I learned design by experimenting, reading and listening to people. Entering the world of management lead me to ask myself how I would evaluate my peers, my team.
I came up with a list of 9 attributes that I find essential to the quality of any designer. The first 6 are pure design related, the 3 others are qualities that I value in any other contributor.
The ability to learn from users, customers, and internal people, using different methods like contextual inquiry, usability testing, stakeholder interviews, web analytics, survey, etc... The complementary use of qualitative and quantitative research is an important set of skills to have in order to solve the right problem.
To be able to understand a feature, a workflow, somebody you're designing for, and to visually present it in a story. Designers should be able to map a journey in order to define a high-level context before digging into any specific solution.
3. INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE (IA)
The elements of user experience needs to be organized in a way that makes sense for the people who will use your product. The best IA is designed with a deep knowledge of your users, and their context, so the two first attributes listed above are key.
Being able to articulate objects in space and time. Although it makes sense to start with a static design like a sketch or wireframe, in 2018 the web technologies provide us easy ways to animate the elements of user experience. This is about making animation a part of your design process, and make it a foundational element of your design language as much as color, typography or layout.
5. VISUAL DESIGN
The visual components of a design created in a way that will make them aesthetically pleasing, meaningful and easier to recognize. In a world of where usability leads design, aesthetics tends to be left apart, and this sacrifice implies poor design quality.
Making an idea a reality so we can see how it works. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you can't demonstrate how it will really work, you may not be able to sell it, and validate it.
Seek for help, and help others whenever you can. There is no world where you can create the best experience without a team. Designers are usually empathetic to the their users, and need to have as much empathy for their colleagues.
The ability to lead discussions, propose ideas, and demonstrate value when no one else does. In a world where your mantra is it's better to ask for forgiveness than for permission, anything is possible.
What are you great at that others can learn from you? I always thought that teaching was one of the best way to learn.
I'm interested where designers are in their career journey, what they want to learn and focus on, and how they can help their organization in the most successful way. Based on these two goals we can define a strategy to get them where they need to be.