According to LinkedIn, UX design is one of the top 10 hard skills of 2020. So if you are considering making a career switch to user experience design, do it now! Mentoring will help you make this transition as smooth as possible and allow you to have the career you’ve been dreaming about.
What is UX design?
Sketchbook and pencils, Photoshop and headphones, a wandering mind and empty hands. All of those are definitions of a designer. It can be anyone willing to solve problems - one’s own and/or of others. And that is a great mission. Who can tell that his/her work is changing the way we live? Designers can.
Designing user experience is a fascinating profession that has branched out to many aspects of our lives - from ordering food online to connecting with friends. So what is it all about?
UX design is about understanding users, building personas, and imagining possible challenges the user can face. It ensures that the so-called user experience is as smooth as possible. From, let’s say, opening up an app to receiving the end-product. But the journey starts much sooner - with the initial thought of a user that s/he wants something, for example, they are hungry.
UX design is about understanding users, building personas, and imagining possible challenges the user can face.
UX designer’s task is to get under the user’s skin and get a profound understanding of them. This is enabled through in-depth conversations and research. It involves gathering data and summarising them in an easy-to-understand way. Then comes the building of a product and making it fit the user’s lifestyle. This can be anything from sketching an idea on paper to building a mock-up and presenting it to the target audience. Then comes the collection of feedback and numerous iterations to ensure the product is a great fit.
Once the product is built, it can be implemented into the market and further iterated. The design process never ends and is fascinating to watch how individual users are interacting with the product and using it in endless ways. Sound fun? Well, it is! But what guarantees that you become the great UX designer everyone is thriving to be? Multiple insightful conversations.
How to become a pro at UX design?
Design is a creative profession and as such, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to success. The only way to learn is through trial and error and that is done more easily when you talk to those who have more experience in the industry than you. A mentor!
Speaking to a marketing professional can save time and energy when developing a new product or service and introducing it to the market. You might think you have the best idea in the world when you are brainstorming it but a mentor can tell you that something similar has already been built or developed. Though, a design mentor can inspire you how to improve your idea so it is unbeatable and sought after.
Whether you are planning to build an online business or want to work for a client, as a freelancer or a contractor, UX design is a hard skill that will get you a long way. And so, to be an excellent UX designer, find a community of like-minded professionals and share your ideas to boost your creativity and imagination.
A design mentor can inspire you how to improve your idea so it is unbeatable and sought after.
What do experienced designers say?
One of the Femme Palette design mentors is Majo Moravcik, a freelance product designer, who confirms that ‘a little encouragement can go a long way.’ His mentee went through a career change and ‘the mentoring helped her realize her true value and negotiate a better salary at the new job and find a place, where she is going to be appreciated and learn new things.’
Similarly, Alina Shupikova, a visual identity maker at alishu.co, also profoundly enjoyed mentoring. ‘It is a journey of learning to be kind and giving back to the community, helping someone grow, even if it is just one person at a time.’ Being a mentor showed Alina that her knowledge is worth-sharing, which she did not realize before. Therefore, mentoring is a two-way relationship in which both, the mentor as well as the mentee, progress - professionally and otherwise.
Mentoring helped [a mentee] realize her true value. negotiate a better salary at the new job and find a place, where she is going to be appreciated and learn new things.’
And what do the mentees say? Tatiana Rybachuk, a web developer, participated in the FP Mentoring program (Design) and first defined her goals with her mentor. Within three months, they were achieved. ‘Pavel, my mentor, was very competent, attentive and, of course, an expert in his field.’ Tatiana recommends to anyone doubtful about getting a mentor one thing - don’t hesitate! ‘It is a cool trip, very useful for self and career development.’
And one last tip from a design mentee, Angie, a project director: ‘to get the most out of mentoring, one should be open and honest with the mentor. Whether it’s your goals, expectations, even discussing fears. Mentors are great but they are not mind-readers, no one is. By having this transparency, you’ll be able to be on the same page with your mentor, and s/he can mentor you accordingly. Great things are never created alone.’
UX design is an in-demand hard skill that, with the boom of digitalization, increasingly more companies are seeking. And so, if you want to transition to this sexy career, find a mentor to discuss your expectations with and learn about their experience. Once you will see the reality in practice, you can decide whether this job is right for you and how to thrive! Enjoy the ride.