As designers, especially designers who need to design digital products such as APP and web pages for the public, we have to create something that the user can understand naturally, as the ultimate goal of the design, with a clear understanding of the UI interface and the user experience. Even fresh products, at the time of design, also need to take out the “familiar” model that the user can perceive, to ensure that the user will not be split in the use of the process, will not feel confused and confused.

In this context, many designers will worry about a very practical question: will things I design be novel enough, or will there be no breakthroughs?

However, at this point, the question did not ask the right questions. Because the real drive for UI design should be the routines we often say or the rules, and the deeper things, in fact, are the thinking patterns and mental models of the users.

For instance.

You may need to design a dashboard interface for a university teacher. The dashboard interface needs to present some basic functions, such as allowing teachers to upload courses, course materials, arrange exams, and test results for students. They can interact with students through the dashboard and can publish homework or check homework. Under this requirement setting, next we may need to consider the UI and UX design of the dashboard from a teacher’s perspective.

In this case, we need to think about some problems. When teachers are attending classes for students, they have a clear understanding of the curriculum, for each learning unit, and even in the stage of the test. In their brains, each textbook, as well as the knowledge that needs to be taught, has a clear memory in his brain. It can be listed as a list to be managed and imparted to the students. As a result, everything seems to be very clear, and if the designer does a lot of homework, it can quickly grind out a college teacher’s favorite, easy – to use dashboard interface.

But in this way, designers will ignore another aspect of this matter, that is, students.

The teacher is the master of the dashboard of the whole course management system, and the students learn the course through it. When students face a course, they are not like their teachers, and they have a clear understanding of the whole course, and there is no complete concept. They do not have the teacher’s mode of thinking, or have a completely different mental model. When they are facing the curriculum, they may have more scattered problems.

What did we learn yesterday?

What did I teach the lesson that I missed?

What do I need to prepare for the class tomorrow?

What is the most important knowledge in today’s class?

When students face the course, the mode of thinking is mainly based on the “course time” model, while the teachers are different. They can teach at any time. The main mode of thinking is the framework of “course content”.

In this way, let’s reconsider the whole product design. In the user’s thinking mode driven design UI, how do not make big mistakes, but if you follow the ordinary UI model, what the brain wants to use control, where to place, that is hard to say.

Now look again, you will find that UI itself is not a driver, but a by-product of user thinking in a certain sense. Therefore, the solution should reflect the thinking mode of both teachers and students. When you are designing this UI, you can learn from a competitor or even draw a good design from other unrelated products, of course, the premise is that this design needs to follow the user’s mode of thinking.

If wheels can function, why do we need to re invent them? After copying, fine tune it to suit your needs.

Of course, this does not mean that we will be limited or creative in the process of creation. Exploring the user’s thinking pattern is a way of giving you a deeper insight into the nature of the design needs, and it will even make you more creative, break some conventional boundaries and help you better solve the user’s problems.

At the moment, you are not designing the UI interface, but using the text, graphics and thinking mode to open your brain.

Now we should understand the importance of user thinking mode. Why do you want to do user research, why you want to build mental models, why do you want to do side writing, the reason is not complicated, the real understanding, or the insight into the user behavior pattern. For someone to design, as you choose a gift to a close friend, you know what he likes and understand what he wants, and you can use a small gift to release his emotions to the maximum. When you know a person’s personality and know his wishes, then when you customize the product for him, the target will be stronger, and the design nature will have 42 kilograms of effect.

So, how do you get a better understanding of the users?

Like making friends with others, you go to a bar and drink, eat hot pot together, look at the people in the cafe, talk about your recent life, talk about the unpleasant things in your life, and discuss the topics of interest. In fact, it is so simple that there is no magic formula.

And the real “understanding”, in this way, begins to truly understand the patterns, details, and deep needs of the user’s life. For example, to make a software for a restaurant’s friend, you need to know the information about the catering industry and understand the specific processes and pain points of your friends when they are managing and running a restaurant. What’s the name of each of them? How do they order the latest material? What are the specific steps? How does the employee manage it? What kind of information do they want to follow? Answer these questions, understand the relationship between each link, and figure out what to do. The more you ask, the more answers you get, the clearer the whole picture.

At the very least, I often remind myself that designing digital products for people is essentially understanding their life and work, understanding the matter itself and the human nature itself.

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