For new designers, entering the field comes along with a definite learning curve. Learning best practices, mastering software skills and constantly considering how to make the world a more user friendly place all put designers off to a great start, but one of the most important things for new designers is valuable advice and knowledge about the field from experienced designers. We spoke with Ben Holland-Arlen, Senior UX Designer at Salesforce about design processes, practices and protips for those of us designers who are just starting out.
What is the most important part of the design process to focus on?
The most important part is definitely the initial part, defining the project and making sure that the design is actually suiting the client’s needs…its the discovery/definition phase, defining what you’re really solving for. A lot of times I find you’re being briefed about what the problem is and the problem that really needs to be solved isn’t always what the actual end stage looks like. Often people don’t really know what they need, they’re just telling you what they think they need and that’s your job as the designer, to figure that out.
How do you think new designers can build up a rhythm of their own design process?
It’s important to right away get in the groove of working with your team and working together to figure out what the client needs and keep in mind who you’re designing for rather than that rockstar designer approach that I’ve come across that a lot of new designers seem to have. If you’ve ever had a chance to hang out with a rock star, they’re not really team players…The humble designers are the ones that are the best to work with.
What do you think is important for new designers to keep in mind as they’re designing?
Being able to play within the lines but also a little bit out, like how can you take something that exists and trick it out and see thing differently. Work within the constraints but not necessarily 100% safe.
What main piece of advice do you have for new designers just starting out?
Learning how to communicate with not only just your direct team but all your stakeholders, your bosses bosses, using simple language, there may be terms you learned in art school like color saturation or hue and you’re talking to someone who knows those words but doesn’t know what the means, you’re not making any traction.
So, as you enter the field of design, keep these pro-tips in mind: discover and define the needs of your clients, be a team player, not a rockstar, remember to reimagine and redesign rather than set out to create something out of this world, always be a great communicator and don’t forget that the most important part of the design process is planning it out first.
P.S. Need a great place to plan out your designs with your team? Check out Purple.pm. It’s card based, cloud based, shareable, collaborative and streamlines all that project planning that you need to do before, during and after your create those great designs.
Special thanks to:
Product and Experience Designer. Currently Senior UX Designer @salesforce and founder of the product and UX design studio futureOrbit. He is a lover of good design and experiences, art, tech, music and food nerd and a life long learner.