I came across this tweet from Bob Baxley recently. It was a poll to see what UI/UX designers value most.
As a UI/UX designer, I most value…
— Bob Baxley (@bbaxley) March 22, 2016
Just out in front, ahead of company mission and personal impact, was the opportunity to learn . Ongoing education and learning is very important. While we have our day-to-day jobs—where most of the time we’re likely doing things we’re already good at or are very familiar with—we want to keep developing our personal careers and skill sets.
As an industry, we want our design teams to keep developing their careers and skill sets. The web and design practices and tooling are constantly evolving. There is a lot to learn and we want to promote a culture of learning . The design team at Mesosphere recognizes this, and we have a few different ways we try to keep educating the team and learning from each other.
Lunch and learns
Everyone on the team comes from different backgrounds, educations, companies and experiences. So we all know different things, and sharing that knowledge is great.
Every other week, in between ouruser testing weeks, someone on the team will lead a “lunch and learn”—an opportunity to talk about something they are good at or that is important to them. It could be a talk on a specific topic , or maybe an overview of a book they read recently, or they could run a design workshop (or challenge) for something they’re working on. It’s their call. The purpose is to share that knowledge across the team and to give everyone a turn at leading the room.
We started earlier this year and some topics to date have included Photography 101, User Research, Sewing, Flight Hacking, and Things I Learned in Architecture School.
Jesse Lash leading a class on Photography Lighting
Myself (Lee Munroe) leading a class on User Research
The design community is a friendly community, and there are a lot of people with great knowledge and experience. If you just reach out to them, offer them some free lunch and beer , they’re often happy to come by and talk about the things they’re doing at their company. This is a great way to get some insight and cross-pollination of skills from other teams.
We’ve been fortunate to have some great speakers come by our headquarters in San Francisco, including Zac Halbert (Tradecraft) discussing product design workflow; Aaron Irizarry (Nasdaq) talking about his book “Discussing Design”; and Tim Van Damme (Abstract) showing us what design tools they’re building.