1. Understand the customer
There’s a human on the other side of the screen with a limited attention span. Don’t squander an opportunity to make a connection. Try to practice empathy and humility to understand their problems and unique pain points.
2. Do good design
Try and do good design. That means demonstrating the ability to translate insight and strategy into concept prototypes and communicate your vision through your artifacts. Don't forget that design is about connecting with a customer and telling a compelling, meaningful, and memorable story. Help tell that story.
3. Partner with the business
Business owners hold the vision for the product. Working closely with them on product stewardship helps to ensure that the “yin” of the business is balanced with the “yang” of the customer.
4. Be a good teammate
The industry is maturing. We designers are no longer the "heroes" that save the day with our beautiful designs. Today, we have to pull our weight as a part of multidisciplinary teams that are working iteratively to solve a problem. Big egos are no longer welcome. Roll up your sleeves and pitch in.
5. Keep your toolbox current
Sketch, Axure, InVision, Adobe Experience Design, Affinity Designer—there’s a ton of options for screen design and prototyping these days. As designers, we have an obligation to stay current with the newest design and prototyping tools.
6. Think beyond responsive
Responsive design used to just mean making a website “squishy” such that it refactored to various viewport widths. That’s still important. But these days, responsive is also about looking closely at what content and features are appropriate and useful for customers in various contexts. Design lives everywhere these days. Be prepared to think around all the corners.
7. Leverage user research
Great design is about doing your homework. It’s about knowing your users and what’s best for them. User research can help with this at the outset of a project. Continuous usability testing throughout the design process will also help ensure you are solving the right problem and that your solutions are actually creating value for the business.
8. Respect brand standards and existing systems
Unless you’re working for a start-up, most of us are partnering with corporations that have established brand identities and standards. These standards may govern not only logo usage, color, and type, but interface patterns too. These standards need to be understood and respected (and sometimes broken).
9. Tell stories that sell ideas
What good is having great ideas if you can’t share them? As designers, we need to be able to clearly and confidently articulate design decisions in a jargon-free fashion and demonstrate how they solve business problems. Tell stories that help share your discoveries, influence stakeholders, and create energy around your ideas.
10. Have fun
It's important to care about the outcome, but try to have some fun and not take yourself too seriously. And don't use the expression "crush it." Like ever.