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The best tip for developers to improve their designs

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

When it comes to advice for developers who want to do better at design, they want to take design more seriously in the app. What would you say is your single most important change they could make to improve their designs?

Meng To: Typography would be the single most important thing that they need to learn. Just don't take too many risks, but also take some risk. There's a fine balance between not taking risks and taking risk. Some developers, they make the jump too high from one point to another and, in life, whenever you learn something new, the jump should not be too much.

You should always focus on few key things that you can do, such as typography. Or colors, it's not very hard – black and white, keep doing that. That's fine. You can use a little bit of opacity on your text, especially if it's black, 80% opacity is great so that you have a bit of visual hierarchy.

“Typography would be the single most important thing that they need to learn. Just don't take too many risks, but also take risk. Like there's a fine balance between not taking risks and taking risk.”

Focus on the content. Content is always king. Content is what dictates the design. So that's why, like a picture UI is very different from a camera UI or very different from a social network UI. That's because the content is what dictates the UI and interactions, as a result. Yeah. Don't try to the hamburger menu, like, you know, go with a tab bar. I will always choose tab bar over hamburger menu any time.

One thing I would say is that there are resources out there that really helps you. For example, Refactoring UI is really great for developers because it allows them to look at some of the popular cases for which you have a certain UI. And then how can we improve that based on those action points? And I think the idea of redesigning something is very powerful for learning. So what I would say is, as an exercise, take your app design and try to improve it, using all of those action points.

“Learn just enough code to be dangerous. Learn just enough visual design to be dangerous. Just enough web, just enough Flutter, just enough React Native, and to have a really good opinion of all of those things.”

The iOS guidelines are something that I would try to learn, especially pertaining to visual design. There is a tab called visual design. It's not very long, but if you can take like 30 minutes reading that, it's going to help you tremendously. For sure.

And that's also exactly what I'm going to try to do in my course is to practice. Right? It's one thing for me to say to you, okay, these are the things that you're going to do. You're probably not going to do it after this stream anyways. But what I want to do is to create a course for developers and I'm actually someone who's evolved over time, based on that concept of get just enough to be dangerous. Learn just enough code to be dangerous. Learn just enough visual design to be dangerous. Just enough web, just enough Flutter, just enough React Native, and to have a really good opinion of all of those things.

“So it's learn some things, but not too much. Take some risks, but not too many risks. But ultimately be dangerous.”

I'm that kind of person. And some people are like that. Some people are more specialized. Some people are generalists. Some people are really into one single platform. I'm definitely more towards the generalist, but that being said, I have to be good at one thing. Otherwise, nobody is going to listen to me.

And so I did start as a designer and I'm sure you start as a developer, if I'm not wrong. Be really good at one thing and then expand. But the second thing that you expand to. Don't learn everything at once. Otherwise you're going to lose motivation. So that's what I want to focus on in my course is basically to teach you just enough about typography, colors, spacing, design transformation, iterations, animations, all of those things. Just enough. Don't get bored. Have fun. And create something that you're really passionate about.

Paul Hudson: So it's learn some things, but not too much. Take some risks, but not too many risks. But ultimately be dangerous.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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