2016 was definitely one for the books: we said “Goodbye” to the headphone jack on our iPhones (RIP), “OK” to Google as they jumped on the Smart Speaker bandwagon, and “Wait…what?” to an unexpected new President of the United States. But it was more than just a year for events—it was also a year of realization, especially in the world of UX.

We’ve collected a list of our own epiphanies throughout the year, as well as other thoughts by some really smart people. Take a look, and tweet away!

As a designer, you’re selfish. But with UX, it’s about the user, not the designer. Megan Lehman, Senior UX Designer at Visual Logic

Make empathy the driving force behind your design.

If people can’t use your product, they won’t. -Craig Morrison, Creator of Usability Hour.

Users expect honesty when they use your product. Don’t try to trick them, transparency enables trust.

Your brand should be accurately reflected throughout every single touchpoint your customers/clients have.

Design is problem solving. A good user experience is the result of a goal-directed, research-driven design process.

At its root, UX can be equated to loving people. -Sarah Buzynski, Senior UX Designer at Visual Logic

Don’t take shortcuts. Bad UX is expensive.

UX specialists are in higher demand than ever.

‘Does it better’ will always beat ‘did it first.’ -Aaron Levie, CEO at Box

User research won’t slow the project—quite the opposite. It acts as a springboard for the design phase.

The complexity of the product has to be dealt with somewhere, and we don’t want to put that burden on our users.

Frictionless design ≠ removing all manual operation from user tasks. High value is placed on self-completed tasks.

Don’t sacrifice usability for novelty.

Asking random strangers for product feedback is like asking your mechanic for dental advice. -User Zoom

Never have a team so big that it can’t be fed with 2 pizzas. -Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com

When customers get a product they want, they use it, love it and promote it.

To create a meaningful experience for your end users, we have to learn about them as humans–beyond demographics.

You can’t decorate the walls in a house until it’s built. You need to have a useful, usable product before you can make it pretty.

Most traditional research is based on what people say. The problem is most people do very different things than what they say. -Dan Makoski, VP of Design at Walmart

Designing for humans doesn’t mean designing the act of being human. UX is the result of a design; an end result, not a process. -Benjie Moss, Designer

Ask naive questions. People will want to tell you about things they are knowledgeable about.

The ideal team player shows humility, passion, and emotional intelligence. -Patrick Lencioni

You’re going to have to say no to good ideas, which is a hard thing. -Chris McChesney, Bestselling Author and Leadership Consultant

UX in a nutshell: making things for people. Those people aren’t you.

When users tell us what they want, it’s not our job to give it to them. It’s our job to understand why, and give them something better.

Most folks give honest feedback when you show them a rough sketch; they’re afraid to critique work that looks too finished. -Jeffrey Zeldman, Web Designer, Founder of A List Apart Magazine

Apple doesn’t have customers. Apple has fans. Ben Wulff, UX Content Writer at User Zoom

For a world striving to be more wireless, it seems we are increasingly looking for somewhere to plug in. -Andrew Sladky, Interaction Designer at Visual Logic

It takes courage to move forward, but where is the line between designing for users and designing for innovation?

As an innovator, it’s okay to design a product or service that favors a certain age group.

Bad results or no results tell us just as much about a study as good results do.

Complexity is not always the problem. It’s a lack of clarity and context that can create the most pain.

Customers are the driving force behind business strategy. Why wouldn’t we listen to them?

The success of any team rides on their desire to put forth their best efforts, and placing value on company culture is key. - Mandy Walker, Usability Analyst at Visual Logic

The experiences you are delivering should be trustworthy and should keep your customers’ safety in mind.

We are living in the “Era of the Customer.”

It’s no longer enough to have a product that functions—there is now an expectation that a product should delight.

Most millennials are motivated by a desire to use their skills for good—not by money.

If your internal jargon makes its way into your product, you may be needlessly confusing your users.

If the voting experience was simpler, voter turnout could be much higher.

Just because we’re used to the way a product works doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be questioning it.

Beauty isn’t enough to mask a faulty system, and a brilliant idea is not likely to succeed without being desirable.

If it hasn’t been tested or proven, it’s merely an opinion. -InVision

Without user research, your product’s user experience becomes an assumption.

You’re most mindful of the technology you’re using when it lets you down. -Matt Johnson, Senior UX Developer and Designer at Visual Logic

The average American looks at their phone 46 times a day.

Don’t go on a feature-tweaking spree before launch. Trust the process, team & product. Launch. -Sarah Doody, User Experience Designer, Consultant, and Writer

‘UX Designer’ is the 2nd best job for work-life balance. -MarketWatch