Now that a lot of us are working remotely amid the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ve been ruminating on how we can make the best out of this highly disruptive situation. Naturally, I began looking at this problem through the lens of a “design thinker”.
After giving it some thought in the past four weeks of remote work, I have condensed what I’ve learned into five tips based on design thinking mindsets and techniques. I hope they can teach you something new about UX design while also helping you cope with the uncertainty and chaos of our current situation.
1. Reduce your cognitive load by uncluttering your work space.
You’ve probably heard this before: “A clean space is a clean mind”. It is somewhat of an obvious truth by now, as I’m sure we all have experienced the clarity and the mental lightness that comes rushing in after we have made our bed, organized our closet, or tidied-up our desk. And yet, having a “clean mind” is about so much more than simply feeling better. It is also about doing better.
As obvious a fact as this may be, there is well established literature in the field of cognitive psychology that has studied how external input affects our ability to focus, absorb, comprehend, and retain new information. It is precisely out of this field in psychology that this idea of humans having a finite cognitive load emerged. That is, the amount of working memory available to us to process and digest information at any given moment.
In UX design, it is very important to clean up the user interface (UI) of a website or app as much as possible to ensure the user can focus on the most important actions and content on screen. By keeping the experience clean we minimize the user’s cognitive load and maximize their cognitive resources available to fulfill the task they are carrying out.
Getting work done from home is no different.