Business likes to think from business perspective and not users perspective. As new UX designers we may think a bad user design is when user experience is not thought out first. Although, it's important to remember that the main goal of user experience design has always been, and must always be, about generating and maximizing profit for the company you work for.
The TV commercials do it, the famous executives on twitter do it, even your grocery stores do it. They try to maximize the profit for their companies. Why not the software product that you are employed to design should focus on it?
Understanding the user requirements and researching their demography and aptitudes is important. Sketch, design and test your ideas before going all in. Think out side of the box. Iterate. When you come to a solution make sure you share it with the right people.
That aside, let's talk about the process for a little bit. Here are the list of must haves as a user experience designer:
- Deep user research (observing users in their natural environment)
- Developers and technical translators, users perspective
- Testing and watching how user react and respond
- Presenting and documenting and pitching and showcasing your work to people and other teams is a huge part of being a UX designer... concepts you created (make it understandable)
- Facilitate other groups and allow them to come together and co-create and collaborate is a big part of UX design
This point is so important that I must repeat it. "Facilitate other groups and allow them to come together and co-create and collaborate is a big part of UX design".
User experience is about working on what really matters. And what really matters is how we human beings interact and not only with technology but also with each other. As a UX developer don't forget to practice your human skills, for both communication (on the work) and manipulation (with your design). One of the best books you can read on the subject is by Dale Carnegie: How to win friends and influence other people.
How to land that first job...
Let's talk about how you land your first job without substantial work experience. This is not UX specific. Consider this to be applicable in other fields of work too.
- Build your network and meet new people. Follow them on twitter. Direct message on twitter is one of the most powerful tools.
- Build a really strong network by going to meetups and free events. Introduce yourself. Tell your story and what you represent.
- Volunteer at conferences to build a network of really senior and experienced people. People you look up to should know who you are.
- Volunteer to give talks even if you're nervous to get that practice and get your face out there as someone who knows stuff.
What hiring managers are really looking for...
Yes, what are they looking for anyways?
- It is actually really hard to find good people to work with. People who share the same values as the company do. Be that person. Research who they want to work with before going in an interview.
- You have to be great at communicating and not only your ideas. Your mood should be uplifting and you must be fun to hang out with.
- Great at activating other people to collaborate and get work done. One of the greatest assets anyone can possess in their career is activating other people around them.
- Have a really good thought process behind what you do. Don't stay in your bubble and popout when you have to show something. Involve others in your ideas. Ask them how they feel. Build something together.
If you're already working a job and trying to get into UX take from your current job what you already know and leverage that knowledge into UX. This will help you to look at a UX problem from another perspective.
How do I get a job without experience...
Build some projects. If you have relative or a friend that has a business and needs an overhaul you can work for free to build for them a small website. You can interview them, do some sketches, make some mockups and test some prototypes. Test with real people. Work on designing and showcase the result in your portfolio.
Thought process is really important. Your portfolio must express how you really think. People get hired just because of the way they think because that explains how they work. How you solve problems. Tell a story of who you are as a designer.
Here is a great example of this:
Think of three simple things that you offer as a designer that you can put in your portfolio. A simple workshop you ran. Or one artifact and tool that you use to do design. Or a process that you follow in your design thinking.
Find a company you actually want to work with and find the right person to send the first cold email to. Research and let the world know you're available for hire.