The Strangest Secret — Edition No. 3

Hey there, friend.

I'm back with another edition of UX Things. Before we jump into updates, I’d like to share something special I stumbled upon this week.

Let me just say that this isn't your typical motivational video.

According to some, it was the greatest motivating piece ever compiled. I gotta say that I enjoy motivational movies, podcasts, and audiobooks. But this one really struck me.

It is ‘The Strangest Secret’ by Earl Nightingale - an author and radio talk show host who teaches about motivation, character development, and living a meaningful life.

30 minutes worth spending. You can watch the video here.

❓Question from a reader

“What would be your advice on how to improve your UI design? Wireframing is straightforward to me, but when it comes to UI design, I have a difficult time with the layout, using appropriate colors, and so on. Internet is full of such topics, but what would you recommend?”

It's a good question, and one I struggled with myself as well. Most designers have likely struggled with it. 

What helped me the most was to copy others that I admire. During my time at a digital agency, that's what most designers did. Instead of reading newspapers, you would see them scrolling through Muzli, as they’re enjoying their first cup of coffee in the morning.

If you're having trouble coming up with UI ideas, try this. Say you're designing a contact page, and you want something more than just a generic form with a submit button. Open Dribbble and look through contact page designs. Get inspiration and ideas from others.

As you scroll through, look for details that you think are done well. Put these details in your own work. You’ll end up combining ideas from different sources, ultimately creating something that has been influenced — but is also unique and you.

If we look at the music, it’s heavily influenced by musicians from the past. Listen to Wild Blue by John Mayer. Hearing Sultans of Swing vibes? You bet.

As you'd trust your ears when you're playing music, trust your eyes when designing. Don't doubt your choices. You think there's too much space, but not sure? Get rid of it. Text deservers just a little bit more line height? Give it height. Typography suffocating? Give it room to breath.

Obviously, this feel for a good UI gets better with time and experience, but it's important to trust your judgement from the get-go.

Get inspiration from others, but do you.

🎨 Designs I’ve shared

Years ago, I used Illustrator to design UIs. Photoshop was the go-to tool for UI designs back then, believe it or not. Are you old enough to remember the PSD-to-HTML era? It’s a nostalgic, but painful era.

Although Illustrator wasn't as popular, it was pretty good for UI design. As opposed to Photoshop, where you're limited to one artboard, Illustrator lets you have hundreds of them. Therefore, it's easy to create variations, try out different designs, but also quite easy to design more advanced UI flows.

There is one thing Illustrator still rules in UI design, and that's icons. I have started designing an icon set, for a side project I’m working on. More on it later, but for now, here's a sneak peek.

✍️ Articles I wrote last week

These 5 apps will make you a more productive designer

“It’s no secret I’m a productivity app junkie. And there’s no shortage of great ones for both macOS and Windows.”

Read the full article here.

Thanks for reading. I'm leaving you with a quote from the video at the top of this email.

“We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret.” — Earl Nightingale

You have a question, feedback, or design you'd like to share? Reply to this email and send it over. I'll see you next week 👋

Have a great day ahead.