Always Be Learning

by November 9, 2023

The mindset to “always be learning” is especially crucial in the field of digital product design where not only is technology continouosly evolving, but so are the people we're designing for.

To quote Bruce Sterling, because people are “time bound entities moving from cradle to grave”, their context, expectations, and problems are always changing. So design solutions need to change along with them.

As a result, designers have to keep learning about how our products are being used, abused, or discarded and we need to feed those lessons back into our designs. Good judgement comes from experiences, and experience comes from bad judgements. Therefore, continuous learning is crucial for refining judgement and improving design outcomes.

"There’s the object, the actual product itself, and then there’s all that you learned. What you learned is as tangible as the product itself, but much more valuable, because that’s your future." -Jony Ive, 2014

So how can we always be learning? Start with the mindset that you have a lot to learn and sometimes unlearn. Spend your time in environments that encourage deeper problem-understanding and cross-disciplinary collaboration. This means not just designing but prototyping as well. Design to build, build to learn.

Recognize the patterns you encounter along the way and make time to explore them. This extends what you've learned into a more broadly useful set of skills and better prepares you for the next set of things you'll need to learn.