What universities & bootcamps don't teach you about UX design
⭐️ Key takeaways
The UX process isn't linear. It's typical to jump back and forth between phases. But for some reason, bootcamps and universities teach UX like it IS linear. That's just plain wrong.
Think like a UX treasure hunter.
You start with one clue on your treasure map—aka the problem. This provides you with your bearings and what you need to do first. So you follow the first clue and take the best next step to find the second clue.
You’re always basing your next decision on the previous clue and the data you’ve gathered so far about the treasure hunt.
Eventually, after finding many clues and basing your decisions on your research, you’ll have found the treasure—aka built the product or feature.
There’s one thing that most UX bootcamps and universities don’t teach students and it’s honestly hurting their chances of landing a job as a UX designer… What is it? That’s what I’m going to talk about in this video:
So here’s the thing. The UX process ISN’T linear. But for some reason, some bootcamps and universities teach students to follow the process like a linear checklist. That’s just plain wrong.
The best way to describe UX design is as a critical thinking process where you take the best next step depending on the information you currently know and what questions you need to answer.
Here’s another way to describe it. As a UX designer, you’re basically a treasure hunter. You start with one clue on your treasure map (aka the problem). This provides you with your bearings and what you need to do first. So you follow the first clue and take the best next step to find the second clue.
You’re always basing your next decision on the previous clue and the data you’ve gathered so far about the treasure hunt. Eventually, after finding many clues and basing your decisions on your research, you’ll have found the treasure (aka built the product or feature).
With that metaphor in mind, in UX, you don’t do something just because. If you were searching for treasure, you wouldn’t just go dig a random hole in a random spot, right? Similarly, in UX, you do something because you need to know the answer before moving forward.
For example, you don’t conduct user interviews just because you think you ought to. You might do them because you have questions that can only be answered by users. Or maybe you need to validate your concept with them. Whatever the reason, you need to have a WHY behind doing something.
Again, you use your critical thinking powers to determine your best next step based on your current position, what you know, and what you need to learn.
As a UX designer, unless you’re working with a researcher, you are the decision maker behind what research is done for the project you’re working on. Which is why it’s so important that you don’t look at UX as a checklist or as a linear process. With most projects in the real-world, you jump back and forth between different phases of the UX process.
You always base your decisions off of the data you currently have and what you still need to answer.
If you can get your answers from other products in the market, great.
If you can get them from other existing research, fantastic.
If you have to validate them with users, that’s also great.
Unfortunately, many bootcamps and universities teach that this is the only way and if you don’t do it this way you’re doing it wrong. That’s absolutely false.
The point is, you don’t always have to be the one conducting user research to be following a human-centered process. What matters is that you base your decisions on data.
With that in mind, when you’re done with our free course, we want you to start thinking through what questions you need to answer and how you’ll go about getting those answers so you can solve your problem.
That’s where framing the problem comes in, and we’ll cover that in a few lessons. It’s one of the very few things we do on every project regardless of project size. It helps provide you with a true understanding of the problem and what questions you need to answer so you know you’re creating the right solution for the user. You then use that document as a north star throughout any given UX project. You continually check back in with the document to make sure you’re solving the right problem and that you’ve answered all of your questions.
In the future, when you’re using your new found UX skills, we want you to start thinking like a UX treasure hunter. Always be asking yourself, what’s the best next step to take based off of what I know now and what I still need to learn?Then do the thing that makes the most sense.