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Last updated on 1/10/20

Embrace the Beginner's Mindset

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One of the key qualities of a strong UX designer is curiosity. That means getting out of your comfort zone, being open to new ideas, and looking at the world with fresh eyes.

 

This graph from Bias & Mayhew demonstrates how the further you get into the design process, the more expensive it is to make changes. That is why it is important to consider all design possibilities early in the process, and test ideas as you go. The x-axis of the graph can be considered the design process by defining the process, conducting user research, to prototyping and implementing ideas before the product gets launched. (We'll explore more of the design process in chapters to come!) Once a product is built (deployment phase), it is almost impossible to change - a very expensive mistake!

Start with the beginners mindset

Going into a project with a "beginner's mind" can be a valuable approach to ensure you are not making assumptions or rushing to create solutions. Suzuki Roshi talks about this extensively in his book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. He says:

The beginners mindset from Stanford's d.School.  [4:48 min]

Keep these qualities in mind when embracing the beginners mindset:

  • Question and don’t assume

  • Listen: really listen, don't just pretend

  • Engage empathy and look at the user's perspective

  • Remove judgement

  • Question everything – see world in other ways

  • Contextualize insights

  • Be curious (humble) - an open mind will take you far!

  • Accept not knowing everything

  • Remember: there are no dumb questions

  • Prioritize questions over answers

Read more about developing a beginners mindset on Inc. 

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Example of certificate of achievement