UX enables digital transition – from nothing to something with your user at its heart. To direct and simplify the evolution of a project idea from business requirement, to user understanding, to solution/blueprint. The project journey involves many UX methods (research, personas, journey mapping, etc.), which all bring value to the whole, and more so when they feed into each other.
Where these methods come together is a transition, encapsulating the learnings and decisions from one, to influence the next. For example, moving from journey maps into wireframes is a natural evolution of the project. However, upon reaching this phase in your project, it can be overwhelming to progress without losing all that insight and reasoning.
Regardless of what phases of work you are between, the biggest blockers to a smooth transition are noise, overthinking, and perfection. Transition is more natural than you realise, once you let go.
Noise is influence from outside that can seem really important in the moment. Some noise is direct (a colleague confidently suggesting what your wireframes should look like), and some indirect (videos you see on social media as to how you ‘should’ wireframe). This noise adds pressure and doubt that will steer you away from your process.
Irrespective of its source or goodwill, you must manage and reduce the noise to help you flow through your work. Returning to your user research, your personas, and the project objectives will help to manage the noise, and to remind you of the focus, which is the user experience.
If you are able to listen to yourself (having reduced the noise) you can notice when quality thinking, which is useful, inspiring, and articulate, becomes overthinking, which is negative, pressured, and a jumble. Begin with the end in mind is an important mantra (thanks Stephen Covey), but worrying about the end in your mind is, rather ironically, likely to create delay, indecision, and unsatisfactory work.
If you are wireframing but your mind is concerned about the questions and challenges your stakeholders will raise, you are a/. not focused on your task in hand and b/. blocking the learnings and understanding from the journey mapping to flow through you. Sometimes, you just have to get out of your own way.
Life is not meant to be perfect. We wouldn’t learn if perfection existed. Yet, at times, we all fall into a trap of assuming we have the power of perfection. All this really does though is point out our imperfections with gusto. Perfection comes from the noise and from overthinking. Perfection also introduces noise and overthinking. Don’t be perfect. Just follow your process and get on with the work in front of you. As long as you have the user at the heart of your work you will produce positive work. Replace ‘perfect’ with ‘positive’ and remove this pressure – your confidence will grow, and your output will always be user-centred.
Remember to check-in
It is important to note that your process must include points of reflection and structured input. To provide a check and balance, and to ask and be asked questions of your work.
If you are new to your role or UX, you must check in regularly with your peers and seniors. This is to ensure you have kept your sights on the user and the project objectives. Don’t feel this as added pressure though, keep the above in mind and let this help you deliver great user-centred work.
These blockers are relevant if you are working as an individual, or as a team, so be sure to notice the noise, the collective overthinking, and the desire for perfection. Between each method and phase of work there is activity you’ll need to undertake to make progress. What I highlight here is that the work is not the blocker if you trust your process and yourself at each step.
Be at ease, check in with your peers, and your transitions will flow nicely.