One of the most common discussions in UX is about who should make UX decisions and who should have the responsibility of thinking about the user. So let’s look at two related questions:
Can anybody do UX? Can everybody?
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The stupid answer:
Can anybody do UX? Yes.
Can everybody do UX? No.
Feeling smarter yet?
Didn’t think so. You’re not alone.
The real answer:
Any person can learn to be a UX designer.
Ok, maybe not your average serial killer. But pretty much anyone else.
There are a lot of people out there — you might be one of them — who would make amazing UX designers, and we need all the help we can get. If you think this might be for you, get started!
If you are a person who can be creative and analytical, those are the ingredients of a good UX designer.
Anybody could be a UX designer. Definitely. Some people might be better suited for it than others — like any job — but anybody can learn.
However, UX is not just common sense. It is very uncommon sense.
UX must be learned.
If you think you were born with UX skills, you’re probably doing it wrong.
So when it comes to “everybody” the answer is a little trickier.
Why this isn’t a stupid question:
UX-by-Committee doesn’t work.
If everybody in your company tries to be “the UX guy” all the time, it becomes chaos. You end up with 10 different people defining ten different paths to an unclear goal.
Or, in other words: every government website ever. Thanks Obama.
User Experience design includes a lot of counter-intuitive things, and it is a set of interpretive skills like stand-up comedy or writing a movie script. There are many good ways to do it, but there are thousands of bad ones.
A comedian doesn’t try to make 100% of people laugh. They try to make jokes as funny as possible. That’s an important difference.
If you tried to get a team of people to “design” jokes, you would end up with the worst stand-up routine ever.
UX works the same way.
In real life, when a “committee” of people does UX, only the safest, most obvious solutions pass the test — if they can agree on the problem and the goals in the first place. (And yes, this is still true if you do Lean UX.)
Design-by-committee actually creates the worst UX, not the best.
But that doesn’t mean that the whole company shouldn’t be involved.
Your whole company should help with UX, but you should lead.
The UX designer is often in the middle of everything, collecting information from every department and keeping track of requirements from all four corners of the company.
No designer is an island.
We need everyone’s help.
The key thing to remember is that you are the leader of the UX decisions. Everybody else should give input, and provide information, and find problems for you to solve, and help you understand the things that are not central to your work.
And then you design the solutions.
When everybody in a company supports the idea of focusing on the users, your whole life will be easier and your results will be better.
Remember: with great power comes great responsibility. You are the UX leader, so the mistakes are yours.
That’s why you need everybody else’s help.
Tomorrow we will answer the question: “Is UX just marketing and development working together?”