your ideas are because people will always go for the easy way out (even if it means sticking with something that doesn't really work or isn't any better than before).
It has made me think about collaboration more deeply; I'm starting to realize why communication is so powerful, especially when two people come together to make things happen (which might not otherwise occur on their own). It's also interesting seeing different kinds of design problem solving, which helps us understand each other better even though we may all see things differently.
It's shown me that brilliant results can come from anywhere; Even though I might have more experience in design than some other people, this does not make them any less valuable when they can provide insight into problems/solutions that would otherwise go completely unnoticed by others. It is always worthwhile collaborating with different people and learning about the world from someone else's perspective. We all see things differently, and that can be a beautiful thing.
Designing for yourself vs. creating for real-world users
Didn't think much beyond what was needed during the challenge; During my time working on UI screens every day, I started feeling very pragmatically - only focusing on getting something done or making sure it aligns with the brief and other requirements.
It has made me think about how important it is to focus on the audience; Many people neglect this aspect of design which can often lead to a lack of buy-in because you're not even considering what your target users want (which may be completely different from what you would like). If something doesn't make sense for them, then it's probably time to change things up so that they do - or else there won't be any reason why someone should actually use whatever we come up with in the first place.
Ask for help and offer feedback
The feedback I have received from people has been constructive, and it helped me understand why some changes were being made even though they may not have seemed to make a lot of sense at first. It's also essential for us as designers to provide constructive criticism so that other people can learn how best to do things, which leads into another lesson I've learned from doing UI screens every day:
It has taught me the importance of teaching others what you know; this should always happen to help them grow - mainly because design skills tend to get lost over time if we don't practice or share our knowledge with one another.
You'll never run out of ideas/opportunities for your work
Even after 100+ screens, I'm still learning new things and inspiring other designers/developers who practice their own craft. Work doesn't have to be boring or tedious although it may seem that way at first because you're just doing the same thing over and over again - even then there is always something new to learn every day which could help us improve our work in some way, shape, or form.
It has made me realize how important it is for me to stay curious; If we stop asking questions (or never start), then the design will become stagnant - only held back by people's ego rather than allowing them to push themselves further as well as what they can do with others around them if they were willing to share knowledge for a specific purpose.
It's essential to keep pushing ourselves and others around us as well; If we just sit back and do the same thing over again, then nothing will ever change - which is why it's so crucial that we continue learning about design, user experiences, or even tools/techniques that could potentially help us with what we're working on right now.
I've learned a lot from doing 100+ UI screens! It has taught me to be more open-minded towards other people and their ideas (even if they don't always align with my own). I also think about collaboration in different ways now because many perspectives may not make sense until you work together for one common goal. The most valuable lesson I've learned from this is that we can always learn something new about ourselves if we're willing to open up, which will ultimately lead to learning more about what design means for everyone involved in the process.
A design narrative is a story you want your product or service to tell. It's the "why" behind your design.
It can be tempting to play it safe when trying to come up with new product ideas or features.