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Tips for Young Product Designers to Improve Design Judgement

Tips for Young Product Designers to Improve Design Judgement Skills

Cover photo
Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

Last week, I was invited by a colleague from the Learning and Development Team in my organization, asking for advice to Junior Designers on how to improve the design judgement skills.

I thought about it while reflecting my journey as a product designer and discussed with some friends and coined my answers as into three perspectives: The knowledge base, the practices and the mindset.

Though may not be backed up with ample industrial experiences other than my own; I hope these thoughts could still be worthy to all junior designers or designers-to-be, and a gentle reminder to someone not so junior like me.

Illustration by Open Doodles

Books of Interface Design

These are my timeless recommendations for interface designers. They will lay a solid foundation for our design work.

  • About Face 4 by Allen Cooper
  • Web Design Form by Luke Wroblewski
  • Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell
  • Information Architecture by Peter Morville / Louis Rosenfeld

Books of Design Principles

The principles are like the armour: They equip our creativity with sense.

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
  • Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design by Giles Colborne
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
  • Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell / Kristina Holden
  • Living with Complexity by Donald Norman

Books for Understanding the Bigger Picture

Learn how to fit our duty within an organization and with a product’s lifecycle. Know what your teammates are talking.

  • The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett
  • Getting Real & Rework by Basecamp
  • Validating Product Ideas by Tomer Sharon
  • Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder / Yves Pigneur

More Readings / Podcasts

Catch up with the trend. Your eyes will lead you.

  • Visit Material Design official site(https://material.io/design)
  • Product design case studies backed up with context (i.e., from famous design agencies, online publications, podcasts, blogs)
  • Catch up with the trend with design portfolios and news (you know the names). Let your interest guide you.
Illustration by Open Doodles
  • Don’t be ashamed of not making the best prototype. Be ashamed of not asking enough whys
  • Make your design process a product that will iterate
  • Do periodical review and reflections on your learning, share it with the public
  • Publish your product design case studies
  • Critique (seriously) any interfaces you see
Illustration by Open Doodles

Be Swift

  • Always adopt yourself into more than one perspectives than yourself. Be the designer, the user, the product owner, the developer, the competitor.
  • Knowing that you are not creating a result but also a process. Your work should stimulate open discussions not closed conclusions
  • Your design is not you. Don’t get bitter when it’s turned down

Be Transparent

  • Ask for clarification if you can’t reach it on your own
  • Ask for help whenever you find you cannot move on your own
  • Share your work in progress with the stakeholders
  • Share your gains and pains to the public

Trust in your team

  • Trust in your team. You are only a team when you are aiming the same goal
  • Knowing there’s no perfect design. Try whatever you have, sell it professionally and with passion, and leave the rest to the team

Last words to the organizations

I believe a junior professional’s growth significantly relies on the organization he/she spends the most time with.

I’ve been working in the same organization but witnessed its evolving from a 50-people startup to an over ten-thousand employee’s multinational internet corporation. I have a deep sense of engagement with the team in the early times but can feel the growing silos as the structure’s getting complicated.

There are more bright sides in the growth: our product is gaining more impact over larger audiences; we are working with talents and professionals from a broader range as well. I have to suggestions to the organizations as well, to help young designers grow.

  • Encouraging teams to mingle more with each other will cut down communication cost caused by organizational silos
  • Organizations could also create more channels, official and unofficial ones, to help individuals to show their talents, share their pains and gains, and help each other grow
Illustration by Open Doodles

Thanks for reading. Please don’t be shy giving your praise or claps if you agree on my opinions, or leave your comments on anything you found helpful / not helpful.

Tips for Young Product Designers to Improve Design Judgement was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.