Since UX Design is a relatively new field, some misconceptions are common among those approaching the industry. We’ve dissected 4 common myths that we hear a lot.
Myth #1: You have to be an amazing visual artist
When you think ‘designer’ you may jump to ‘graphic designer’, which brings to mind agonizing over stray pixels. Yes, UX design is absolutely a creative process, but it’s not an art practice.
At the centre of user experience work is the concept of ‘design thinking’. Through design thinking, UX practitioners strive to empathize with users and communicate clearly how to accomplish a goal. Again, this doesn’t call for someone to have particularly strong drawing skills. Instead, UX design commands a talent for creatively identifying pain points and solutions.
Are you a critical thinker? Clear communicator? These qualities help you as much as, or more than, artistic skill in this industry.
Myth #2: You’ll spend most of your time tinkering in Photoshop
Design for the digital screen has reached a point of maturity and standardization – this leaves space for designers to focus on making clear paths to information, rather than visual appeal. Tools like Sketch have been created in the current era of design thinking, for design thinking: you can produce an idea fairly quickly, with functions that are direct and simplified.
There isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel, so lighter software like Sketch is helpful. It’s a go-to tool for creating things like mockups, over juggernauts like Photoshop and Illustrator. These tools aren’t passé – they’re just not central to a project structured by existing style conventions. Choosing the right tool for the job produces clearer results, faster.
A ‘Jack of All Trades’ mentality is the contemporary norm. The industry expects designers to know a bit of everything, in addition to their strong suits. Depending on the project, you may focus on architecture or research and never touch the visuals. Whatever hand you have in it, all facets of UX design converge at applying the best user pattern to fit your solution.
Myth #3: The best designers follow their own taste in their work
The aim of a UX designer is to solve problems, not simply express themselves artistically. Starting a design with certain assumptions is an important step, but the project and its process requires user research to back it up. A singular vision is not going to achieve your client’s end goal if you are not actively integrating user feedback. You’re an intermediary between business and users, so your job is to determine the best tools to meet the needs of those people.
Starting a design project right means setting measurable objectives (Key Performance Indicators). Decisions can then be evaluated by finding the most effective ways to quantify and analyze data. This prevents choices from being made in a vacuum, without evidence.
Myth #4: Design comes from 1 person
UX design is a space for collaboration! It’s very common that UX work is done in teams, through which organizations can get a greater variety of skill strengths. Whether you’re working with a client, manager, developer, or colleague, effective communication is the key to design. As discussed earlier, UX isn’t about finding a silver-bullet. It’s about iteration, feedback, and collaboration.
While it’s possible that you may be the only UX designer, there’s almost always a line between the UX process and design implementation, which could take the form of writing an app or coding a website. Even solo freelancers must communicate their insights and vision to those who make the final product.
When you talk to designers, you’re likely to hear the mantra that “design is never finished.” This means that design can always be improved. Trying to “go it alone” will only limit your quality!
Want to get into the exciting field of UX design? Learn to apply fundamental design principles on-screen and execute a design pitch good enough to convince any stakeholder in our full-time and part-time UX course offerings.