This article was inspired by a discussion at last week’s Silicon Valley IxDA meeting, where Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong spoke on the topic “Sleepwalking + Designing for a Healthy Future,” which got me thinking about what qualities one must have to be an effective UX professional. So much of success derives from mindset rather than skillsets, and mindset takes a lifetime to develop—or, for those of us who believe in reincarnation, multiple lifetimes. Your mindset derives from your life experiences and the way you respond to them, as well as what you learn from those who influence you greatly—such as your parents, mentors, and spiritual teachers. Read More
A common observation within organizations of various sizes is that people generally get caught up with being busy at work. Being busy can be an attractive mode for workers because it can give the impression that they are important to the work they’re doing. However, if people get too caught up in busy work and work tasks that are too transactional in nature, this can lead them down a path and into a space in which they simply do not have time to reflect. This is a very serious problem that affects how people inform and approach their work and how they gain clarity in making decisions every day.
In this article, we’ll examine reflection as a critical work practice and outline how you can improve the practice of reflection—both for yourself and for your organization—by applying strategies for deep reflection to both learning and decision making. We’ll also consider spaces, units of analysis, and lenses for reflection, then look at the role of reflection in decision making. Finally, we’ll discuss the organizational benefits of establishing an MMW (Make Meaningful Work) Studio as a sustainable space for reflection and how this contributes to a healthy work culture. Read More
Perhaps you’re thinking about a career specializing in user research. Perhaps you’re looking to hire a user researcher. Or perhaps you manage or work with user researchers. If so, you might be thinking about what qualities lead a person to succeed in user research. While others have written about this topic—notably Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain in a 2010 column on UXmatters—I want to add my own perspective based on what I’ve observed specializing in user research over the past 17 years.
The following list of characteristics may seem daunting, but you don’t have to be a perfect ten in all of them. There are certainly areas in which I have strengths and weaknesses. We all have room for improvement. But the more of these qualities you possess, the more well suited you are for a career in user research. In this column, when I refer to a user researcher, I mean both user-research specialists and generalists who do both user research and design. Read More