Don’t forget to UX yourself!

Have you ever received an email from a UX colleague that made no sense because they hadn’t provided you with the necessary context?

Have you ever asked your UX researcher how to do a small task and been told to refer to 40-page process document?*

Have you ever been at a presentation by a UXer and noticed a lot of technical or industry jargon being used without being explained?

If yes, we have something in common. I’ve come across this ‘phenomenon’ in almost all of my jobs, and it always stumps me.


When you work in User Experience, your goals usually include making your products easier for your users to use and understand. You strive to work in a user-centric way, checking in with your audience regularly through research, and taking pains to ensure your messages and interactions are simple, clear and effective.

This is great, and how it should be. But why do we switch all this off when we’re not designing or researching?

Do unto your colleagues as you would do unto your users

Everyone is a user, and all your interactions with people are your products. Not just your design and research outputs.

Try and think of your colleagues as your users, and even better, put yourself in their shoes and have a little empathy. What’s going on for them right now? What could you do to make things really delightfully easy for them? How could you change what you do to better support how they work?

Photo by George Marks, found on

Remember to stop and think

We’re all busy. We all have no time. But actually, we do, if we believe we do. Take a moment before you open your mouth, before you hit send, and think. How can I make this really clear? Do I need to give some background or set some context? Will (insert name here) understand what I mean? Am I using their language?

Look and listen for feedback

By looking and listening you can pick up some valuable feedback (just like in research sessions), and use that to iterate how you next interact with that person.

It never hurts to ask

You can always ask for feedback! You can even take it to the next level and do a “colleague needs analysis”. Yes, I really just said that.

It doesn’t just need to be at work

You can take this as far as you like — family, friends, the general public. The only limits are your own.

Ultimately what I’m trying to say is, if you’re a UXer (and even if you’re not) try and live more broadly by the principles you use in your work, for your users. The people around you may not think to say thanks, but they will be appreciative, even on a subconscious level.

*yep, this was me. Guilty as charged. I’m working on it :)

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