To become a better designer, become a mindful listener

A good designer is a good listener!

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As a UX designer, one has to master many skills to become efficient in the craft. To be able to deliver better experiences, the designer must solve the right problems.

On this journey to becoming a successful UX designer — Empathy is key! Unfortunately, practicing empathy is an all-too-rare skill. Every design challenge starts with understanding the problem and research, not by solving problems upfront. The first steps while initiating any design project include listening to what the client has to say. A lot many times it happens that, in the research phase entirely new challenges arise through the discussions.

Listening to the client’s story and identifying the pain areas is not an easy task. As a researcher one needs to identify the pain areas, needs, aspirations, and motivations of the clients, users and attempt to solve the observed challenges aptly. Mindful listening and/or active listening helps you derive deeper insights from the interviews with users, stakeholders, etc.

What does it mean to be a mindful listener?

It’s not just about listening with your ears but with all of your senses! The researcher needs to be attentive to everything that the client or user is saying, and also to how they are saying it.

Listening with the intent to gather information, and process it without preconceived bias, or your experience is essential. Once the information is categorized, and summarized, getting it validated from the client is crucial. This way we ensure obtaining pure data that can point us to insights to deliver relevant solutions.

To be a mindful listener, one needs to -

- Be attentive to What is being said and How

- Listen, comprehend, ask further and respond without judgment

- Reflect and categorize, process the information

Being a mindful listener definitely has more benefits for the designer community. Listening intently eases the conversation as there is more room for information sharing. People instinctively trust active listeners more. And when asked the right questions, they can provide much deeper insights.

Benefits of being a mindful listener -

- Stronger work relationships contribute to higher team performance.

- More productive meetings. Better collaboration.

- Helps you become a mindful leader that asks, listens, and empathizes with their colleagues.

In a world where there is too much information available at your fingertips, we UX designers, need to pause and listen intently to know our users, clients well. Only then will we be able to co-create solutions that impact humans and generate business impact.