Believe it or not, especially at the very beginning of your career you may become more and more frustrated trying to read everything that comes in your hands. When you realize that the amount of available material is simply out of reach it may sometimes result in FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out) which causes lots of stress; as you feel you will never possess the whole knowledge.
News, insights, inspiration
Just to help you focus and limit your choice of people or institutions worth following and some of the good websites to visit as well as UX tools/extensions to use, I have created a very subjective bunch of resources that we, UX Designers in Merixstudio, use on an everyday basis. So let's start with the people/institutions who give us decent and valuable insights about UX:
- Nielsen Norman Group - a solid portion of case studies proving many concepts, like e.g. eye-tracking evidence for text scanning patterns or for which activities large devices are preferred, and many other. Once a week, on Monday, if subscribed for a newsletter, you get an email loaded with interesting stuff signed by the most appreciated people in the UX world: Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen.
- Baymard Institute - the UX research is really their thing, what they produce is always based on hundreds of conducted surveys, IDIs, eye-tracking activities. It is pure knowledge, no more guessing. Last weeks’ article was a piece of evidence of how people behave when they see “install app” suggestions while scrolling through e-commerce websites; a couple of weeks ago we could learn how important it is to respond to negative reviews. All the information helps us understand user’s behaviors better and adapt some of the solutions to our work with customers on their products.
- Sarah Doodle newsletter - she is a UX designer who teaches how to become one, but what is most important she gives lots of genuine thoughts around the design. Describing her experiences, she asks questions like: “Did you truly validate a problem? Or, did you jump to the solution? And if you did jump to the solution, what can you do now to hit pause and do some validation?”. Good to stop sometimes and see the big picture with Sarah. What is more, she is recommending articles worth reading which shorten your path to get into the core of what really matters in the UX.
- Session Lab - extremely useful website visited before every product design workshop we conduct in Merixstudio. If you look for a source of inspiration to prepare valuable tasks and exercises for a group that is the place you need. Starting from energizers and ice breakers through idea generation up to business canvases - you will definitely find inspiration for any kind of action you require.
- ProductHunt - you can check what is new on the market every day. As a source of inspiration ProductHunt brings us closer to newborn digital solutions which can be used as benchmarks to what you currently work on. You will be overwhelmed with a variety of applications existing on the market, it is hard not to think that everything has already been invented and yet new, better ones come.
- To keep up with the newest articles from the designers' world we recommend Web Designer News. You can read stories of illustrators, designers, read about ways to stop procrastinate and organize effective meetings; get hints about plugins to applications you use for UX/UI. It is basically nothing more than just a serious news aggregator dedicated to people involved in a product design process.
- Are you interested in case studies based on audits? You need to check Growth.Design. In a funny way, the authors, validate applications and solutions available on the market; their aim is to show the experience while using them and pointing out both - good and worse elements. They evaluated features of Duolingo, Amazon, Spotify, Hopper - so these are well-known apps we are using on a daily basis. In many cases, there is an indication of what should be done better or which of the heuristic has been used - so really good for beginners as well.
- If you are interested in getting some skills in UI design, you can use LearnUX. Hints on how to use Figma, Sketch or Adobe XD in a more efficient way will be very useful even when you have been practicing those tools for months or simply you want to switch. What's more, you get some courses on usability and user testing together with a guide on how to build your career in UX. A yearly subscription costs 96$ and you get access to all the courses with their updates (e.g. recently Figma has released a bunch of plugins and their description and usage have been added into the Figma course).
Tools and extensions
In everyday work, among tools for design (Adobe XD, Axure, Sketch, Lucidchart) we use a lot of helpful extensions to chrome - below you will find few the most important ones:
- Toby - my absolute number one to help me organize the materials I use for work. As the authors claim: “This was designed purposely to help surface relevant information to you throughout the day. Organize your browser tabs into Toby so you can access key resources in one click instead of seven”. It really works.
- Full Page Screen Capture - not only does what the name says but it also makes it in a funny Pacman way. Sometimes it is needed to make not only a screenshot of a part of the website but the whole page; FPSC allows you to make PDF as well as resize the capture.
- FontFace Ninja - a must-have for every designer who is in love with typography. Just click an see what font has been used on this particular website; what’s more - it shows prices and you can redirect yourself and purchase one you like.
- Muzli - one of the greatest sources of inspiration prepared by InVision people; gathering articles and projects from e.g. Wired, Mashable, Ted, Dribble, Behance and many more. Good to have a coffee with on Monday morning.
There are probably hundreds of tools/extensions/websites that could be mentioned here. I hope you will find the above list useful for your job and if you have others that you draw inspiration from please share them with us in the comment section.