There’s a lot you can do to improve your skills as a designer, but most of the time, it comes with a high cost and a big time commitment.
These 4 steps that I’m about to share with you are easy ways you can insert yourself into the UX community, meet new people, and gain new skills.
Best of all, most of these steps won’t cost you anything and you can do them all at your own pace if you want to. I followed these steps during my last year of grad school, and the following year when I was on my job hunting journey. As a result, I gained more confidence as a designer and grew my UX network.
最重要的是，这些步骤中的大多数都不会花费您任何费用，并且您可以按照自己的步调完成所有步骤。 在我毕业的最后一年和第二年的求职之旅中，我遵循了这些步骤。 结果，我作为一名设计师获得了更大的信心，并且发展了我的UX网络。
There are a ton of free UX events every month. I usually visit the Meetup and Eventbrite websites and browse for any UX related networking events.
At these events, you can learn more generally about UX. Some events even offer a deep dive into more specific areas, like voice design or machine learning.
You’ll hear from design leaders and get tips and advice by asking them questions directly. A memorable meetup I went to was in Seattle by the group, Ladies that UX. The theme was applying to jobs. The speaker was a design manager who was responsible for hiring designers for one of the top companies in Seattle. People in the audience asked questions about applying to jobs for about 20 minutes and the advice we received was invaluable.
您将听到设计负责人的声音，并通过直接向他们提问来获得提示和建议。 我去参加的一次难忘的聚会是由Ladies that UX乐队在西雅图举行的。 该主题适用于工作。 演讲者是一位设计经理，负责为西雅图顶级公司之一聘请设计师。 听众中的人们提出了有关申请约20分钟的工作的问题，我们收到的建议非常宝贵。
Networking events are designed for you to talk to people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet in your day to day life. When we could attend these events in person, I always enjoyed mingling with other fellow UX people. When I was still starting out, I met so many others who were also new to the field. We would connect with each other on LinkedIn and help each other out on our job searches.
社交活动旨在让您与日常生活中通常不会见到的人交谈。 当我们可以亲自参加这些活动时，我总是很喜欢与其他UX同事相处融洽。 当我还是刚起步的时候，我遇到了很多其他新手。 我们将在LinkedIn上彼此联系，并在求职方面互相帮助。
With all events being online now, you have access to so many more meetups. You can even try out events in other cities or countries, as long as you don’t mind adapting to different time zones. Some events also send out recordings so you can still watch the presentation even if you were unable to attend live.
现在所有活动都在线上，您可以访问更多聚会。 您甚至可以尝试在其他城市或国家/地区进行活动，只要您不介意适应不同的时区即可。 一些事件还会发送录音，因此即使您无法参加现场直播，您仍然可以观看演示文稿。
Here are some of my favorite UX meetups that I’ve been to in person, and are currently doing online meetups.
Ladies that UX, Seattle (Not just for ladies, everyone is welcome)
Cascade Experience Designers
Content Strategy Seattle
San Francisco UX Writers
An informational interview is a meeting where you connect with someone to learn more about them, their role, and the company they work for. Pre-pandemic, these usually occurred over a cup of coffee. Now, they can happen over a 30-minute zoom or over a phone call.
信息面试是一次会议，您可以与某人联系以了解有关他们，他们的角色以及他们所工作的公司的更多信息。 大流行前，这些通常发生在一杯咖啡上。 现在，它们可以在30分钟的缩放过程中或通过电话发生。
Informational interviews are more relaxed than regular job interviews, since it’s more casual. It’s a chance to get to know the person who might have a job that you want. You can ask them about what it’s like working at a certain company and what their work day looks like.
信息性面试比常规的工作面试更为轻松，因为它比较随意。 这是一个认识您可能想要的工作的人的机会。 您可以询问他们在某家公司工作的感觉以及他们的工作日如何。
It’s a good rule of thumb to not ask for a job outright during these meetings, but rather to get a feel for what it would be like to work there. You don’t want to come off as desperate and only wanting to talk to this person to get a job out of it.
