There are a few professions which have a certain problem: everyone thinks they can do it. I’ve started a few years ago as a graphic designer. And besides thousands of thousands of new design students entering the design market every year there are far more people who can think they can design too, because they have a copy of photoshop. And even in a company where there’s a design department you can find some coworkers outside that department who say things out loud like:
It would be so great, everyone should have a word to say when it comes to design.
Well, I’ll think I let that just sink in…
Unfortunately it’s quite the same with UX. Yes, it’s right that UX targets the user, aka maybe you, dear wannabe UX pro. And yes, sometimes you are able to say that “this is not right!”… Thank you! I congratulate you to your proper working common sense.
I have to admit, when I find myself in such situations most of the time I get unusually angry. I have to make myself remember to take a deep breath and stay neutral and calm and reasonable, instead of defending “my” profession like a pissed-of lion mother defending her cubs. It works far less than I’d like to 🙁
But nonetheless, what are the reasons, one should hire an UX Pro instead of trying to let it do someone else (like the graphics artist/designer, he does the layout and interface after all, then he should have all skills that are needed…)?
- Most UX Pros I’ve met have a certain passion, they love their work. And often they have a certain gift. Everyone has. Some are good designers, because they have the eye for colors, typography, layout. Some are born to be a big business guy and to stand on big stages and hold speeches. An UX pros? First of all, they have eye and ear for the customer (aka user), they are able to understand the audience, their problems, their goals, the project and solution. And because of their experiences and trainings they understand it much more than someone who is not into UX.
- UX Design is not about individual preferences and customer wishes. Never (even if you are working for a company and the boss doesn’t like your solution. It’s all about the users, and bosses are seldom part of them. But that’s a different chapter). UX Pros know that. Maybe they have learned that a hard way. UX is always about the users and their context, about their experiences and their tasks.
- Their training and education took the same amount of time as the professional education of everyone else. Nobody would dare to think they could set up a sales report or program an mobile app or do a chemists work. There are certain skills only a UX Pro has. Despite all the user research findings and articles most of us read every day to stay up to date…
Sometimes it’s a fight an UX Pro has to fight over and over again. Sometimes one just has to accept hearing “But I don’t like it like that” in every meeting. The best strategy is to have bulletproof arguments for the own solution. Best case would be if you have user testings that show, that it’s good and matches the requirements.
Feedback is always good, and sometimes an outside look can bring the best UX Pro back on track. One should never close oneself on that. But competences and responsibilities should be clear. If not it’ll probably end in chaos…