Here is a list of things I have learned. Some might apply to design. Some might apply to building software. Some may not file under either. They do not apply to 100% of cases. They are not black and white. I hope they help you.

Prioritise the problem not the solution.

Design for the 80% not the 20%.

It’s easier to add something than take it away.

When building, get to the golden path first.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

People deserve better.

Observe the present to prepare for the future.

Listen to your customers but don’t let them dictate you.

There is no shame in saying “I don’t know”.

A meeting without a clear outcome is a waste of time.

If you’ve designed the world’s prettiest loading state you’ve built a bad product.

One box of pizza should feed a team.

Talk less, listen more.

Answering your customer’s emails for a week will change your life.

Learn to write good copy.

You can climb down the corporate latter as well as up.

Discover your ikigai.

Adding preferences to a product is like adding a tattoo. You can get rid of them but it’s very painful.

Stupid mistakes come about from ignorance.

Expected behaviour is subjective.

Design features that are functional, not just those that look good in a video.

Customer feedback is free.

If you care about something less than 90%, don’t fight it.

A customer’s experience starts as soon as they land on your homepage.

It’s not wrong to copy something, but you won’t understand the decisions that led to that outcome.

If you can’t easily write the documentation of a feature, it is too complex. Simplify.

Fix bugs quickly before they become part of someone’s workflow.

Customers don’t know your design system. It’s OK to make exceptions.

You become blind to things you see everyday.

Don’t be first. Be better.

People don’t really care what’s to come, they’ll just point out what’s not there.

Understand that 90% of UI is text.

You can’t paint the walls before you build the house.

It’s better to announce what you did than what you’re going to do.

Pragmatism is one of the hardest but most powerful skills to learn.

Design never becomes easier, you only keep pushing expectations higher.

Always question why.

Never feel guilty about not doing side projects with your free time.

Choose only one thing to over engineer.

The best interfaces are boring.

It’s easy to forget the past or not appreciate the present when you’re always looking ahead.

Eat your own dog food.

Perfect is the enemy of great.

If you hand out tough pills, also give something to make them easier to swallow.

Release early. Release often.

Don’t obsess over process.

Build something dumb first, build something smart later.

Anyone can design, but not everyone has taste.

It’s OK to make mistakes.

The more context you have, the better decisions you’ll make.

Your product is a tool, not an ornament.

The best designers I have met have the smallest social presence.

Younger people embrace new technology without prejudice.

Delight makes a good product, great.

The best design comes when developers and designers work together.

Seek inspiration outside your product’s category.

The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.

Be informed by data, not driven.

Understand ethnography.

A band-aid solution does not fix a bullet hole-sized problem.

There will never be a perfect 1.0.

Too much animation is tacky.

Never force people to sign up to see what your product does.

People love seeing and hearing their own name.

Privacy should be a core tenet. Not just a requirement by law.

The best design tool is the one you feel comfortable using.

Everyone else also suffers impostor syndrome.

The best onboarding experiences are interactive.

Sometimes it is better to use text than an icon.

If you spend too much time on side projects, it’s time to change jobs.

A tiny fraction of your customers will get in touch with you, and usually with a bone to pick.

Don’t give any customers special treatment unless they’re paying for it.

Treat document hygiene like personal hygiene. 

If you can present in front of 5 people, you can present in front of 500.

Google, Meta, etc are paying you to not join a startup.

Watching people use your product is revelationary.

Custom UI gets really old really quickly.

Don’t use fictional characters or celebrities in your designs.

Always use curly quotes and apostrophes unless you’re writing code.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Designers don’t need to know how to code, but they should know how things are built.

The best design opportunities aren’t always the sexiest.

Most of your customers probably don’t use devices as up-to-date as yours.

If someone copies you, it is a compliment.

Consider accessibility, localization, and analytics on day one.

Document everything.

Understanding business will make you a better designer.

There are very few third-party apps you should be taking reference from.

Use as many vacation days as possible, especially if you love your job.

Go into the rabbithole of discovering technology in China.

Some cans of worms are best left unopened.

The quietest person in the room usually has the most important insight.