Part 1: The Architect, the Hipster, and the User Experience Designer
Discover your role in the Tech industry. The tech industry is a fairly complex beast that can be intimidating to some; yet, there are a plethora of exciting opportunities in tech, so where does one start?
This post is the first of a three part series aimed at helping you find your best fit in the tech industry.
There are many different job titles in tech, but for simplicity sake most can be categorized into three different functions: you need people to design, build, and sell things. Some call the roles the hipster, the hacker, and the hustler. At RED, we call them the ABC’s: the architect, the builder, and the communicator. These three roles are the basis for our three streams: User Experience Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing. This post is focused on helping you determine whether you’ve got what it takes to be a user experience designer.
UX Design can be defined as the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product. Within the broad umbrella term of UX Design you have many sub-disciplines. It’s not just wire-framing and user interfaces!
There’s a lot of variety within the field of UX Design but here are a few common traits of a great UX Designer.
UX Design requires 1 part creative and 1 part critical thinking
The UX Design process pushes you to solve problems using divergent forms of thinking to create highly usable products. One needs to complement the creativity needed for the design stages with sound analytical thinking for the user research and user testing stages. All designs, no matter how pretty they are, need to be tested to see if they are meeting the needs of the user.
Humility is Key
It takes a lot of humility to be a UX designer. You’ll produce work that is beautiful, highly usable, and clearly the perfect product (according to you) that you’ll have to scrap because it disagrees with user feedback. It takes a complete removal of the ego to accept that your ideas aren’t correct when you’ve poured so much energy and time into them. You can’t care about being right; it’s all about the user.
Empathy through curiosity
The core trait of any great UX Designer is a strong sense of empathy. The quality of being empathic is one that is developed through a keen curiosity into how people think. There is a reason that so many people transition from the field of psychology into UX Design.
Similarly, we have seen many different creative types (playwrights, dancers, visual designers, etc.) transition into UX Design, as great creative types are deeply interested in people.
Detail orientated, but okay with hacking things together
The difference between an exceptional and horrible user experience is in the details. A user experience designer needs to be very perceptive to the details while also not losing sight of the bigger picture. While being meticulous in some stages is essential, you’ll also have times when you’ll need to bring your ideas to life as quickly as possible even if it means the results can be a bit rough.
If you’ve read this far and are still curious to see whether UX Design is for you here are a few things that you can do:
Read a lot!
Here are a few solid resources:
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- Boxes and Arrows: articles about design principles, processes and methods, interfaces and more.
- Nielsen Norman Group: reports and articles on research in user experience.
- Usability Geek: covers a broad range of topics within UX design.
- 52 Weeks of UX: a look into the trends of UX from the perspective two UX Designers.
Connect with people in industry
Find someone on LinkedIn that’s doing work that you find really interesting and reach out to him or her for an informational interview. Most people will be flattered that you’re interested in hearing their opinion so long as you’re respectful towards their time.
Attend a free workshop
At RED, we’re always hosting free intro classes in UX Design. Keep your eyes peeled on our Events page for all of our upcoming events.
Visit RED for a career consultation
If you’re interested in learning more, we’re always happy to host you for a one-on-one career consultation to help facilitate you finding your best fit. We can introduce you to some prior students, our instructional team, and provide you with more material to go through to familiarize yourself with the subject matter.
Email us at [email protected] for more information on our career consultations.
Author: Matt Parson
Creative Director / Lead Instructor, UI & Communication Design
Julie is a Designer with expertise in crafting highly engaging digital experiences for organizations like TELUS, YYoga, Escents, and Rutgers University at digital agency Pound & Grain. Originally from New-Caledonia, she joined the RED team where she uses her well-rounded set of skills and her background in fine arts & coding to fuel her strong enthusiasm for teaching UI & Communication Design.
Julie is passionate about thinking of innovative ways to leverage user-centric design at every possible moment - whether it's through her teaching, her design work, or while contributing to the betterment of her surroundings.