Taking a Fresh Approach to User Experience Design

In this video I discuss the concept that it can be limiting if we are always relying on the same techniques and design practices in our approach to our design work, usability testing and other projects relates tasks. Yes it is good to rely on proven practices but we should approach each project with a clean slate, and open mind, and by nature the best solutions will surface whether they are the reliable practices we have always used, or a new approach that is unique to the project we are working on.

Make sure to check out Mental Notes by Stephen Anderson

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Oh and please please forgive the graininess of the vid… I didn’t quite have the lighting I was hoping for.

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15. September 2010 by Aaron Irizarry
Categories: Design/Development, User Experience, Video | Tags: , , , , | 11 comments

Comments (11)

  1. You make a good point and I have to agree.

    I think relying on proven practices is based on habit and comfort levels. Why do something new when you know a way that has worked before. We are all creatures of habit; it’s a hard duck to break.

    To me it all relates back to the adage of picking the right tool for the job. Don’t use a hammer when you need a mallet. The end result is a dented product.

  2. Good vid Aaron. I think it’s really easy for designers to find a couple techniques and methods and just pigeonhole themselves. I know I get that way. I want to push myself to design differently.

    When you mentioned using new tools, I immediately thought “Maybe I’ll design my next site in Fireworks”. Could be just the thing to mix up the design process enough to push me out of my comfort zone…

  3. Thanks for sharing the link to mental notes, I’ve never heard of them before.

    I think that it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but I agree that it can be quite hard. Sometimes it’s deadlines, sometimes it’s just because you can’t think if anything else, but each time it really is the easy way out.

    We should be trying harder to spice it up with each project. Focusing on what is best for the project and client, instead of reverting back to what we know we can do. I’ve always loved that fact that Stefan Sagmeister will take a year sabbatical when his work starts to copy itself. It allows him to recharge his creativity and try out things he would never dream of doing otherwise…. sadly I don’t know I can afford that luxury just yet.

    Excellent post Aaron.

  4. Great post! I think the issue is not just thinking out of the box but choosing when to do so based on circumstances such as compensation, client appreciation (which can go miles as far as I’m concerned), timeframe of project, etc.

    Another consideration is the comfort level of the client. Some clients are very “old-school.” Case and point: I currently have a client that has never had a website even though they have been in business for over 100 years and change is very difficult for these people. Jumping out of the box is very scary to these people and they hired me because I have systems and processes.

    The key, I think, is to have a lot of different types of clients so you can be profitable by implementing great solutions using your existing toolkit but to also have some other types of clients around to keep you engaged and challenged.

    Another case and point: I have a client that is a quasi-municipal non-profit and they are so amenable and engaged with ideas and the creative process that I always surpass the boundaries of the initial contract just because I want to. I usually get so caught up in the creative process that I create so much more that is so much more meaningful.

    The client perspective and engagement with the creative process really does make a difference!

    • @Susan,
      Good insight, there is a time and place for each approach, and situations/clients may require certain specifics, and other times you may have more freedom.

      My goal is to try to keep myself in a position where I dont rely on one solution or process, but that I keep an open approach, and if I end up at that same solution because it is right for the project then that is ok.

      Thanks again for watching the video, and taking time to comment you shared some great insights.

  5. One thing that comes to mind first is the use of templates in our industry. I quite honestly hate the fact that they are being exploited so much and pushed so hard to be used by “designers” today. I recently saw a post on a design website that told people to use templates as a way to save time and money. If you really think about it, it’s the reason we have so many websites that look and act the same.

    Of course there are trends and they will come and go and there are best practices that make sense for the average user, but you’re totally right in saying that we need to challenge ourselves as designers. If we’re not driving the industry forward, no one else will, that’s for sure.

    Thanks for the video and I love hearing your thoughts on ux and design. You really have a gift for this stuff, keep up the great inspiration!

  6. Awesome topic, one thing i try to do is try something new with each project that I take on, whether it be a web project or just a simple art piece. It help keeps the mind going.

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