In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our experts consider what it takes to stand out in the growing field of User Experience. As more and more companies realize the importance of good UX design and hire more designers, many people outside the field of User Experience are attracted to the opportunities this field offers and becoming UX designers. While some have the necessary education and talent to become good UX designers, others do not. Unfortunately, the field of UX design is becoming commoditized because some weak UX designers are willing to work for ridiculously low wages, and companies that aren’t able to discriminate between great, good, and poor designers just go with the least expensive option.
Our expert panel explores how to make yourself stand out in the current competitive environment, making specific recommendations for how and what you should communicate about not only your skills, but also about how your design work can fit within a company’s goals. Because it is important to balance business goals and design goals in our work, we need to consider how our work will affect a company—and maybe society at large—over the long term. Our panelists also encourage designers who are working for companies that do not value them to look for other opportunities. Of course, this discussion could be applied to many fields. Read More
Having managed UX professionals at various levels for many years, I find that, after five to seven years working in user experience, they often ask, “What’s next?” in their career. Some become managers of UX groups, while others, who continue to enjoy doing the work, advance to the most senior level of their current role.
But there’s one group of UX professionals whose path is less obvious. They’ve likely been working in a UX Architect or Information Architect role, doing a mix of user research and design activities. These people often reach a point where they’re feeling less challenged—and that the work they’re doing is the same, day in and day out. Even the discovery of new ideas, concepts, and methods that is part of working in user experience—for example, responsive Web design or Lean UX—and would previously have ignited their interest or presented new challenges has ceased to do so. They have likely gained strong leadership skills and, when working on projects, tend to think more broadly than the user-interface design solution currently at hand. If this sounds like you, you may be suited to a career in service design. Read More
Because the field of User Experience offers interesting problems to solve, a fast pace, and lucrative salaries, its professions have gained attention and grown in popularity over the years. As a consequence, a steady stream of people have reached out to me to learn more about my career path and my daily work experience and to request practical tips for breaking into the field. In this article, I’ll provide the key points that I share with these people to help them get started in User Experience.
Meetups are a great way to get your feet wet, learn the UX lingo, see whether you’re really interested in the industry, meet UX professionals, and learn about job openings. I was actually incredibly lucky to land a UX research internship at the very first meetup I ever attended. I realize now how crazy that was, but I’m definitely glad I decided to venture out to the meetup after work that day. Read More