Becoming An Expert
Congrats! From the previous two segments of this series (Part I, Part II), you have mastered what UX is about and how to put your knowledge in action. However, the web is a dynamic force, and therefore, the user experience is in constant evolution. To become and keep up an expert status, you have to be continually learning. Here are some resources for keeping up to date with the latest in UX.
Learning UX from the Pros
Having an open mind and listening to other UX experts share their knowledge about their own niches is essential to staying on top of all available resources and best practices.
Blogs are excellent resources for gaining free, intelligent and proven advice. Have a look at some of my personal favorite articles from:
- Web Designer Depot
- Smashing Magazine
- UX Booth
- UX Mag
- 52 Weeks of UX
- Top 100 according to Mashable
- Top 100 according to Design Shack
Although this may involve some travel (and perhaps some pocket money), this is a great way to meet and hear from other usability experts, live. For some of you, this may even be an event to which your place of work may be interested in sending you, or even going with you. You may want to ask your place of work if they will sponsor you as this could expand your skill set and knowledge base, therefore making you more valuable for your company. Have a look here for a list of conferences near you.
Anyone involved in the planning and design of websites needs to be aware of what others are doing. When browsing online, pay attention to:
- Other sites. How they are designed? What were good ideas? Bad ideas? What about the execution?
- Your own browsing habits. Ask yourself if you actually read while scrolling through the page. Did a certain graphic or effect make you want to click? Did you experience usability issues?
- Become aware of the different analytics available and how to use them. Don't get too tied up in numbers or aesthetics!
Think Like a Salesman
The last piece of advice I'll leave you with, is to always think like a salesman and/or marketer. Your site is one big sales pitch, so you need to be able to get into the visitor's head, understand his or her expectations, needs, and wants. Once you understand this, you'll be able to design a site that not only caters to your visitors' needs, but also points them in the direction you need them to go.