How can you design a solution if you don’t understand the problem?

To be a Designer means to humble yourself and accept criticism. It means to put your ego aside and advocate for something greater than yourself. It means to add value to the lives of people throughout the world by coming up with effective solutions to their problems.

The buzzword these days is “empathy” — i.e. being able to put yourself into the shoes of another person to avoid internal bias. Whatever term you choose to define it as, being able to detach yourself from your inner monologue and see someone else’s perspective is a crucial ability that a UX designer must imbibe.

Simply put:

How can you design a solution if you don’t understand the problem?

The Life of a UX Designer

In UX, research is king. Without research, you’d have nothing to reference when coming up with solutions. You’d essentially be fishing in the dark, not knowing if there are any fish at the spot you picked, hoping you catch the prize winner. To lack research, and still design, is a waste of time and resources.

In a perfect world, we’d have all the time and money needed to conduct our research, but that simply isn’t the case. UX Design is also about being adaptable and balancing business needs with those of your users. Businesses aren’t endless supplies of money and at some point you might hit a wall in your research. As problem solvers, it’s our job to now figure out the next move — how can we generate more money for research? how can we conduct research without money? Do we have enough research to move forwards?Etc.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a growth and being open to learning. It’s about trying something, possibly failing and then iterating your approach until you come away successful. It’s about perpetually increasing your knowledge throughout life and growing both intellectually and emotionally. It’s about confronting your inner demons and overcoming them to be clear headed and ready to tackle others problems. And if you feel like you lack this mindset, self-awareness is a great place to start.

Storytelling is Key

Perhaps one of the most underrated skills a UX Designer needs to have is their ability to communicate a story about their design solutions. You have to remember, your UX colleagues might know what you’re talking about, but stakeholders, engineers, etc. might not necessarily have any idea what the words you’re using means. That’s why it’s undeniably essential that a UX Designer be able to tell a story effectively that validates why that particular design solution is the best option to drive change and solve the problem.

Think of yourself as a narrator of the world. You must remain neutral and observe those around you in order to continue learning and cultivating a story that you can tell to others.

This is not the End

There is too much to say about a UX mindset in such a short medium post, but just remember to be empathetic, growing and most of all listen to your users.

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