Advice for a first day in UX


As the MEX initiative enters its 18th year, I’m hearing a common problem among heads of design agencies and those leading user experience teams in corporations: finding, training and retaining talented graduates.  It’s hardly surprising as demand for user-centred design in digital has never been higher and outstrips the relatively small supply of university courses teaching the requisite skills.

It is important industry works closely with academia, both to communicate the skills they seek in graduates and to help teach them by sharing best practice.  It is, of course, a two way street and those practitioners I know who engage with universities in this way often learn as much from the students as they themselves teach – if you can, get involved with your local university.

MEX will do more in this area, building on long-term relationships we have with both universities and industry.  Part of this will be in publishing more content to help build relationships between students and professionals.

As an example, I recently asked the MEX community: “If you could give one piece of advice to a new user experience designer on their first day of work, what would it be?”   Some of the responses are below:

“User test. It might sound obvious but you would be surprised by how often I meet new user experience designers who say: ‘Well, the deadline is Friday and the boss says there’s no time.’ There is never enough time or money in my experience, so I say work with what you can do with the time you have, but never exclude the user from the design process.” — Shannon McCluskey

“Use everything you know, and remember that you know nothing!” — Brad Hutchison

“Learn to speak the language of your internal stakeholders.” — Giuliano Maciocci

“No mercy with developers & product managers.” — Fransiska Groenland

“Watch. Wait. Journal your first month – chances are you won’t see the business and product with those fresh eyes for very long.” — Justin Stach

What would you add?  Post a comment.


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  1. 3
    Sameer Pirmohamed

    In your discussions with your colleagues from different departments, drop in a questions “Who are our users?” You will learn a great deal. Do they have a clear idea? Do all your colleagues see things the same? How do they talk about users?

    You will learn a great deal from those who know, you will identify those who don’t really know, and will be able to pitch future conversations with colleagues in the right way

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