Tips for the professional UX designer
Layoffs, the continuing pandemic, and the evolving hybrid workplace—business is not as usual, according to Eric Dorf, a senior lead UX designer at Google.
“The industry is constantly churning,” he says. “It’s like a flywheel and we all need to stay one step ahead.”
For UX designers, that means broadening your skills beyond design, becoming problem solvers, and thinking strategically beyond the look and feel of the product.
The next opportunity
“As companies are tightening their budgets, the role of the growth designer is on the rise,” Dorf says. People are being asked to do marketing, research, and to understand the business strategy. “You’re often bootstrapped to be that one-stop shop designer.”
The good news is that we’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to keeping ourselves up to date in the industry. We all need to look at our skills and consider what’s missing, where are the gaps in our skills that might be keeping us from being really competitive?
“It’s a gut check,” Dorf says “It’s not a one size fits all.”
In his Mobile Interface Design and Designing User Experience for AR, Smart Things, Virtual Reality, and Wearable Technology courses at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension, Dorf emphasizes strategic thinking in design and curiosity, to think about the metrics and what’s keeping the lights on at night. It’s important to see the whole gamut and have leadership skills, he says.
The three-legged stool
A UX professional knows UX business, design thinking, and strategy.
“What I teach my students is how they can design and craft the product experience with this in mind and be that key differentiator on the team,” Dorf says. “The designer can be the person who asks ‘what are we really trying to solve here? What are the frameworks we need to have in place to solidify this thinking?’”
It’s not about pushing pixels but about how you create meaningful solutions and solve user problems.
A tip for balance
Great designers have one more important quality: balance. Whatever you do to take care of yourself – exercise, meditate, go to the gym—be sure to do it. It will improve your quality of work and life.
“All of that will help you be that rock star designer,” Dorf says. “It will help you be at your best.”