Ever since I transitioned from a graphic design role to a UX design role over the past year, I?ve grown curious about how other members in the UXSG community think about evaluating our own skill set and improving it.
This was not an easy question to answer, and I wasn’t expecting all the ?right answers? (not sure if they?exist) from the community?either. That said, I?m thankful for all the input suggested!
What does it mean to be capable in the UX field?
It means being good at:
- Recruiting – The ability to find motivated users for interviewing purposes
- Empathising with users – The ability to listen to the user, understand the user and relate to the user in a deep way
- Analysing research – The ability to turn research into insight
- Coming up with solutions – The ability to create solutions that meet or even exceed the objectives of the user
- Managing stakeholders? needs – The ability to balance business needs with user needs
How do you evaluate and measure your competency in the skills above?
These are some indicators to look out for:
- You are able to produce a screener survey that gets you the right type of users who are keen to be interviewed.
- Empathising with users:
- You are able to ask users the right type of questions to tease out relevant information to understand their problems.
- You are able to capture all relevant information from the user during the live interview with them. You can test this by recording the user interview you?ve conducted, and listen to the recording to see if there?s anything new that you didn?t capture during the live interview.
- You are able to understand exactly what the user meant during your interview with them. You can test this by rephrasing what the user said to them.
- You are aware of your own judgment / bias
- Analysing research:
- You are able to come up with insights that are surprising and other people can agree with.
- Coming up with solutions:
- Metrics of the solutions you came up with based on the insights match or exceed you and/or your user’s expectations
- Managing stakeholders? needs:
- You are able to persuade and get buy-in from business stakeholders
How do you improve on these skills? (Apart from constant practising)
- Get feedback for your user interview from the participant
- Work with a mentor that you think is more capable in the skills than you
- Have a weekly 1-1 evaluation with yourself, a mentor, or a peer, of what you have done to highlight areas of improvement, and then act on those accordingly. This tight feedback loop accelerates progress
Bonus: What does the competence ladder for UX look like?
- Level 1: Execution
- Level 1.1: You execute by strictly following instructions given by someone else more senior.
- Level 1.2: You follow instructions, but are able to improvise on the go as well.
- Level 2: Design research – You are able to design a research project to understand user needs
- Level 3: Generate solution – You are able to interpret research findings, come up with insights and generate solutions based on those
- Level 4: Mentor – You have sufficient experience to be confident and able to guide others to go from Level 1 to Level 4
You may also want to check out the Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill.
That’s all?I?ve gathered during the session.?I hope this is useful for anyone to consider when starting out on their UX skill set learning journey. If you have other suggestions, feel free to add more in the comments!