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Design based thinking : Ariel Beninca

Can you take the principles of designing better software and apply them to your life to make yourself more productive? Ariel Beninca explores how it’s possible.

I’m a User Experience (UX) designer for Console, which means I take the functions and features of Console Cloud and organise how best to lay out the menus, options, windows and so on. The goal is to create the best experience for people using our software

To do that well, I focus on incorporating principles of user-centred design. That’s a design that looks at how people think and how they want the software to work. Good user-centred design means people instinctively know how to use our product and take less time to do their work when using it.

Because this type of design-based thinking is all about making everything simpler, easier, and faster for the user, I think it can also be a great blueprint for designing a more productive life in general. Don’t believe me?

Design a system that reflects how you find information, rather than how you think it should be filed.

Here are three examples:

Design principle one: Accessibility

What it means: Making information easy and intuitive to find.

How to apply it to your life today:  Ever struggled to find a file because you haven’t named or filed it properly? Next time it happens, take note of what you often have trouble finding and think about how you searched for it.

Often the culprit is a muddled or messy folder structure or a file-naming system that doesn’t easily identify the document.

Try researching and re-organising your folder structure and the way you name your files. Design a system that reflects how you find information, rather than how you think it should be filed.

If you’ve done a good job, you won’t need to remember where you put anything: it’ll be easy and intuitive to find.

Design principle two: Iterative development

What it means: Using feedback to continually improve a design.

How to apply it to your life today: Don’t commit to an imperfect system! If you think there might be a better way to do something, experiment.

If you don’t get it completely right, rework the idea and try again. Whether it’s task batching, automation or anything else you can imagine, remember: time invested in efficiency is seldom wasted.

Design principle three: Visibility

What it means: Users should be able to easily identify what the software is capable of doing.

How to apply it to your life today: Visibility can also be about understanding what you can achieve, too.

Simply figuring out how much time it takes to do ordinary tasks can help you identify what you might reasonably achieve in a week.

While most PMs will know how far out from a tenant vacate work needs to begin, other tasks with fuzzier time budgeting, like the time it takes to write up a new listing, can be harder to track.

It’s worth tracking, though. Getting a grip on how much time to budget for tasks and interruptions means you can identify what you are capable of doing in a given timeframe. That means fewer broken promises, less overdue work and less stress. That might make it easier to go home on time, too.

If you take these three principles of good UX and apply them to your role at work, I think you’ll find your productivity improves and the quality of both your experience and the experience of those who interact with you, grows exponentially.

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