Live from LavaCon: Hunting Unicorns: What Makes an Effective UX Professional

Hunting Unicorns: What Makes an Effective UX Professional, by Patrick Neeman,

lavacon2014Patrick has to build a UX team – which is very difficult. There are a lot of UX skills that come through experience, so when Patrick is talking with designers he has to tell them how to develop their skills.

  • Nine Essential Characteristics of Good UX Designers, by Fred Beecher – the one article that seems to talk about this.
  • There is no front door to UX – everyone comes in from a different direction. (Editor’s Note: I talk about this in my talk tomorrow!)
  • Nobody grows up to be a UX designer.

“A compartmentalist isolates themselves from other disciplines around them, not really learning what they do or how they do it.” -Jared Spool

The hard skills

The competencies of User Experience

  • User research & Analytics
  • Content Strategy
  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Front End Development

A few options:

  • Interaction designer, who does interaction design, IA, and research
  • Visual designer, who does interaction design, visual design, and front end dev
  • Content strategist, who does content strategy and IA
  • Design technologist, who does visual design and front end development
  • The core Apptio team: a mix of them all, with lots of overlap

But that’s all assuming we just need to learn the hard skills to be UX practitioners.

Soft skills

A UX designer must be:

  • Empathy
  • Curiosity
  • Methodical
  • Pragmatic
  • Fearless
  • Self aware
  • Articulate
  • Passionate

Empathy: we have to step into the shoes of the users we are designing for.
Curiosity: we are always asking “why?”
Systematic: put together a way to organize information
Pragmatic:  we have to be able to make tough choices, and know how to get out of situations
Fearless: willing to take risks and try new things
Self-Aware: identify what they can contribute, rather than just trying to be “the best”
Articulate: good communicators
Passionate: we care about what we’re doing and why!

Any of the solutions we create require some combination of these soft skills.

We need UX to become better defined, so that others will see us as we see ourselves.

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