What does it take to be a great US professional? Is it enough to say I design with the users in mind or I’m a user advocate? Well, that’s a good start, but we can’t stop there. Almost anyone can say that. And everyone on the team is responsible for looking after the user. So really, what distinguishes a UX professional from other roles on the team?
It’s user research. UX without users is not UX.
It’s X, which means don’t do it. UX requires users. We need to have users to give us insight and give us feedback. Having us in your title or even having a US department, does it mean that we’re practicing U x? Even the most well thought out designs are only assumptions until we validate them with our end users. Pushing our designs without user input is extremely dangerous and problematic. Don’t push out things that you think are great. Push out things that you know are great.
What of the biggest challenges for teams is support from organizations to do user research? The problem is amplified with these quick release product development cycles where team members are so pressure to push our product as quickly as they can.
When quantity is valued over quality, what often happens is that user research gets pushed to the side and that’s a tragic mistake.
UX and user research and this information that we gain from user research is what gives us the competitive edge. It doesn’t matter how many products we ship out, if it’s a bad product, we’re just shipping out more bad things.
So how do you become a great UX professional?
Invest in more face time with your users, lead by example, lead with evidence, lead with data. Your team will appreciate you for this. So don’t give us lip service, walk the talk, do the research and reap the benefits.