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DESIGN

Don’t forget the fundamentals

Recently, I found myself feeling overwhelmed. With deadlines looming, I had design challenges from all angles starting to pile up. I was spending a lot of time pushing pixels in Figma, but I felt like I was spinning my wheels and not gaining any traction.

I needed to slow down and take a step back. We love Figma here at Decent Labs but I needed a break from digital. I was all but forgetting one of the best tools in any designer’s toolbox: pen and paper.

Going analog helps. I needed to get away from my MacBook and pick up my notepad.

My goal with the notepad was to put together a quick to-do list and sketch out some rough interfaces.


Emphasis on “rough”

I figured out the root of my problem: I was trying to do too much at once.

I should have done this sooner! This was absolutely the right move. Just the process of physically writing down what I needed to do afforded me almost instant clarity. I was trying to do too much at once!

Specifically, I was attempting to perform about a half dozen individual steps of my design process at once:

  • I was trying to solve multiple UX challenges
  • While I was working on those UX challenges, I was also trying to maintain and update a constantly growing and evolving component library
  • While I was playing UX chess in my head, I was also trying to add some final levels of polish to the UI
  • And lastly, I was trying to weave all of the above into high fidelity transition animations and micro-interactions.

So of course I was spinning my wheels!

The Result

Almost immediately I was feeling back on track. I had all but forgotten this valuable core step.

I solved my first UX challenge in about 60 seconds. Just some quick and dirty sketching really helped me to gain focus.

With this newfound clarity, I realized where I needed to adjust my workflow. I was putting the cart before the horse. I had simply forgotten the fundamentals.

Matt Trice

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