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People vastly underestimate the value of soft skills.
Are you standing out from the crowd? Not knowing these could be holding you and your career back.
Welcome to Learn Primitives!
Here's what you'll learn:
5 fundamental design skills you should cease worrying about
5 essential abilities you need to develop to advance your career
How failing to advance past design 101 skills can endanger your job
And much more…
Let’s dive in…
The state of the design industry right now is at an all-time high. On one hand, it's great to see so many companies value design and are opening up new opportunities for us, but on the other, many of them are still unsure of what design and UX actually entail.
There are many ways in which businesses lack a complete understanding of design, user experience, and the effects it may have on your:
get jobs where you don't do much user experience
become the mouse's simple moving hand
don't get to learn new design techniques
become monotonous and trapped in your job
Don’t be left behind….
Soft skills can help you differentiate yourself as a professional, advance your career, and have an effect on your team and organization.
Knowing the necessary tools of the craft is insufficient for a design professional and, you can only go so far with a diploma, boot camp, or portfolio.
Stop treating hard abilities as an afterthought.
Abilities you should be familiar with, but not obsess over
The reality of design roles is that depending on the project, the procedures always vary. You shouldn't anticipate being able to enter a project and follow the IDEO human-centered design method step by step all the time.
Software: Software comes and goes. Instead of learning every shortcut and function of your software, develop design thinking skills.
Processes & methods: Processes and techniques are important but think of adding tools to your backpack instead of one process to rule them all.
Focus on the steps. Don’t get distracted by semantics.
Terminology: Do we really need to debate whether or not we call people “customers” or “users” or something else?
Making deliverables: Fact, you need to deliver sh$t. Designers who stick out are those who are able to not only produce the deliverable but also discuss it and defend their design choices or workflow.
Chasing trends: Patterns shift. Trends eventually fade from memory and are replaced by fresh ones. Don’t overdo the “trendy” stuff.
Stand out as a designer with these 5 soft skills
Basic design knowledge can only get you so far. Passion and dedication will help you push above and beyond the fundamentals and help you get ahead.
We often call these "soft talents," but they are anything but. These abilities enable you to:
exert more power
be perceived as a more responsible and mature designer
make an impression on hiring managers and recruiters
place yourself in a leadership role
boost your self-assurance
put an end to imposter syndrome.
Even if your job or new role takes you away from the craft of design, these enduring skills will still be useful to you now and in the future as software, trends, and methods change.
1. Presenting your work.
You need to become an expert at explaining your style choices. Simply clicking the mouse and producing products is insufficient. You must be able to justify your actions with assurance. In the actual world, you will be engaging in that.
The art of presentation or, storytelling is what can make a big difference in your career.
Situation: What is the problem?
Problem: Why is this a problem?
Question: The client’s main question
Answer: Your recommendation
2. Justifying your design decisions
Clients and stakeholders will fight back and attempt to design in your absence. You can help them comprehend the "why" behind the "what" you did by learning how to show your work. Don’t mention that you used blue because you like blue… that will go nowhere. Instead, explain why you used blue and how it achieved the ask.
You'll leave the door open for others to swoop in and alter, re-design, or steamroll what you produce if you can't defend your work.
3. Understanding business
The quality of your software use is unrelated to your capacity to develop a great solution. Understanding an issue thoroughly is the first step in developing a great solution. If discussing business intimidates you, you must rapidly become at ease with it.
Do you understand the distinction between income and profit? Can you understand numerical data?
Be the person with business skills who focuses on not just the interface, but the implications of what you are making. Outputs = Outcomes
4. Collaboration and facilitation
In the real world, implementing user experiences involves more than just doing the job. It also involves spreading the word about your accomplishment and building empathy for users and colleagues.
To gather ideas and information from people across teams and organizations and equip yourself with what you need to build a better solution, it will be essential for you as a UX expert to be able to support collaboration. You will need to truly understand your users, end-users, and stakeholders to create stronger relationships and build great products.
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Listening is a superpower that should be utilized.
5. Visual design principles
Being a designer and comprehending visual design concepts are two different things. I'm not advocating that you rush out and master Photoshop or Illustrator.
I'm referring to the fundamentals here, such as alignment, order, contrast, repetition, and whitespace. You'll be able to produce documentation and deliverables that more clearly convey your ideas once you have a firm grasp of visual design principles.
A Google Spreadsheet with some quantitative data analysis, for instance, or a Keynote presentation of your research results, if you're a user researcher, might be the output of your work.
To create a lasting design career and stand out, you must go below surface-level skills
You're probably only scratching the top of what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for right now. Nowadays, there are many ways to learn design and UX, so it's easy for people to claim they can use the software, understand a technique, and walk the walk.
However, those who excel are those who show the depth of their soft skills that lie beneath the exterior.
By going deeper, you can show that you have the ability to go beyond the deliverables and describe the "why."
Explain your choices with the help of solid design case studies
Present your work visually in a clear and succinct way
Business knowledge and how it relates to your ideas
Work together and communicate with clients, coworkers, and stakeholders with confidence
Challenge yourself and have fun. Enjoy the ride and journey.
Hey, Mitchell & Pascal here! Thanks for checking out this week’s free edition of the Shaping Design newsletter. We strive to send you the best tips and our very own unique perspective each week. Subscribe to get each article!
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