Insights, when hindsight is 20/20

UX lessons learned in 2019

By Maria Taylor

To kick off the new year, we’re sharing some of the more important UX lessons we gathered in the trenches over this past year. Our team takes pride in building a culture of continuous improvement, not just executing a few internal process improvement projects. We’re thoughtful, reflective and collaborative. That’s why we got together to share what we believe were key lessons from 2019 that will be important UX focal points in 2020.

Throughout the year, members of our team will expand on these topics in our “Insights” blog. We’re are interested to learn how these topics align with key takeaways from UX teams at other organizations.

In 2019, we had the pleasure of working with incredibly talented clients from a variety of industries, talking with key influencers at Forrester and Gartner, listening to insightful presentations from Spotify, Mozilla, Airbnb, Instagram, and speaking with some of the best minds in the UX design industry as we conduct research for our human-centered design study, including experts from ADP, Capital One, Disney, GEICO, Google, MailChimp, NPR, SurveyMonkey, Twitch, Uber, and more.

Our focus in 2020 is to continue solving complex UX problems and designing the best technical solutions  within the scope of the product, armed with what we’ve learned in 2019.

2020 Theme: Honing the craft of UX and Technical DesignOps

Process Improvement and DesignOps Evolution

  • Use UX methods and techniques to improve our internal processes and work products, not just our clients’
  • Continue to evangelize user experience as the collective responsibility of all disciplines on a project delivery team, not just the UX roles
  • Focus on big “D” Design and continue to break down silos between all the disciplines that contribute to projects
  • Evolve the framework for designers and developers to deepen their collaboration
  • Treat lessons learned and outputs from frequent retrospectives with the same level of importance as project requirements
  • Determine where and how to commoditize design
  • Reevaluate and expand the QA process to more holistically account for the diversity of testing types (ex: functional testing, user experience assurance, accessibility, performance, etc.)


  • As our industry matures, it is increasingly important to say what we mean and mean what we say. This starts by having a set of clearly defined terms that make sense to multi-disciplinary teams
  • Communication is king! Develop an understanding of the variety of communication styles within your team to help maximize collaboration
  • Explore how UX professionals can adopt successful models from the shared economy to foster the maturity of the UX industry. Recipe sharing for design success
  • Determine how to remain creative in the face of increasing pressure to keep things consistent, small, accessible, and cheap. How important will it be to identify creative spaces and elevate creativity?


  • Importance of designing for specific platforms (ex: Drupal, SharePoint, Salesforce, MS PowerApps), and how this impacts process and deliverables
  • Apply UX to optimize experience with Microsoft power platforms
  • UX for low/no code platforms

Design systems

  • Considerations when defining and designing design systems (plug-and-play systems aren’t enough – discovery processes are critical)
  • Keep an eye on the adjacent possible as an innovation driver (cross-pollination)

Did you hold an internal retrospective meeting to reflect over the past year and discuss key learnings? We’ve shared our 2020 focus, we’d love to hear yours in the comments below.