Everything online needs an interface, or what we call UI/UX. As an emerging field, many are eager to jump into this exciting career—including me. I discovered my passion for UI/UX and dived headfirst into this dynamic world.

As a junior UX designer, I quickly realized just how much I had to learn. I made plenty of mistakes and often thought, “Why didn’t I know this before?” and wished for a mentor to help avoid those rookie errors.
So, I’ve compiled insights from UI/UX pros at our company about the blunders they made early in their careers. Let’s learn from their mishaps and save ourselves some headaches. Ready? Let’s jump in!

1. Scared of Making “Ugly” Designs

When you start out, everyone around you seems like a design wizard–more experienced, more creative, more knowledgeable. It’s easy to feel your designs are just… meh. But the fear of creating something “ugly” can paralyze you.

The trick is to go for it, even if you think it’s going to be a disaster. Failure is just a stepping stone to success, and sometimes, the best ideas emerge from those initial flops.

Got an “ugly” design? Don’t toss it. Try the SCAMPER method–Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, Eliminate, and Reverse. This method helps you explore more variations of your design by substituting, combining, adapting, modifying, or repurposing elements.

Who knows? Your ugly design might morph into a masterpiece.

2. Believing Your Users Are as Smart as You Are

Let’s face it, we designers often think, “If I get it, everyone will.” Spoiler alert: they might not. Your users come from all walks of life with different backgrounds, languages, ages, and tech skills. What we think is easy, like creating an account, may be very difficult for some.

Don’t assume they’ll find your design intuitive. Research, observe, interview, and survey to truly understand your user before creating the design

And, remember, even the smartest stakeholders can misinterpret your brilliant ideas. Aligning understanding before diving deep is key.

3. Designing Without Planning nor Purpose

“When I started, I just relied on my design skills. But designing is so much more than making something look good,” said our Creative Director, Letizia Margo. Sounds familiar? We scribble down what needs to be designed and dive straight into the work. But, without a clear plan, you might get stuck halfway, questioning every element’s purpose.

Approach your design process holistically by using a design thinking method. Strategize and research before sketching, empathize with users, and define problems. A design that looks good but fails to solve a problem is wasted effort. A well-thought-out design saves time and should be intentional, with every element backed by research and best practices.

4. Very ‘User-Centric’ at the Expense of Others

We’re taught to focus on the user: their needs, ease, and experience. But remember, the end user isn’t the only focus–the business is too. Balancing user needs with business goals, technology constraints, and stakeholder requirements is crucial.

Ignoring developers’ limitations can lead to functionality issues and wasted effort. The best designers gather insights from all sides to craft well-rounded solutions.

5. Being a ‘Yes’ Person with Limited Knowledge

Do you nod along to client feedback, even if it’s terrible? You might be the “Yes” person. If you can’t defend your design decisions due to a lack of knowledge, clients might see you as less credible. Understand your design choices and why they’re the best practice. Prepare for meetings and anticipate client concerns. It’s okay to accept feedback, but sometimes, you need to stand your ground.

6. Only Focusing on One Platform

Don’t forget your designs will be viewed on multiple devices. Starting with the desktop version is fine–if the project is web-based, but remember to consider how it’ll look on mobile or tablet. Text might not fit, images could get distorted, and sizes might be off.

Provide guidance to developers to ensure your vision stays intact across devices. At the very least, we should create screens that serve as examples of how the design would look on various devices. If you’re using Figma, you can use Figma Mirroring to check how your prototype looks on mobile.

7. Overlooking UI/UX Fundamentals

The basic matter. If you overlook UI/UX fundamentals, your design will suffer. Know the ideal padding, margins, and component size for each platform. Pay attention to icon sizes, pixel-perfect precision, and naming conventions. Use a design system for consistency, ensure color contrast and visual balance, and create clear hierarchies and screen states.

When these issues arise, it means you need to go back and learn the basic foundations. One open resource you can learn from is Material Design by Google or Human Interface Guideline by Apple. Last but not least, keep updated with the industry by benchmarking.

8. Not Knowing How to Handle Clients

Every client is different. Some are fun and easygoing; others are formal or strict. Flexibility in your approach is key. Sometimes small talk can serve as an icebreaker and lighten the mood. Other times, it is better to be direct and thorough, depending on the client’s personality.

If you’re new to this, observe your seniors in meetings and practice presenting to your team, because practice makes perfect.

9. Overthink Too Much

Starting a new project can be daunting. But overthinking won’t help. You’ll get stuck, losing confidence. Not every problem can be solved in your own head. Discuss with others to gain new perspectives.

Don’t be afraid to start, even if it’s not perfect. You can revise as you go. The longer you hold back, the less time you have to finish the project. To gain broader experience, you need to be brave, try new things, and not overthink too much.

10. Looking for Perfect Design That Doesn’t Exist

Perfection is a myth. While I advised against being a “yes” man, sometimes you do need to be one. No matter how thorough your research and testing, there will always be differing opinions. And, for various reasons, you might create a less-than-ideal design. It’s not your fault. At least, you tried to explain the right solutions.

Lastly, if you think you’ve nailed the perfect solution, think again. The world doesn’t stand still, and neither do user expectations or competition in the design industry. As designers, we need to stay on our toes, always looking for better solutions.

It’s an endless cycle of iteration–just like the circle of life, but with pixels and prototypes.

They say, “Experience is the best teacher.” While you might think you need to go through everything yourself to learn, let’s build on that with Warren Buffett’s insight:

“It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” — Warren Buffett

Instead of relying solely on your own experiences and mistakes, why not learn from others and have multiple teachers at once?