category: UIUX Design

19 TED Talks Every UI/UX Designer Must Watch!

19 TED Talks Every UI/UX Designer Must Watch!

Remaining at the vanguard of innovation is imperative for UI/UX designers. To facilitate your progress, I have curated a collection of TED Talks that have personally inspired me and are essential viewing for every designer. These captivating talks provide a deep dive into the intellect of visionary leaders, uncovering enlightening perspectives and strategies that can revolutionize your approach to design thinking. Don't miss out on this valuable resource—bookmark this post before it slips your mind!


1. The Beauty of Data Visualization


David McCandless transforms intricate data sets such as global military expenditures, media trends, and Facebook updates into visually stunning and easily comprehensible diagrams that unveil hidden patterns and interconnections. According to him, effective design offers an optimal means to navigate through overwhelming amounts of information, and its impact could potentially revolutionize our perception of the world.

The Visual Miscellaneum

It helps us make sense of our world by putting the data we are bombarded with every day—health findings, technological advances, cultural touch points, war statistics—into a creative visual perspective. 



2. The 4 Superpowers of Design


Kevin Bethune, an experienced design professional, asserts that the contributions of designers are frequently underestimated in the business realm. He contends that all designers possess four essential superpowers: the ability to see beyond surface appearances, adaptability, heightened intuition, and the capacity to empower others. While this may seem incredulous, witnessing the transformative outcomes that arise when designers are provided with an environment that nurtures their development and allows them to flourish is truly enlightening.

REIMAGINING DESIGN: Unlocking Strategic Innovation (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) By Kevin Bethune



3. The Art of First Impressions - In Design and Life


Chip Kidd, a seasoned book designer, possesses a profound understanding of our tendency to make judgments based on initial impressions. In this engaging and lively presentation, he elucidates two methods employed by designers to convey instant communication: clarity and mystery. With humor and wit, Kidd explores the circumstances, reasons, and methodologies behind their effectiveness. He celebrates the allure of aesthetically pleasing and functional design while playfully critiquing less successful endeavors. Additionally, he offers insights into the creative process behind his iconic book covers.

Judge This



4. How Airbnb Designs for Trust


Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, took a bold leap by staking his entire company on the notion that individuals can place their trust in one another to stay in unfamiliar homes. How did he manage to overcome the deeply ingrained fear of interacting with strangers? Through the power of exceptional design. Now, with over 123 million nights hosted and an ever-growing number, Gebbia unveils his vision for a sharing culture where design plays a pivotal role in cultivating community and forging meaningful connections instead of fostering isolation and division.



5. Margaret Gould Stewart: How Giant Websites Design for You


The "like" and "share" buttons on Facebook are witnessed a staggering 22 billion times each day, solidifying their status as among the most widely viewed design elements ever devised. Margaret Gould Stewart, the director of product design at Facebook, reveals three fundamental principles for designing at such an immense scale—a magnitude where even the slightest alterations can incite global uproar, yet the most subtle enhancements can significantly enhance the lives of countless individuals.



6. Design for All 5 Senses


While good design is often associated with aesthetics, why shouldn't it also evoke delightful sensations, appealing fragrances, and pleasing sounds? Jinsop Lee, a TED Talent Search winner, and designer, introduces his concept of "5-sense design" by presenting an informative graph and sharing compelling examples. His ultimate goal is to ignite your awareness of exceptional multisensory experiences and inspire you to appreciate them.



7. The First Secret of Great Design


Chip Kidd, a seasoned book designer, possesses a profound understanding of our tendency to make judgments based on initial impressions. In this engaging and lively presentation, he elucidates two methods employed by designers to convey instant communication: clarity and mystery. With humor and wit, Kidd explores the circumstances, reasons, and methodologies behind their effectiveness. He celebrates the allure of aesthetically pleasing and functional design while playfully critiquing less successful endeavors. Additionally, he offers insights into the creative process behind his own iconic book covers.



8. The Complex Relationship Between Data and Design in UX


Engineering a website involves a careful balance of foresight and adaptability, taking into account user behavior and the evolving goals of the organization. Rochelle King, the senior designer at Spotify, faced the challenge of harmonizing the diverse interfaces within Spotify into a cohesive and seamless layout. In her enlightening presentation, she guides us through the process of redesigning a significant website, unveiling valuable insights into the dynamic relationship between designers, data, and the end-users for whom the website is created.

Rochelle holds the esteemed position of Global VP of User Experience and Design at Spotify. In this role, she oversees teams responsible for user research and designing the product experience across Spotify's platform. Before her work at Spotify, Rochelle served as the VP of User Experience and Product Services at Netflix. In this capacity, she led teams responsible for the design, enhanced content, content marketing, and localization, shaping the user interface, layout, meta-data, and presentation of the Netflix service on a global scale across all platforms. With over 14 years of experience in consumer-facing product development, Rochelle brings a wealth of expertise to her craft.



9. Why design should include everyone


Sinéad Burke, a remarkable individual with achondroplasia (the most prevalent type of dwarfism), brings attention to the pervasive issue of design's limited accessibility, which hinders independence for individuals with disabilities. She emphasizes that design often fails to consider the needs of diverse users. Burke, an Irish writer, and broadcaster, possesses a unique perspective that underscores the significance of inclusivity in design. Her advocacy sheds light on the imperative for both established and aspiring designers to prioritize creating inclusive and accessible experiences for all individuals.



10. Got a wicked problem? Tell me how you make toast


Tom Wujec, a renowned designer and trailblazer in the field of business visualization, employs a systematic approach to problem-solving. He introduces a straightforward exercise of making a toast, deconstructing the process into sequential steps. By utilizing this model, Wujec highlights how UX designers can effectively delve into the core of any problem and gain a profound understanding of user behavior.

