User experience design is having a big moment. Companies are embracing UX designers at a staggering rate, opening job roles in every direction, and there’s never been more people interested in learning more about UX design.
- 5 top UX design trends for 2017 (opens in new tab)
This isn’t surprising to anyone already involved in UX design, as we have secretly known for a while that we are actually doing the best job in the world. Here are 10 reasons why:
01. We work with lots of different disciplines
Digital design cannot be achieved on your own. To build anything, you may need to work closely with any combination of designers, developers, copywriters, product managers, project managers, testers, creatives, strategists, business stakeholders and so on.
A UX designer cannot do their job effectively without knowing about how other people do theirs. This daily interaction with other people makes being a UX designer really pleasurable. Learning new skills that improve your work, and getting other disciplines to see through UX eyes, can be really rewarding.
02. We explore different tools and processes
UX designers don't follow the same exact steps day-in, day-out. We are always experimenting and picking the right tool, process or deliverable for the job.
On any given day, we can reach into our ‘toolkit’ and use something completely different to the day before to get the job done. Unlike many other careers, there are very few tool or process absolutes in our world, which makes for a sense of freedom, flexibility and choice that is really refreshing.
03. We peek into other people’s lives
A big part of being a UX designer is talking to people and finding out about their world. You'll research a problem by meeting real humans to discuss how it affects them, how they feel, and what their needs are. These insights into people’s lives, thoughts and motivations are always fascinating and useful.
Getting a peek into people’s minds, digging a little and coming back with nuggets of information about what makes them tick and what makes them click is a sure-fire way to find out a ton about all types of people in lots of different areas of life.
04. We’re at the cutting edge of tech
It’s important for UX designers to stay up to date with the latest goings on in technology and to be educated about the possibilities of where tech can take us, so we can help push the envelope ourselves through the products and experiences that we create.
It is absolutely legitimate research for us to download apps to to see how they work, to experiment with frankly magical tech like VR, and to get that latest gadget!
05. Creativity and innovation is expected
Working in a creative job means that it is expected that we think 'outside the box’ and don’t necessarily conform. From our working spaces and processes, to our products and solutions, questioning the rules is a must-have trait.
To design is to ask questions about everything. Being able to work in an environment where everything is questioned and re-evaluated is really thrilling.
06. We’re part of a great community
The amount of support, advice and opinions that are freely accessible to UX designers is amazing. From social media to conferences and meetups, there are loads of ways you can really sink your teeth, improve your knowledge and meet fellow designers.
Whether on social media or in real life, the UX design community is extremely welcoming. There’s always someone keen to talk shop, compare notes and share their knowledge.
07. We love testing and improving
UX designers are all about testing, measuring and improving. We don’t just design stuff and throw it out there - we actively want to check it works. This process of measuring, either qualitatively or quantitatively, gives our work the best chance of success in the real world.
Our emphasis on measuring and learning allows us to establish very quickly what the real-world impact of our work is and make any necessary adjustments. This can translate into high levels of job satisfaction for UX designers because we are very clearly connected to the impact our designs are having.
08. We can choose our skillsets
There is much flexibility when it comes to the type of UX designer you want to be. Do you want to specialise in a core skill like design research or information architecture and become an expert? Plenty of designers choose to focus on the one aspect of UX they are most passionate about.
Others prefer to remain more generalist and pick up a variety of skills so they can flex their UX muscles across a range of projects. As a UX designer you can slide in between these two extremes throughout your career to make sure you’re always learning and providing maximum value.
09. We mentor one another
One of the surprising things about UX is that there is no shortage of people offering up their considerable experience and expertise as mentors, or people who’d like to find a mentor to help guide them on their UX journey.
UX culture really encourages mentoring, which is beneficial both to the person receiving the mentoring and to the person being the mentor. This culture of knowledge sharing and caring about the people around us is a very special aspect of our industry that just isn’t shared with many other careers.
10. We make a difference
UX designers get to go to work and think about how to improve people’s lives through technology. Our focus is on people and making their experience of a product or service the best it can be. The idea of making an impact on someone's life in a tangible way is incredibly rewarding and a great motivator.