Treat it as building a connection and getting to know the person. While they might not be able to get you a job right away, you’ll be someone they can keep in mind if an opportunity ever comes up.
There are so many UX related books and articles out there today with a big library of articles right here on Medium.
In grad school, I was a part of the UX club and the president of the club would tell us to read at least 3 UX related Medium articles a day. It allowed us to learn something new and be up to date on any new design trends.
Funnily enough, there are articles on Medium about the best UX books to read. I recommend browsing all the lists of books you can find online, and read the ones that are the most interesting to you. Check out your local library to see if they have any copies of UX books so you can save some money.
有趣的是，在Medium上有关于最好的UX书籍的文章。 我建议浏览您可以在网上找到的所有书籍清单，并阅读最感兴趣的书籍。 查看您的本地图书馆，看看它们是否有UX书籍的任何副本，因此您可以节省一些钱。
There are also UX adjacent books, like Hooked by Nir Eyal, which talks about what makes a product addictive to users. Some UX books only focus on research or content strategy. Branching out in the UX books you read can help round out your design thinking skills.
也有与UX相邻的书籍，例如Nir Eyal的Hooked ，它谈论了什么使产品使用户上瘾。 一些用户体验书只关注研究或内容策略。 深入阅读您的UX书籍有助于提高设计思维能力。
A Project Guide to UX Design by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler
Russ Unger和Carolyn Chandler的UX设计项目指南
Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology by David Evans
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk
每个设计师都需要了解的关于人的100件事 Susan Weinschenk
Strategic Writing for UX by Torrey Podmajersky
To improve my visual design skills, I watched a lot of YouTube videos about UX/UI design. I eventually found the Adobe Creative Cloud YouTube channel. They had a bunch of videos with different UX/UI designers who were designing apps or websites live.
为了提高视觉设计技巧，我观看了很多关于UX / UI设计的YouTube视频。 我最终找到了Adobe Creative Cloud YouTube频道 。 他们有很多视频，视频来自不同的UX / UI设计师，他们正在现场设计应用或网站。
I started to watch their videos and learned so much from people who were actually in the industry. They each showed their design process and shared tips along the way. If you ever catch them when they’re live, you can ask them your UX questions and get your answer right away.
我开始观看他们的视频，并从业内实际人士那里学到了很多东西。 他们每个人都展示了他们的设计过程并分享了技巧。 如果您在他们的生活中遇到他们，则可以向他们询问UX问题并立即获得答案。
Adobe also has Daily Creative Challenges for Adobe XD, which is their UX/UI design product. The challenges last about 2 weeks at a time before the next challenge starts. Each day has a design prompt, and a live video where a UX design mentor explains the prompt and shows how they would design it.
Adobe还面临着UX / UI设计产品Adobe XD的每日创作挑战 。 在下一次挑战开始之前，挑战持续约2周。 每天都有一个设计提示，以及一个现场视频，其中UX设计指导者解释了提示并显示了他们将如何设计它。
There’s also a Discord channel with over 50,000 members where you can post your work and get feedback from other designers and design mentors.
I started participating in these challenges and sharing my work. Not only did they help me get better at visual design, but I became a part of a community of other beginners like myself at the time.
Another daily design challenge is the DailyUI challenge where you get an email with a new prompt everyday for 100 days. The prompts range from 404 pages to music players. It’s a fun and easy way to get creative and practice new design styles.
另一个日常设计挑战是DailyUI挑战，您每天都会收到一封包含新提示的电子邮件，持续100天。 提示范围从404页到音乐播放器。 这是一种有趣且容易获得创意并实践新设计风格的方法。
I admit that I only completed the first 18 days before I stopped. I got busy and eventually fell out of it, but I still felt that my skills improved even in that short amount of time because I was working on it every day.
By spending some of your free time doing these steps, you’ll not only improve your design skills, but you’ll also gain some new connections as well. These connections can help you advance in your career, so it’s definitely worth it to put yourself out there.
I followed these steps and after a while, I felt a boost in my confidence when applying and interviewing for design roles. I also realized I wasn’t alone in my journey, and I also made some new UX friends along the way.