If there’s anything more annoying than being dismissed as doing a job that “anyone can do”; we don’t know what it is. The truth is that not every job is suited to everyone and even if “anyone can do” what you do; most people wouldn’t want to. UXdesign is an exciting and interesting career path but it surely isn’t for everyone and here’s why:
1. This Isn’t Visual Design
Author/Copyright holder: Rob Enslin. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0
I won’t argue that the brilliantly visually creative folks can’t get a bit of an advantage in certain UX tasks but… in the main UX design isn’t visual design. It’s another part of the process and much of UX design is quickly cobbled together, played with for a minute at the most and then deconstructed all over again. UX designers are concerned with the visual but it’s not their main concern. Their main concern is “is the experience of using this product great?” and not “does this look awesome?”
2. This Isn’t Programming or Product Development
Author/Copyright holder: Nat Welch. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
There’s a place for people who want to create products; it’s called the engineering or development section in most companies. UX designers don’t make products. It’s not their job to choose how to code a nifty feature or to decide which glue to use to make a safety bar 100% safe to use. There’s a definite technical focus to UX work but it’s not the be-all and end-all of our work either. UX helps users find joy (or at least meaning) in the technical products that we release.
3. This Isn’t About Direction
Author/Copyright holder: Peat Bakke. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0
There are many stakeholders in each company and each of them is responsible for giving direction into the development of a product. The UX designer doesn’t provide direction; they are responsible for steering the course laid out by others. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. UX designers are all about subtle leadership. A nudge here or there that can help get round the biggest obstacles or leap the tallest hurdles is a skill that many never seem to be able to adopt.
In fact, it’s much more challenging than it looks to be a UX designer. UX designers specifically don’t fit into the standard pigeon holes that many companies are using to define where people belong in a company.
There’s a unique set of skills required to be a good UX designer:
An interest in people – you won’t get far without being able to talk to users
An interest in research – some of this can be tedious but without research you can’t be certain of what actions to take
An interest in mediation – you’ll need to get a lot of different parties singing from the same hymn sheet
A pride in UX as a discipline – if you want others to take UX seriously; you need to take it seriously and more to the point you have to promote the benefit
An interest in all aspects of design and technology – you have to be able to support your peers and that means understanding what they do as it impacts your own work
No, not everyone can be a UX designer.
Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Sitepoint.com Copyright terms and licence: All rights reserved. Img Source
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