In this week’s post on Getting Started In User Experience, I’m writing to you from lovely California. Give me the ocean or a mountain and I’m a happy girl!! I love to travel and one of the benefits of working for myself is that I can travel much more because I can work from anywhere.

Travel is great because it makes you break your current routine. It helps you slow time down and see things in a different lens. This is particularly true if you live in New York City. My grandmother used to ask me how life in the “the bubble” was. It’s true. NYC is a bubble … and I love it. But, it’s important to get away and remember what life is like for most people.

When I travel, I find that I’m always extra observant of how people live and what people do. This always results in new ideas or provides an important reminder on why it’s so important to research – because most of the time the people you design for are very different from you. For example, on a trip to Florida, I became hyper aware of the problem of texting and driving. This inspired me to think of some interesting solutions to the problem.

As designers, one of the most important things you’ll do is developing an intimate understanding of the person behind the product you’re designing. Without that knowledge, you won’t have be able to develop insights and establish empathy towards them. And without the insights and empathy, your solutions and designs will not be rooted in the person behind the product.

So wherever your travels take you next, try to be a tiny bit more aware of your surroundings, the people you meet, and the experiences you have  because you never know when you’ll end up drawing insight and inspirations in the future.

PS: I realize that not everyone can travel. So, if that’s you, then find ways to change up your everyday routine. Take a new route to work. Explore a new part of your town or state. Sit at a bar or coffee shop and people watch.  Do something different so that your brain can’t just run on auto-pilot and is forced to become a bit more present.


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