What to Get the UX Designer in Your Life: A Gift Guide
by Linn Vizard
posted on 12-05-2017
Holidays are just around the corner, but what to get the UX designer who has everything? (Especially if you’re not entirely sure exactly what it is they do…) In this guide you’ll find gift ideas for all flavors of UX designers, at a range of prices. Happy giving!
For the trend setter.
Lots of UX designers love keeping on top of the latest technology trends and innovations. In 2017, conversational and voice interfaces, virtual reality, and AI were the centre of attention. These developments will impact the practice of UX design, as we push into new frontiers in how we interact with computer systems.
Google Home Mini is a discrete option for trying out voice activated smart assistant systems. Image source: store.google.com
If your UX designer is always trying to stay ahead of the curve, try these gifts:
- Google Home Mini is a cuter (and less-expensive) counterpart to the Google Home — Google’s smart assistant. This is a great gift for UX designers who might want to explore what voice interface and smart home systems are all about. It’s compatible with a range of other systems (Spotify and Nest for example) and retails at $49 USD.
- More and more UX design work needs to take into account artificial intelligence (AI). Chris Noessel’s book Designing Agentive Technology – AI that Works for People ($39 USD) is a great starting point for anyone considering what these changes mean and how we can design in a user centred way, even with AI in the mix.
For the continuous learner.
UX is a profession that definitely requires a growth mindset and constant levelling-up of skills and approaches. Whether someone is transitioning to UX or later in their career, these gifts will be appreciated:
- UIE’s All You Can Learn Library is a wealth of UX knowledge from industry experts such as Abby Covert, Jeff Gothelf, and Karen McGrane. The recorded online seminars include topics like accessibility, content strategy, experience design, and form design. A pre-paid subscription for six or 12 months at $29 USD per month would be a welcome gift for any UX designer.
- Going to conferences can be an amazing way to get exposure to new ideas and meet like minded people in the UX world. If you really want to treat the UX designer in your life, consider getting them a ticket to a 2018 conference. These can be expensive and travel costs are also a consideration. MidwestUX is a more accessible option price-wise (comparatively!) with early bird tickets starting at $375 USD. It’s being hosted in Chicago this year.
For the lover of tools of the trade.
Like any trade, UX design has many tools and approaches associated with it, and practitioners love trying out different options to find the Goldilocks, “just-right” ones for them. Here are some options they might not have tried yet:
The Livescribe Echo Pen creates interactive image and audio documents from notes and recordings, perfect for UX research. Image source: https://www.amazon.ca/Livescribe-APX-00008-Echo-Smartpen-EFIGS/dp/B00524DLZ0
- The Livescribe Echo is a smart pen that can record audio while you write. This is a great option for UX designers who do a lot of research or interviewing as a team of one. It’s a functional blend of traditional pen and paper, with the ability to create digital documents of your notes and keep track of what was said when in a session. The 2GB model retails for $179.95.
- Adobe XD is an all-in-one design and prototyping tool that lets you ‘design at the speed of thought’. Since release, first in beta and then as a 1.0 in October this year, XD has seen over one million downloads. The tools focuses on empowering designers through fluid workflows and productivity enhancing features. A subscription starting at $9.99 USD per month could be a fun way for the UXer in your life to kick off the year with a new tool.
If all else fails.
Maybe none of these feel like the right option, or the price tag is too steep. Never fear — here are some fail-safe ideas to save the day.
Everyone loves stencils! Not least the UX designer levelling up their sketching. Image source: https://www.uistencils.com/products/the-ui-stencils-starter-pack
- It’s pretty much an established cliche that designers use copious amounts of Post-it notes and Sharpies. While perhaps a little predictable, these are cheap and cheerful gifts that will definitely be put to good use by any UX designer. (Starting from approx $3 USD).
- You might have noticed that your UXer loves stationery and pens — try MUJI gel pens (from $1.50 USD) or a set of Sakura Micron Fineliners (around $14 USD) for great stocking stuffers.
- Notebooks are always a safe bet, and there are a range of styles and brands to choose from. Moleskine notebooks are a classic option — and there’s even a Smart Notebook with Creative Cloud integration ($32.95 USD) that converts sketches to SVG files. Other popular brands include Field Notes (from $9.95 USD) or Leuchtturm 1917 (from $17.95 USD).
- The UI Stencil Starter Pack ($80 USD) is a cool way to level up on neat and professional looking sketching — and will be particularly appreciated by designers who love paper prototyping.
And finally, for the designer questioning the implications of their work this holiday season — and all of the sticky issues around privacy, capitalism, and doing good by design — perhaps this 10-pack of Design Ethics booklets by Mike Monteiro ($50 USD) is just the ticket.
Topics: Creativity, Design
Products: Creative Cloud