Your experience using any new product or service can teach you a lot about user experience.
Sometimes you are presented with new design patterns or existing patterns that could be improved. However, as you learn the paradigms, the interface becomes familiar and you can never again experience the product as a first-time user.
Think back to the first time you used an iPhone. Was it friendly or intimidating, intuitive or complicated? Was the learning curve short or steep? What was your overall first impression?
How did your first encounter with skeuomorphism affect your experience and emotions? Were you confused the first time you saw the "hamburger" icon or the "settings basement"? How did you feel when you stumbled upon infinite scroll?
Although it is commonplace to criticize outdated trends and so-called "best practices", we shouldn't forget that there was a time and place where those paradigms were appropriate and even necessary.
As designers and developers, when we see a shiny new product, we immediately dissect every element. We over-think the aesthetics or "view the source." We start analyzing the business logistics and marketing goals. We are trigger happy.
While these are important things to think about, we must remember that we can only experience the product through the first-time user's eyes during our first interaction.
Once we begin using a new product or service, we should play the role of the average user—an untrained eye. Instead of studying the interface and picking apart the business model, use the product for its intended purpose. Note what you like or dislike. Eventually, after the UI has become familiar, you can dissect the UI as you normally would.
If you’re starting a new job or working with a new client, this technique can be useful for locating glaring UX problems that more acquainted team members might have missed. In a way, it is a “one time use,” self diagnosed usability session.
Keeping a catalog of your initial reactions is extremely helpful for defending your decisions years later when the interface has gone "out of style."
Next time you start using an interface for the first time, do your best to savor the moment before it's gone.