Design resources that inspire

10m 26s

In their UX Roundtable video series, the UpTop Health UX team discuss design resources which have inspired them.

Moderator: Michael Woo (Director of UX)
Interviewees: Abbey Smith (UX Designer), Deborah Roberts (UX Designer), Michael Woo (Director of UX)
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Episode Transcript

Moderator/Michael:  In this episode the topic is design resources and talking about what things inspire you guys whether they’re books, articles, blogs, podcasts, any of that sort. It’s always interesting to hear what gets us inspired. Why don’t we start with you, Deborah; talk about what some of those things might be.

Deborah: For blogs and online resources, two of my favorites are the Nielsen Norman Group and Interaction Design Foundation for design best practices and to hear from top leaders in the field. If I have a problem that I’m trying to solve in a project, those are often two of the first places I’ll go to see what they have to say. I also like UX Collective, UX Magazine, UX Planet, Dribbble, Awwwards. Those are all great websites for just keeping up with industry news and trends.

As far as books go one of my favorites is The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. I just love the concept of that design is always communicating to us, whether it’s good communication or bad communication and it’s a great introduction to design thinking and thinking about how we interact with products, objects. When I was first getting into UX design, I read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. That whole book was about getting products in the customer’s hands faster to get feedback and make sure that you’re creating the right thing that people want. I thought that was so interesting and really applicable to UX and weaves together how user experience makes an impact for business. We recently were developing a remote workshop and the five-day Sprint book by Jake Knapp was super helpful to use as a model to apply our practices to; so those are some of the books that have been really helpful for me.

I love podcasts too. Some of my favorites would be the Design Better Podcast by InVision and Wireframe by Adobe. I also sometimes listen to UI Breakfast or Design Details. They sometimes have some really great people on, leading figures in the field. One of my favorite podcasts generally is Hidden Brain. I love it. It’s about looking at the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and goes a little bit deeper into psychology. I think that’s great to have that understanding of human behavior as you’re working in UX and then more specifically towards Health Care. Lately, I’ve been listening to The Next Big Thing in Health by AHIP and then Health Tech by Geekwire looking at the latest technology trends within the healthcare space and that’s been a great way to keep up keep up with that.

Moderator/Michael: Great list there. What about you Abbey?

Abbey: To go off of what Deborah said first and foremost, The Nielsen Norman group is fantastic. Another one that kind of goes along with best practices is called Baymard; it really focuses on e-commerce best practices. So I have visited a lot in the past and it is a wonderful resource to get a baseline of things that anyone and everyone needs when shopping online. Then you can take it from there and do anything creatively that you want to, as long as you make sure that you hit those marks, especially desktop and mobile-wise, because mobile shopping is the biggest shopping that there is online.

Another kind of company, in-and-of themselves, which also has really great resources is IDEO, really great articles, resources and tools to look at when you’re stuck. It’s nice place to go to spark something. Something else that I’ve been really interested in lately, and is a nice read for the design community is Spotify. Spotify has their own blog. Their design tool website is pretty, so it’s a good easy read and easy way to find things and their take on things is just interesting. So I do like to read what other designers in the world and people outside of healthcare, which is what we do a lot and e-commerce, what they have to say and how they work through problems and solutions.

Then two more there’s a plug-in actually called Muzli, which is a Chrome plugin for a new tab and you can filter by design trends or technology or culture and it’s just also a nice place to go when you’re a little stuck and you need some inspiration. You just pull up a new tab in Chrome and start scrolling and it will link you out to any article that you want to look at and that’s pretty nice too. And then this might seem basic and kind of silly but the Gestalt design principles is something that I look at a lot actually and look at when you’re stuck. But these are really what I go to when I need to think about a problem in a different way. Can something like intersect something differently? Can you combine two things to solve a problem? Any sort of closure that you can make or maybe find a new similarity between two things that you didn’t think matched well, so some of the basic stuff that you learn in design school 101 can still apply to whatever kind of UX that you’re doing.

Moderator/Michael: That’s great. Great list there. Now, I’m trying to find a couple items on my list that you guys haven’t named. I’ve listened to the podcast from 2Bobs by Blair Enns and David C. Baker. I think that’s a really great podcast for folks who are really on the agency side of things. The Futur with Chris Do, his podcast, there’s a lot of good stuff there. Sometimes I read the Harvard Business Review; there’s some good UX strategic content there. Another thing I used to listen to quite a bit, especially in pre-pandemic days, that I have a subscription to Blinkist, which is like a Cliff Notes version of audio recordings for any book and you can also read it as well. There are 15 minute segments for anything you can find and I usually listen to topics about personal growth, or management, leadership, even history or philosophy because I like to diversify my content. Sometimes when I’m listening or reading about design stuff, it gets a little bit, too much of the same stuff and I need to mix it up a bit.

But yeah, there are a lot of great resources you have named. So hopefully if anybody’s looking for some good material, there’s no shortage of things that we’ve named here.

Abbey: Yeah, definitely we’re a good team.

Moderator/Michael: Yeah, if there was only one thing that you would recommend out of your list I’m curious which one you guys would say?

Abbey: That’s a great question.

Deborah: If I had to pick one that I just purely enjoyed then I would say Hidden Brain because I feel like it’s not specifically UX but it is a lot about psychology and human behavior. And I think that having that understanding just gives you a different perspective when you’re working on projects, and it’s just really interesting.

Moderator/Michael: What about you, Abbey?

Abbey: If you’re doing anything e-commerce, Baymard a hundred percent, but honestly Muzli the plug-in is really nice because it can combine a bunch of different topics into one. So, if you’re searching for something specific or needing to keep up with what’s going on in the design world, that’s a nice place to go.

Moderator/Michael: Okay. I’m not going to name one because I can’t.

Abbey: I mean, yeah, they’re all great.

Moderator/Michael: Yeah, they’re all great. Naw. I mean I love actually listening to the Design Better Podcast. I just love hearing perspectives from different leaders out in Industry. Although I can’t remember if they’re pretty much in-house product designers. Do you guys recall if there’s much about the agency perspective?

Abbey: Not a ton

Moderator/Michael: Not right? Yeah. At any rate. They’re shared problems, you know, so I totally get it. I’ve been there done that. Yeah, that would be mine, because it’s at the top of my list right now. Anyways, thanks, thanks for all your input till next time.

Abbey: Sounds good. Thanks guys. Bye.