Sep 2, 2022
Some of you designers asked about how you could improve the skills in Interaction and Visual Design. A tweet response didn't feel like it would justify and so I thought I'll put it together as a post, which I can further build on and share.
There are many wonderful folks out there sharing their perspectives and I hope this adds. In my experience, I have seen a few aspects to be greatly determining the skills and competence of a person in any subject, regardless of how long the person has been in the field. Coincidentally, I used to put these as 6Es whenever I share this to my peers.
Let's look into these in detail, followed by some references for Visual Design, Interaction & Interface Design.
To explore the breadth and depth of any field at ease, we need to go step by step. To start with, a healthy dose of exposure to inspiring stories, people, their experiences, books, articles will help quench our thirst of unknown. The stronger your hunger, the better exposure works. Choose what to expose yourself based on your context. Exposure kindles many things.
Kindled by exposure, enthusiasm towards a subject or field keeps the fire in you ON. Bored? Change what you expose yourself to. Meet new people or read more case studies, listen to talks, talk to people about the subject. Anything that inspires you. Passionate? Identify what aspects inspire you and keep them going. Find cross connections to other fields and deeper aspects of subject.
It is most important of all, when enthused about a subject, to understand the essence and fundamental principles that govern the subject. There are some timeless text books and talks that establish these. Look for masters in the industry. Jargons kill essence, so look in the opposite direction of it. Solidify your understanding of essence, with practice.
For many, this is dormant. Regular experimentation or practice keeps the mind and body active. It is where learning really happens and experientially builds knowing. Do your home work so your actual work gets more valuable. Anything in the subject you see — imitate, modify, create from scratch, simplify, build on existing, transform. 30 mins a day can do phenomenal things and opens unseen doors.
Expertise is where knowing blossoms into transforming. By going beyond experiments and applying the knowing and craft to real world examples or challenges, you transform things, people and places. Nuances matter here. Audit a website or app, review a peer’s project, pick up small challenges and solve, volunteer in your company’s bold or experimental initiatives. Collaborate with peers or relevant people in industry.
Expression catalyses big changes and multiplied your joy of working in the field. It connects more minds, brings diversity into the subject and challenges. It inspires young minds. Remember enthusiasm? Show and tell about your experiments or projects to peers and stakeholders. Make a presentation and storytell if there’s time. Share tips, tricks, techniques.