UX Designer

Tips & Tricks


UX Designer Tips & Tricks is a free help guide for UX designers from all backgrounds to perform UX design.

UX Designers face a constant challenge, especially within organisations that have a little or no UX maturity. I created this guide primarily as a reference for myself as well as a way of contirbuting back towards the UX community.

UX Principles

The principles of UX deliver the following business benefits...

  • Increased Sales & Consumption
  • Improved Brand Perception
  • Reduced Development Costs
  • Reduced Maintenance Costs
  • Reduced Training Costs
  • Improved Productivity

The 10 UX Elements

The most important elements...

  • Familiarity
  • Responsiveness & Feedback
  • Performance
  • Intuitiveness & Efficiency
  • Helpfulness
  • Relevant, Valuable Content
  • Internal Consistency
  • External Consistency
  • Appropriateness To Context
  • Trustworthiness

UI Considerations

UX is NOT UI, but when looking at the experience a user has when interacting with a user interface, the following must be considered...

  • Clarity
  • Concision
  • Familiarity
  • Responsiveness
  • Consistency
  • Aesthetics
  • Efficiency
  • Forgiveness

UX Kick Off Meeting Questions

  • Tell me about the company?
  • How does the company make money?
  • What state would you say the product is in?
  • What stats/research has already been done?
  • What approaches have you taken?
  • What worked and what didn't?
  • How do decisions usually get made?
  • What, if anything turns out wrong?
  • Where do you want to be? (Numbers)
  • Who will be the main decision makers? (2/3 max)
  • Who are the people involved in the project?
  • Are there any constraints? (Time zone/remote)
  • What is the best way of communicating?
  • How frequently would you like to check in?

Getting Started With UX

  1. Establishing work to be done
    • Low hanging fruit
    • Make a plan (What activities will you employ)
    • Helps to have permission and or support
    • Use alternative close method (Large/small)
  2. Get To Know Users
    • Talk to and learn about user needs
    • Design products for and with users
    • See their perspective, feel their pains
    • Envision better alternatives
    • Time with users directly impacts the quality of the product
    • Figure out what you know / don’t know
    • Perform guerilla research
  3. Start Designing
    • Sketch your ideas (Paper / Whiteboard)
    • Enlist colleagues to generate ideas (Moodboard)
    • Learn from other great products

Building Support for UX

Principles over process. Principles are statements to articulate a vision for a UX approach. “What you make” and “how you work” - it’s a mindset.

  1. Invite People In
    • Be open, friendly and easily accessible
    • Treat them as partners in the project
    • The more you can facilitate a cross functional team, the more you will empower others to feel ownership in the process.
  2. Make Things together
    • meetings + unstructured conversations = battlefield and mixed emotions
    • Make ideas tangible by quickly making examples in collaboration, filtering the creative evaluation of a shared vision.
    • Sketch, whiteboard or draw it out.
  3. Truly Listen
    • Facilitate. Take interest in other people's views
    • Understand where they are coming from
    • Let them do more talking and ask why/when you need to
  4. Know When It’s Good Enough
    • UX Work is never really finished
    • Get an idea of what is good enough

Dealing With People Issues

Relationships are one of the most important means for a UX foundation. Try to see things from other people's points of view.

  • Interview the team on how they want to engage with UX
  • Build an informal UX network to promote broader UX uptake and educate others
  • Ask others to participate by offering a strategy workshop with a sketch board session
  • Arreange pre meetings to help you get team members to commit their support for your approach before the big reveal
  • Use relatable language, no jargon, but plain english
    • Process - The  Attempt - The Outcome

Dealing With Organisational Issues

Siloed businesses do not have a holistic overview.

  • Offer to visualise requirements
    • Get involved early
    • Establish the fundamentals of the product
  • Help others see how UX impacts the process
    • Understanding of time and resources
    • Create one timeline with UX and one without
    • Find trade offs or compromises
  • Play nicely with vendors or 2rd parties
    • Opportunity to learn
    • Own and direct how work gets executed
  • Turn Rubber Stamp Into Opportunity
    • Do guerilla user research to give an understanding of what needs improvement
  • Develop case Studies
    • Use storyboarding to give a narrative
  • Break Bread
    • Turn co-workers into allies
    • Build relationships

Common Objections

It’s just web design? But we already do market research? UX is too expensive! It takes too much time! It isn’t statistically significant. But we already know what needs to be done.

Main Issues are badly defined system requirements, poor communications between customers, development and users or stakeholder politics.

UX Strategy Blueprint

A plan of action to make sure that the user experience of an application is aligned with business objectives. The method by which you validate that solutions actually solve problems for real users.

  • Challenges
    • Problems? Obstacles?
  • Aspirations
    • Desired outcomes? Achievement?
  • Focus Areas
    • Scope? Focus of impact? Users: Who? Where? What? How? (Scenarios)
    • What area of UX: Information architecture, interaction design, visual design, content strategy or branding, usability, learnability, discoverability?
  • Guiding Principles
    • How will you overcome the challenges?
  • Activities
    • What types of UX activities are needed?
  • Measurements
    • What types of measurements will be employed?
    • What metrics will be used to gauge success?

