Don’t employ a UX designer
Misconstruing the term
UX. I have an issue with the term and its association with web design. Designers struggle to explain it, clients struggle to sell it to their business, no one really understands what it includes. The main thing to understand is user experience isn’t a website, it’s an intangible thing and your whole service is defined by it. There’s no point having a great looking website if the service behind it is failing its customers.
I’m an advocate of sharing the task of creating a good user experience across the team (including clients), and ensuring everyone believes in it without delegating it to the ‘UX person’. I’m an advocate of sharing knowledge and getting everyone involved in research and design so people can appreciate the craft and become part of it.
Agencies across the UK are looking for that “unicorn designer”. The one who can design something which looks great and can code it up. The term “jack of all trades, master of none” springs to mind…
What do we mean by User Experience?
It’s certainly not just making something look good. Some of the best digital experiences look awful, but they just work. It’s the end to end experience. That time you make someone’s life convenient by meeting a real need. That time someone doesn’t need to call you in an irate mood because they did it for themselves using your service.
User Experience isn’t a discipline we should be selling. It should be a thought process we’re encouraging that brings knowledge, discovery, efficiency, usability, accessibility and quality to every discipline throughout the business. The design process should then utilise all those things to produce informed designs influenced by research. So when you’re trying to hire a UX designer, you should actually be trying to encourage user experience throughout your business, and then hiring good people to instil it.
Don Norman (Author of The Design of Everyday Things) explains this pretty well.
That leads me on to my next point…
How can I make things better?
Empathy is the key here to understand your users/customers and to really be a part of the process. Get away from your desk, sit with people, understand things and work out where the problems lie. Then you’re taking charge of the experience, understanding the pain points and needs, then making them better for everyone. This is where you need a great team of people who are all encouraging a good user experience from directors to designers.
If you’re looking to build a team, we’re happy to help. Get in touch.