5 Ways to Get Past UX Designer’s Block

Like any other creative professional, I get stuck from time to time moving forward with my designs. When this happens, I find the following techniques to be helpful.

1: Stop Thinking So Much

Often, my creative blockage is simply a product of overthinking. I'm trying to reinvent the wheel. In these cases, I ask myself questions like "Have we already established a design for a similar piece of content on this site?" or "Would a simpler, more standard pattern be good enough for this interaction?"

2: Take a Step Back

Putting the blinders on and zooming in on a specific element of a page or a particular step in a flow can be a good thing. That kind of hyper-focus can lead to precision and thoughtfulness. However, it can also lead to getting tripped up on the small things. When I get stuck on the details of a page layout, zooming out helps me see the big picture and move forward.

4: Do Some Research

I'm not always as prepared to design a solution as I thought I was when I fired up Omnigraffle or grabbed a pen and paper. In these cases, I do some light research on the topic or check out designs that others have used to solve similar problems.

3: Separate Entirely

Sometimes, there's no avoiding the need to just clear your mind. I've never been particularly good at putting my head down and powering through a problem. For me, getting up and walking around the office, grabbing a soda, or reading a blog post can be very effective ways to get past blockers. Once I've taken a little break, I come back to the problem and see if any new ideas pop into my head.

5: Ask For Help

Fortunately, I have a great team of other UX designers (as well as a bunch of other specialists at Viget) that I can bounce ideas off of and get valuable feedback. Often, just the act of expressing my problems to someone else will lead to a solution.

Kevin is Viget's product design director in our Falls Church, VA, HQ. He concepts, launches, and optimizes products for the World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Privia Health, and OPOWER.

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