Who said UX was easy? — DAY 56

UX, as any field of study, is a broad subject. Nothing in UX just comes, nothing just pops up in your mind, and you never just start mastering some skill without hard working. If you’ve got to learn business, you have to go deeply into how the organizations work, how people interact inside them, how the organization itself interact with other companies, and so on. Of course this is not all, a B.B.A (Business Bachelor Administration), for instance, is an, at least, four years length course (usually five) where you learn about sociology, anthropology, finance, accounting, math, economy, strategy, and many other disciplines. If you decide to do a minor in marketing, for example, you’ll take extra psychology, strategic marketing, product strategy, market positioning and other classes. This is just about business, but the same is true for lawyers, doctors, engineerings, dentists, designers, and for every profession in the world.

Why am I talking about professions? Because I want to talk a little bit about UX Design. User Experience design is a trending profession, has even became a status profession, but what nobody told you is that it can be so complex as any engineering graduation out there. It’s probably more complex than many other graduation courses available nowadays, and this is because UX is a huge umbrella that encompasses many other specializations and involves lot’s of cross-knowledge. Inside the UX umbrella we have:

  • The UX Researcher
  • The UX Strategist
  • The Information Architecture Designer
  • The User Interaction Designer
  • The Visual Designer
  • And as many others nomenclatures as you had heard

So, who told you that UX Design would be easy? Was the same who said that as you were good at drawing you would be an excellent graphic designer? Oh, they also told you that this UX thing pays very well and needs only a couple months to get started? Sorry to tell you, but you are so naive!

UX Design is about problem-solving, and problem-solving is never easy. First of all, to identify the problem itself you should be very skilled. You’ll have to understand companies and relate it with people. When I say people, I say understanding about psychology, cognition, emotion, behaviors... Understand that they are not like you, and that they aren’t even like each other. This is the first point to start going towards your design problem.

After define the problem you’ll start designing. And this is the other part of the challenge. A website, an app, a device, or anything that you design can be used by so many different people as possible, and as an UX designer your role is to understand how to make this experience as better as possible, anticipating and avoiding as much problems (read: errors) as possible. You’ll create solutions and test it. Iterate it. Test it. Iterate it. Test it. Iterate it… And only after a long way, after many failures (controlled failures) you’ll get your success, your final result. With your best solution, as an UX designer you’ll still have to measure it and make sure it will perform well. You’ll write your learns, thoughts, discoveries, and only after all this work you’ll be done with this project.

Now you understand why I was talking about the other professions? UX Design is a complete and complex position that requires an excellent understanding of the whole process, a very good communication skill, some (maybe a lot) project management skills, definitely leading skills and all the technical skills that any other member of your team will have (probably not at the same level). As any other profession, it takes time to be learned and it usually comes upon hands-on experience. Projects, projects and projects. Success, failure, ‘just ok’ results. Everything helps an UX designer to build his personality, his knowledge, his perceptions, his style and his leading characteristic.

My advice for beginners is the same that I’ve used all my career long: learn from others. You can learn many times faster if you observe the others, read good books (The elements of User Experience; Don’t Make me Think!; The design of everyday things), follow influencers on Medium, follow their personal blogs, cold e-mail them with relevant questions, go to Meet Ups, share your opinion, and always try to leave your comfort zone. It sounds pretty common, but as I’ve been saying all the time: UX Design is a very common profession. As hard as any other, as captivating as any other, as rewarding as any other. So, just act like you would do with any other: study, understand your current situation, but always follow your dream, be focused, determined, and you’ll get there.


Roberto Pesce — aboutuser.com

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