Since I was a kid, I was very passionate about reading and solving puzzles. Also, I was very curious and ambitions, and I guess these are the main things that are staying behind of what I’ve become today. Right now, I am working as a UX Concept Designer, and I am proud of this thing. I know that my job is very useful for people and I am trying to help them to have a good experience while navigating through different products. Currently, at my job, I am working with patients, caregivers, and sometimes with myself as a professional. I know that building a product is involving a lot of knowledge and dedication.
You are a user, too
From all the interviews I had with users, from all the experience I gained from the past projects, and from simply watching and listening in different circumstances, I’ve learned that everyone is a user. I’ve met a lot of UX designers that they are reporting to the user like they are some entities like they are some ‘target’, not like they are the same as them: people. We are not different from our users and all our work should be around them, and not around us. We, as UX Designers, need to be the voice of our people because we are standing for them in there, and that’s our job, not to consider us superior. We are learning based on interviews with users, we are learning from shadowing, we are learning from all those situations in which we are users in different circumstances, we are learning from everywhere.
I am not understanding all that superiority that, sometimes, comes from specialists in different domains. We are all connected by needs, desires, questions, answers, and experience. So, why to be superior to other people? Why be superior to someone who is working, for example, as a cashier at the supermarket? Sorry for disappointing you, but without that person, it’s pretty probable that you will have an empty fridge. Why be superior to streets cleaners and not treat them with respect? They help us to live in a clean city, and to have a great experience while we are having a walk in the city. And the list can continue.
Be a great UX designer
So, what you really need to be a great UX designer and not only someone with a function-name?
- Do not forget that you are a user, too. Keep in mind that everything in this world is following a cycle, and the people are linked to each other. Understanding this cycle is more important than anything else. You are not the specialist in your everyday life, you are a user all the time. You may have some degrees, some diplomas, but they do not vouch for what you know and how you apply things. So, by the user.
- Be empathetic. I know that are still specialists that are confusing the empathy with mercy, but they are different words. For more explanations about this topic, I invite you to read the awesome article by Scott Jenson, ‘The paradox of empathy’.
- Learn to listen. Listen to what people are talking during your interview and be focused on what they are really saying. Not following the exact timeline and scenarios is not the end of your careers. Also, listen and keep the eyes wide open during a shadowing activity. And, not less important than these, learn to listen to the feedback in no matter which forms it will come. It will be the way through you will evolve.
- You are not all-pervasive. Learning is a quality that can be explored at every age because we are not knowing everything and it’s never enough to learn something. Nowadays, we live in a society in which a lot of things are moving on, so you will need to be honest when you are not knowing something and to say that to others, to not share wrong information. As I said, it is not an embarrassment to show that you are human, too.
- You are the voice of people. Do not forget that your job is to be the voice of other people, you need to understand them. Go on the street, go on the market, go to the hospital, go whatever where the people are and observe their habits, their style, their mimics. Do not judge them for their choices, their words, their behavior because somewhere else, for someone else, you are a user, too.
- Do not think that people are stupid. I usually hear around me, ‘Oh, the users are stupid, they can’t navigate on this easy thing?’ and it makes me sad. Every human being is coming with a different legacy, and even we share common things, we have different experiences. If someone is not navigating easily on a Website that doesn’t mean that person is somehow… And, please, remember those moments when you weren’t able to install something by yourself, as well.
So, this is my kind of manifesto for those ones that are forgetting their role, their place, and the importance of being human. We all want to make this world a better place, and we need to start by ourselves, by doing our job better.