2020 has been interesting, and we’re only a quarter of the way in.
Currently, most of us are staying safely indoors. Maybe today, you’re streaming video content, playing video games, reading books, reconnecting with loved ones, being creative, or simply, being still.
Some of us have more time on our hands, even if we are still working, because we aren’t commuting. This is not only valuable time we are saving, but also mental energy, by not being stuck in traffic on the freeway or running late for the train.
I remember when I transitioned to working from home, I saved 2 hours of travel per day, and had no idea what to do with the extra time. At first, I slept in. Can you blame me?
What are you doing with this extra time?
The challenge seems to be staying positive, motivated, healthy (both physically and mentally) and productive. Before this, many people probably dreamed about working from home, or, at least achieving some type of work-life balance. Now, more people understand what it’s like.
One of the UX design classes I typically teach in a classroom setting has now switched to online learning due to the pandemic. The transition has actually been quite beneficial for students. Moving to online learning has produced new learning opportunities like how to collaborate, network, and create remotely.
This transition has also led to new (or at least different) conversations with my students. We’re currently discussing how students could begin to differentiate themselves in the job market, considering this unique situation we’re all in.
You have a unique opportunity to differentiate yourself now more than ever. And if you’re reading this, it means you’re using this time to better yourself—which already makes you ahead of the curve.
Take advantage of the lockdown time
If you’re a designer that has found themselves remote, you can gain a competitive advantage by focusing on these things.
If you’re currently studying remotely or have recently completed an online program, document and show off these new skills by asking yourself these questions:
- How did remote learning prepare you for remote work?
- What remote communication challenges did you overcome with your mentor or teacher?
- What remote education tools did you use that you’re now familiar with?
Challenge: Craft and publish a story around your remote learning experience.
Show off your remote collaboration skills as well as how you communicated and managed stakeholders remotely by asking yourself these questions:
- How did you conduct remote research and testing with people?
- How did you collaborate with others to ideate and problem solve?
- What remote collaboration tools did you use that you’re now familiar with?
Challenge: Build a case study communicating your process and experience from a remote-friendly point-of-view.
Experience using remote collaboration tools like Slack, Miro, Trello, Maze, and Zoom is a huge competitive advantage in today’s workforce. If you’re a UX designer, these tools are just as important to know how to use as Figma, Sketch, and Photoshop.
When speaking about your experience, communicate how you accessed, conducted, recorded, and synthesized UX design research and testing efforts. Where possible, show sketches, notes, images, or screenshots of how you conducted research and/or of users participating in testing and share your thoughts and feelings.