15 Lessons From 15 Years In UX

Aug 2014 44 minutes

After a decade and a half as a user experience professional, Jesse James Garrett has had more than his fair share of scrapes and bruises. In this presentation, Jesse reflects on what he’s learned about what it really takes to deliver great UX work, from working with teams and managing stakeholders to breaking a creative rut and finding innovative solutions to design problems.

His 15 tips are:

  1. Go Broad. Solutions in one area applies elsewhere too.
  2. Go Deep. Immerser yourself into client’s problems and into their context. Fill the wall with artefacts related to the problem space.
  3. Go for a walk. Change things up for you – in a sensory way. Change in environment means change in insight.
  4. Go farther than you think you should. Eliminate artificial boundaries. Our job is to live in that uncertainty – to be scared by our ideas.
  5. Put away your notes. Feel your way to a design decision.
  6. Learn to spot your assumptions. Assumptions are invisible; check yourself, be intentional, be careful and be vigilant.
  7. Stay curious. Going through the process, letting it take its turn is crucially valuable. Don’t box yourself into a “role”.
  8. Clients are people. Be as curious of your clients as do your users. Clients are people: understand them. What is important to them? Bring them into your process and work to solve together.
  9. Hang with different crowds.
  10. Cultivate allies. Find champions within clients who get it and can help promote and support you.
  11. Pick your battles. Not everything has to matter. Does the big idea still stand? Foundations can change – if they do, check if everything is still together.
  12. Good work does not sell itself. You must learn to sell your work. Demonstrate the value of the solution. Persuasion help people make the right decision.
  13. Changing design is easy. Changing minds is hard. Changing minds is vital. We need to empower them with the mindset and framing of the problem on an ongoing basis.
  14. Pay attention to your failures. There’s a lot to learn from failure, but the habit of observing and learning from your mistakes is crucial. It doesn’t matter how big or small the failure is.
  15. Everything is always changing. Change is constant. It never stops. Slow change is hardest for us to see. We must accept & acknowledge that nothing’s permanent. Ride the wave.

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