The difficult art of being a single interaction designer for 150 people

I wanted to share my experience because, if there is anyone else in this situation, I really want this person to know that he / she is not alone (come here, give me a hug).

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I work in a company that develops software for the healthcare segment. It’s a beautiful job. Helping people who care for the health of others do a better job and feel they have fulfilled their mission by completing their 12-hour shift (sometimes more). Thinking about things like that gives me enormous satisfaction.

There are 300 system developers / analysts / business analysts / project managers for two designers where I work. Dividing into equal parts, 150 for each of us to manage. It’s a hard work, believe me.

There are people who think our job is to do keynote. There are people who think there is a button in Photoshop to do UI / UX of a system. There are people who think that because we talk to the customer we are trying to steal their job. Some people think our job is to draw icons. There are those who think we are geniuses and in five minutes we will solve their problem only because of a story they have told us. There are people who think that we have to support their bad idea just because they are too lazy to make the optimal solution. There are people who think that what we do is disrupt, since what matters is that the system is working (whatever that means).

But stay calm, you do not have to despair: There are some people who know what we do, that we are here to help. There are people who keep their eyes shining when they see that working together we can do a cool job and deliver the best solution to our final user, who works on the 12-hour shift.

The best part is that the people who see us as a resource to help are increasing every day.

And, look, we’re not holy. We’re wrong, too. Sometimes he responds a little more rudely. Sometimes we are so tired for explaining, tired of showing empathy with everyone. But we recover quickly.

The recipe is to come in softly, show that the Y-way can get better than the X-way. Show it working. Take examples of how to do it. Show what other companies are doing in that direction and what they are gaining. Elect that team (often a small team, a small project) who is willing to receive help, listen and try something new. Start small. I know it will not always be easy to do this, but be nice. And the main thing is not to give up: approach in another way, in another front, sometimes do it hidden when you feel safe for this. Invite people from other companies to pass on their experience to the place where you work. Be willing to do the same too. Get up from the chair, say hello to people and dare ask how things are, if they are in need of help, ask to see their work, but not to oversee: to praise what you think that deserve and to offer your support.

Here, where I work, we find a project to work fulltime. And we separate a time every day to help those who need it, no matter how small the demand. It has worked. There is still a long way to go, but Chico Science was already saying: One step ahead and you will no longer be in the same place.

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