As I mentioned in a previous blog post about improving your writing skills, especially if you intend to write in a foreign language, a deliberate practice regime is key for picking up new skills and developing abilities .
I know it’s quite common to end the work day and feel tired, drained and lifeless. I know it’s easy to choose to be a couch potato on afternoons and dedicate quite a few hours to Netflix. However, in an ever-changing and demanding field such as User Experience Design (or any similar/related field), we just can’t afford to be left behind . Technologies change constantly, the requirements from project to project vary widely, and UI patterns to solve specific problems are born daily. It is paramount to be on top of the game and make an effort to learn new things. I think this can make or break a career.
My self-improvement regime
Personally, I’ve developed a “Self-improvement” regime, based on deliberate practice. As I’ve mentioned in other posts there are two interesting books I can recommend on the matter:
It’s quite simple really. My regime consists of me pushing myself to pick up a book/resource and learn. Every-single-day (except on weekends, we need to avoid burnouts).
So basically what I do is keep a to-do list of topics that I want to take a deeper look into. I choose a topic and I make a bit of research. I find related books and authors, blog posts, videos, talks, webinars or courses. Whatever. Then I dedicate some time to this topic (generally a few weeks). And I make an effort to be consistent. Every night at 9 pm my time I pick up whatever resource I’m using to learn and I take one solid hour to concentrate on that topic. I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t check emails, I don’t take breaks. This way I cover more ground in one hour than I would if I dedicated more time to it while allowing for distractions. That’s why it’s called “deliberate practice”. You deliberately choose to focus entirely on your practice.
Fixing information on the brain
Whatever the learning method/resource, I always take notes. This helps me to understand the information and do a better job at fixing it in my brain. Otherwise, If I only read/watch, I may forget the most part. I try to summarize the information as much as I can, and I keep it all in a small paper notebook I carry around with me. After I’m done with one resource (e.g. a book) I do a conceptual map to connect and relate concepts.
Current learning objective
Right now I’m studying UI patterns for web and mobile. I thought it would be cool to share the books I currently have on my checklist, in the hopes that someone else might find them useful. Also, if anyone has some other resource to recommend about the topic, please shoot me an email.
- Web UI Design Patterns 2014 by UXPin
- Web UI Design Patterns 2016 – Volume 1 by UXPin
- Web UI Design Patterns 2016 – Volume 2 by UXPin
- Mobile UI Design Patterns by UXPin
- Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell
- Diseñando Apps para Móviles by Javier Cuello and José Vittone