Wujec's methodology empowers designers to navigate complex challenges by breaking them down into manageable components. Through this exercise, designers can uncover insights that illuminate the motivations behind user actions. By embracing this approach, UX designers gain a powerful tool to address and resolve a wide array of design problems.



11. Design, explained


Whether you're gearing up for a UX internship or putting the final touches on your portfolio, take a moment to unwind from the stress and enjoy a delightful TED Talk by humorist and writer John Hodgman. In his talk, Hodgman brings a comedic twist to the world of design as he deconstructs three modern iconic objects. Through his witty commentary, he lightens the mood and thoroughly entertains his audience, providing a refreshing break from the worries of the design world. So sit back, relax, and let Hodgman's humorous take on design put a smile on your face.



12. When we design for disability, we all benefit


Elise Roy, a former disability lawyer, and human-centered designer who is deaf, presents a compelling talk centered on the concept of design thinking. Design thinking entails seeking solutions to problems through a solution-oriented approach. Roy highlights the crucial shift in mindset that designers need to embrace: designing with a focus on inclusivity for people with disabilities. She illustrates her point by sharing examples of designs that were initially created with individuals with disabilities in mind but eventually proved to be inclusive and useful for all users.

By emphasizing the importance of designing with disabilities as a primary consideration, Roy underscores the transformative potential of inclusive design. Through her insightful examples, she showcases how such designs can transcend their original intention and benefit a broader range of users.



13. Intricate beauty by design


In her insightful talk, Marian Bantjes explores the significance of individuality in design. As a skilled graphic designer, illustrator, and typographer, Bantjes reflects on her career journey, emphasizing the vital role that uniqueness has played in her work.

Bantjes distills her artistic motivation into three fundamental questions: "Who is it for?", "What does it say?", and "What does it do?" She encourages aspiring designers to embrace these principles as they hone their UX skills. By considering the intended audience, the intended message, and the desired impact, designers can create meaningful and impactful experiences.

Bantjes' perspective serves as an inspiring reminder of the importance of personal expression and distinctive creativity in design. Her valuable insights resonate with budding designers, guiding them toward developing their unique voices and making a meaningful impact through their work.



14. Simplicity sells


Have you ever imagined uncovering UI blunders through catchy musical performances? Probably not, but David Pogue, a former New York Times columnist and tech enthusiast, does exactly that. In his entertaining talk titled "Simplicity Sells," Pogue highlights some of the most egregious user interfaces he has encountered while coining the term "software rage" to describe the frustration users experience with poor interfaces. From Microsoft to Dell, no interface is spared from Pogue's engaging and humorous critique, complete with song and dance. Make sure not to miss his memorable Steve Jobs song—it's a must-listen!



15. 404, the story of a page not found


Error pages are generally disliked, but in this engaging talk, Renny Gleeson, an expert in funny new media, challenges the notion that a 404 page has to be a mere "oops" moment. Instead, he demonstrates that it can be an opportunity to foster stronger connections with users. Gleeson unveils creative approaches to 404 pages that transform them from frustrating experiences into moments of delight and improved user relationships.



16. Designers, think big!


What if we transitioned from traditional "design" to "design thinking"? This thought-provoking question is posed by Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, in his captivating talk. Brown argues that focusing solely on the minutiae of design is no longer sufficient, and it is time to embrace the power of design thinking. Drawing inspiration from the legendary 19th-century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Brown highlights the transformative potential of design thinking.

By visualizing the entire user experience and employing techniques such as prototyping, collaboration, and participatory design, design thinking allows us to create innovative solutions that prioritize human needs. Through compelling examples from the developing world, Brown vividly illustrates the numerous advantages of adopting a "think big" mindset in design.



17. Reinventing User Experience


Design. It's time to shift our perspective, according to Kes Sampanthar. The conventional approach of focusing on aesthetics or usability falls short when it comes to creating truly engaging products. Instead, Sampanthar proposes a design paradigm called "motivational design." In this thought-provoking talk, Sampanthar takes us on a journey through intriguing tales, including a murder mystery set in the Louvre, to unravel the psychology behind the motivational design. By tapping into human pleasure centers, Sampanthar reveals how we can craft products that captivate and motivate users, ultimately leading to more meaningful and engaging experiences. It's time to rethink design and embrace the power of motivational design.



18. The best computer interface? Maybe… your hands


Mobile gestures, click rates, and pixels may soon become concerns of the past for UI and UX designers, according to James Patten, a visionary designer. Patten envisions a future where digital information transcends traditional boundaries and becomes tangible through the integration of physicality into user interfaces. Drawing on his expertise in robotics and kinetics, Patten explores the possibilities of incorporating physical objects into interface design in his intriguing talk.

With the help of a battalion of miniature robots, he conducts experiments that bring the user interface out of the screen and into our own hands—quite literally. Patten's innovative approach challenges the conventional notions of UI and opens up new frontiers where design and physical interaction intertwine.



19. The three ways that good design makes you happy | Don Norman


Don Norman, the Director of "The Design Lab" at UCSD, is undeniably a captivating individual. While this video may be older, it remains a must-watch for anyone involved in the field of design. Norman's keen observations focus on the elements of beauty, fun, pleasure, and emotion in design that bring happiness to people. He identifies three crucial emotional cues that a well-designed product must effectively target in order to achieve success.

Through relatable and straightforward examples, Norman delves into unspoken aspects of human behavior, shedding light on fundamental design principles. The infusion of humor and wit throughout his talk enhances the overall experience, making it all the more enjoyable and engaging. Norman's expertise and entertaining approach combine to provide valuable insights into the power of design to evoke positive emotions and create meaningful experiences.

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things + The Design Of Everyday Things by Don Norman


Which TED talk resonates with you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

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