Mature designers are able to exhibit a range of skills to take stories from people we are designing for and convert those stories into opportunities, aggregate and group and then communicate to see what the competition may not be aware of.
In other words, designers should have a clear idea that the work they do is not for their own need, or for their own ego but for the needs of the people they are designing for.
Mature designers also understand when to introduce their opinion and how to back up that opinion with relevant experience, evidence or design rationale.
Some skills mature designers may demonstrate:
- Listening — actively listen to people they are designing for to understand needs and goals
- Bridging — taking stories and bridging these stories into observations that can be grouped and defined further
- Iterating — taking observations from stories and iterating to see if there is additional goodness towards identifying insights
- Zooming — ability to zoom into the details and also zooming out or standing back to see the implications on the whole system
- Adapting — ability to adapt to new stories and variables that can tweak the design direction and be comfortable with this
- Aggregating — taking stories, observations and insights and knowing where to group these as it maps to tangible artefacts, so that the insights can be reused for future business needs
- Communicating — ability to communicate clearly to people on the project and to the people in the business independent of their role or seniority.
These skill should reside within a practice framework that understands the elements at play holistically
Of course, to assess this well, you need to do design work on a real project with the designer to assess if they are as good as they say they are.