Design & Content

Design exists to help users get and use content. content is what the user needs right now. content and design are inseparable work partners.

Design Thinking

What if? Optimism, human empathy, experimentation, collaboration, experience focused.

What Leads Design Thinking?

Framing the problem, enabling experiments, communicating ideas, directing the team.

Mapping Customer Journeys

  2. Put together a core group of stakeholders (not only from their teams, but from others in the company like IT, front line employees, and subject matter experts). Choose stakeholders you feel will be invested in the project and willing to take responsibility.

  4. Communicate the vision for the journey mapping project: a one-day workshop that will result in a set of customer journey hypotheses, which will be tested, refined, and examined for areas of improvement, and serve as living documents that will guide everyday interactions going forward.

  5. PLAN
  6. Plan for the scope and scale of the customer journeys to be mapped. Update customer personas.

  7. MAP
  8. Use the plan to set expectations with their stakeholders. During the session, use the updated personas and Customer Empathy Worksheets to establish a stronger connection with customers. In each customer journey map, they include the target customer, a description of all the touchpoints, and what the customer is thinking, feeling, and doing along the way.

  10. After a productive workshop day you have a set of customer journey maps -- but these are really hypotheses, assumptions that need to be tested and validated; not only with real live customers, but with internal teams as well.

  12. Seeing that there are several parts of their customer journeys that need improvement, prioritize where they should focus first. Choose to start with some quick wins that will improve the customer experience while reinforcing the value of journey mapping within the company.

  13. AIM HIGH
  14. Once the organization sees tangible improvements in key customer metrics, continue to push towards integrating the mapping process into the everyday. They work together to digitize the maps, using them as dashboards for ongoing projects. By assigning an owner to each map, they ensure that the customer journeys will continue to improve. With each passing day, you are closing in on their goal of becoming an industry leader in customer/user experience.

Mapping Information Architecture

The structure of information first and the design of the user interface second. It understands how people use content and how the structure should function to support them. It also grasps the range of content and functionality and how that needs to be structured.

Why a Well Thought Out IA Matters

The purpose of your IA is to help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect.

As a result, your IA informs the content strategy through identifying word choice as well as informing user interface design and interaction design through playing a role in the wireframing and prototyping processes.

What You Need to Know

  • Organization Schemes and Structures
  • How you categorize and structure information

    Alpha, Numeric, Type, Category, Genre, Region...

  • Labeling Systems
  • How you represent information

  • Navigation Systems
  • How users browse or move through information

  • Search Systems
  • How users look for information

Information Ecology

  • Context
  • Business goals, funding, politics, culture, technology, resources, constraints

  • Content
  • Content objectives, document and data types, volume, existing structure, governance and ownership

  • Users
  • Audience, tasks, needs, information-seeking behavior, experience

Data / Dashboard Visualisation

The process of data visualisation

  • What data do you want to show?
  • What questions you trying to answer?
  • What actions or decisions are you trying to enable?
  • Who is consuming the data?
  • What are their needs?
  • What are their tasks goals and motivations?
  • What devices do they use?
  • What data dimensions do you have to play with?
  • What type of data is it?
  • What are the key relationships?
  • Is there a default format?
  • Three different, combinations
  • What are the options for encoding?
  • See how it looks and iterate

Methods of data visualisation

  • Tell a story
  • Make it easy to understand
  • Dig deep create hierarchy narrative
  • Make single insights nuances
  • Simplify the data
  • Convey a message

What should it do?

  • Faster access to actionable insight

Huge data

  • Highlight story
  • Make data relevance

How to visualise

  • Visualisation or infographic
  • Scalable not scalable
  • Persuasion or education
  • Visualisation or infographic

Make intentional choices

  • Data audience design
  • Informative
  • Persuasive
  • Visual

Audience considerations

  • Audience needs
  • Know the uses
  • Use their terminology
  • Data has properties
    • Numeric continuous binary categorical
    • Try to define boundaries
    • Include or exclude data
    • Decrease amount of data
    • Define desired knowledge


  • Colour is not order
  • Use saturation shades for grouping
  • Colour has meaning cultures


  • Use default
  • Ratio aware
  • Limit data
  • Use position relationships
  • Colour categories
  • Encode data and relationships

Chart types

  • Track values over time - line area chart
  • Compare amounts across category - column bar chart
  • Compare percentages - pie chart doughnut chart
  • Display performance by region - maps colour-coded overlays
  • Animated visuals - interaction increases value


  • Geospatial maps
  • Heatmaps
  • Map overlays
  • Interactive revelation
  • Icon overlays
  • Dashboard information
  • Repetition of patterns
  • Drilldowns

The Author

Vince Nardone
UX Designer

Useful Links

User Interface Engineering

UX Matters

UX Magazine


User Focus

Nielsen Norman Group

User Testing

GDS Design

Pichler Consulting

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