There is hustle in the design-for-digital-experience world. Things move fast and unless you stay on top of it every week – exploring and learning – you fall behind quickly.
As the Design Manager at my agency, this is a part of my job—specifically in leading and mentoring the creative team. I am tasked with knowing digital industry trends, standards, and best practices and being aware of changes in the design, content, strategy, and functionality worlds that give the user a thoughtful and happy online experience. This can be tough. How can I stay up-to-date when I am already busy? What’s the best use of my limited time?
And, you’re busy too, right? So, I’ll be quick. Here are three things you can do to stay plugged in and informed.
1. Subscribe to smart information
This is a huge timesaver. Choose a range of solid information suppliers, and content comes to you. Rely on experts you trust to let you know when something is new, or new data is available that affects your work.
Here are just a few we rely on.
Nielsen Norman Group
Subscribe to the Alertbox E-Mail Newsletter for articles and tips on Interface usability, website design and UX research.
Smashing Email Newsletter
Tips and tricks for designers and developers delivered twice a month.
Think with Google
Data, insights, and inspiration from Google.
A combination of a search engine and Pinterest, this website curates content for you based on your interests.
Follow experts or opinion leaders on content, design, and technology.
2. Find and Share
“I found this [insert really cool thing here] and thought of you…” I absolutely love this about my agency. On a weekly basis, at least one person forwards something relevant to my work or a project I am working on. Start small and begin sharing content with colleagues. Ask them, nicely of course, to do the same for you. Don’t turn it into a high pressure to-do item. But, the more you get in the habit, the more it becomes a regular way to share information.
3. Speaking of practice, someone may already have perfected
Look around you. Ok, now just look straight at your computer screen or mobile device. Whatever you are working on, it’s likely been done before. Someone (possibly) has already perfected the “what to do about that situation” at the mobile level or that alert during the checkout process. Make a point – while you’re online, playing a game, or passing time on your mobile device – to study what someone else has already figured out. Remember that experience and let it influence you now or in the future.
Once you have these practices in place, you can be more confident in your output, strengthen your craft, and influence your colleagues and clients. And, hopefully without the added stress of how quickly everything comes and goes. Speaking of which…I gotta go, so good luck!