A version of this blog post can also be found on Medium.
When starting out as a new UX designer, it’s important to think about various actionable mindsets that will provide the foundation for better design. Otherwise known as “design thinking” or “design mindsets”, developing user experiences puts the user in the driver’s seat and allows UX teams to think about how to make user experience accessible, inclusive, and innovative.
If you search across the web, you’ll find various opinions are these modes of thinking but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll highlight a few areas within design mindsets: solving real-world problems, making design accessible to everyone, and collective innovation.
Solving real-world problems
User experience designers set out to discover and implement ways to improve existing issues. As my instructor explained, we are “like detectives working to unlock solutions”. True to the role of detectives and researchers, we observe challenges that people face work to alleviate those issues through well-designed products, both physical to digital. Research provides the basis for understanding people (the user) and allows UX professionals to make better product design decisions.
Making design for everyone
Accessibility and inclusivity are hot topics within the field of UX and in other fields as well. Technology has provided platforms for people on the margins of society to voice their concerns over being left out of design decisions. Although some people may enjoy using these latest buzzwords, accessibility and inclusivity are important in designing products that are useful and enjoyable to all people. The most important benefit of designing for accessibility is that, by designing for a group of people that have historically been left out of design decisions, you are then able to make product designs for everyone. I attended a talk at this year’s Google I/O where one of the presenters displayed the images of three people on the screen: a man in a wheelchair, a boy with a cast on his arm, and a woman holding a bag of groceries. Their limitations were at different stages – permanent, temporary, and situational — but they all had the common goal of needing a product that helps them achieve the same goal.
In keeping with the theme of inclusivity, UX design is a collaborative process. The success of your product is highly dependent on the cohesiveness and input of all members on a team. When solving a problem, it’s important to think creatively about many different solutions. Furthermore, collaboration and inclusion alleviate blind spots within UX design since there are many different perspectives about how a user can achieve their goals.
In summary, UX design processes, when ideated by the many and designed by the many, work for the many.