When it comes to design, be it website design or designing digital products, there are two tools that rise above the rest. Are these tools related to process? Software? Collaboration? I’d argue that crowning a specific process or a shiny piece of software is inherently flawed. Let me explain.
At Ample, we have evolved our process to include many helpful practices including design thinking exercises, user testing, discovery workshops, and more. While all of these exercises lead to great, more strategic products, we only recently began to implement them. Because, as we know, industry standards are always changing, adapting, and evolving.
The same can be said for software. Not too long ago, the only design software tools for digital were ones made for illustration and photo editing. Thankfully, standards have changed in the software industry too, to include Sketch, Figma, and XD. And, while evolving processes and software are great for our industry, the two design tools I want to discuss are far more fundamental.
The preeminent tool in your kit? Listening. Why? Well...hear me out.
Active listening should be a life-long part of your professional development plan. It’s that important. Being able to pick up what’s said, what’s not said, and the nuances between the two is the foundation for all your research, collaboration, and work. Your understanding of business goals will not only influence your ability to hit the deadline within budget but will also determine if the solution will meet the needs of the user.
Follow these pointers to help you become a better listener:
Like a designer is to black-rimmed glasses, listening is to questions: a package deal. Asking questions is how listening becomes active. It’s where your curiosity can take root, keeping you focused and engaged. This will, in turn, convey an open mindset to those participating in the conversation. And, at least for me, formulating and asking good questions improves my capacity to retain information.
Here’s some insights around asking questions to consider:
The best thing about these tools? They are both free, and both can be learned and honed. Think about the last time someone deeply listened to you. How did it make you feel? Great, right? These skills lead to building trust – a cornerstone of killer collaboration with your clients and your team.
Speaking of killer collaboration, Ample is always on the lookout for creative talent. Even when our Careers page doesn’t list any open positions, we’re always down to cultivate relationships that might lead to future employment. If that sounds intriguing, connect with us. Trust me, we’ll hear you out.
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