Is UX Right for Me?
So I was thinking about, you know, what are some of the skills and traits of successful UX designers? And, you know, I would stay that these are some of the ones, and you always here about this, like, curiosity, optimism, empathy, comfortable with uncertainty, social skills, self taught, sale skills, experimentation. I would say that out of all of these, the most important ones are empathy, drive, and self education because if you have these three, you can learn the rest. If you don't have those three, like, you can learn social skills, you can learn sale skills, you can learn how to communicate better. You can even learn how to become more comfortable with uncertainty. Because I sure as heck was not comfortable with uncertainty when I started out. That was like one of the biggest frustrations points for me was how no one's telling me what to do. But you can learn to get better at that if you have the drive, if you're willing to constantly educate yourself, and if you're good at puttin...
g yourself in other people's shoes. Like those are three things that are really hard to learn. I think it's hard to teach ambition. So then I thought to myself, you know, what are some other things that-- 'cause this sort of like of abstract like, "Okay empathy- I think I might have it. I don't know; I think I'm driven." Let's look at some more concrete examples of things that I know a lot of UX designers do in their lives. If you frequently get annoyed with things that aren't as good as they could be, UX might be for you. Like if that sentence, if you see this sentence and you're like, "Yeah." If that makes sense to you, take a look at UX. If you obsess over how you lay out your space before throwing a party, UX might be for you, right. Because you're trying- for example I was recently at a work barbecue. I had so much fun with my co-workers. They're amazing people. Like first time I'm really enjoying myself at a job. And so we went to this barbecue patio, and the way the seats were laid out in there, you could tell like people were trying to all talk to each other, but there was no way for groups to form because you had like two benches here and one long one there. And there was no way for everyone to talk to each other like in a circle. And then I was sitting there thinking, is there any way we can lay out this differently like quickly? I don't know, but if even if we all set up that long bench, still you know, little groups would form of four right because you can't really talk from this end to the other end. And I actually said that to the other folks in the room. And they're like "Ah, you're a designer. You're already thinking about the experience here." And I honestly was like, I didn't realize what I was doing I was like, "Wait you're telling me that not everyone does this?" And yeah so, and I know a lot of my good friends who are also-- some of my designer friends they obsess over this stuff right like. What's the best way to lay out this space? If we put this here, and they're coming in here, and they might be sitting here. And this would be a cool place where they could gather. If you do that, UX might be for you. If you have this mindset, that you're always wondering, "What if we did it this way? Alright. What if we did it like that? I don't know." That's that curiosity right. That's that "what if" thinking. UX might be for you. Also if you're really good at putting yourself in other people's shoes, like almost to a fault. Where you like put up with more than you should because you understand where the other person is coming from, alright. "I mean, yeah, they're doin' that, but I understand. Don't you understand?" That means you have a lot of empathy, and UX might be for you. And actually controversial opinion, but if you have a lot of this, you oftentimes don't even need a lot of research. But a lot of people would disagree with me on that. But if you have extreme empathy, you can get by on less research. Also, if you don't mind spending large chunks of your life in front of a computer, UX might be for you. Because you know, if you take away all of like this coolness of this of it, that people are trying to sell you, at the end of the day you're spending a lot of time in front of a screen moving things around. If that doesn't appeal to you, you're not gonna last. And finally, if you don't mind working on crappy projects with bad pay for about two years because a lot of time when I used to teach this at vocational schools, you had these people who had like no experience, and they immediately wanted to jump in and work at like whatever Apple or something And it was so funny. Because a lot of times they couldn't even tell me why. It's like, "I wanna work at Facebook." "Really, why?" "Well, I mean like-- they're so-- it's because they're--" They couldn't really explain why they wanted to work there. And the fact is when you're getting in to the industry, and you don't have much to offer those first projects, like you better take whatever you can get. And you better be happy about it that you're getting anything at all because there are people that aren't getting things. And that's how I started out too. Like I was working on projects for like ten bucks an hour. And I was happy because like each one of those, I learned something right. It was like a step, a progression, you know each job taught me something that I was then able to use in the next. And over time that builds up right. It's like intellectual compound interest. And finally, you know, the UX field at this point is pretty competitive. I wouldn't do it just because you heard you can make a lot of money and work from home once or twice a week right. You're not gonna last because the field is competitive and it's not that big. You can probably fit all the UX designers in the world into like Warriors Stadium. So the field is competitive, the people are really good, and you shouldn't get into this because you're doing it for the money because otherwise you won't be able to put up with those two, three years of being frequently annoyed and with clients that don't really understand what you're doing and pay late. So you need to really care about the stuff in order to push past that to when it gets better. Okay, so if you found this interesting, if you liked listening to me, connect with me. Find me on Twitter. Find me on Linkedin. Send me an email. Check out my website. If you have any other questions, just reach out. I'm very accessible.