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From the Experts: The Past, Present, and Future of UX

User experience is a field that constantly redefines itself. Over the course of my career, I’ve been called an information architect, an interaction designer, a web designer, a user experience designer, and finally a user experience architect. At one point, I remember thinking that I’d need to eventually change careers because I had yet to meet anyone over the age of forty doing what I did. Thankfully, that’s changed, but it can still be difficult to get a sense of how our field has evolved over the years. That’s why I was so interested in the recent Bay Area UXPA chapter meeting, at which a panel of UX veterans discussed the past, present, and future of UX (see Figure 1).

Photo of panel members
Figure 1. The UX panel (from left: Irene Au, Larry Tesler, Ian Swinson, Sara Ortloff Khoury, and
Fred Gilbert).

The panelists included Ian Swinson, senior director of user experience at; Larry Tesler, whose career in engineering and UX has ranged from Apple to Amazon to Yahoo; Sara Ortloff Khoury, VP of user experience, insights, and analytics for Walmart Global eCommerce; and Fred Gilbert, director of design for Google’s social product area. Irene Au, VP of product and design at Udacity and former head of Google’s UX team, served as the moderator.

The discussion was wide-ranging; it covered the backgrounds and key qualities of the panelists, as well as the emerging characteristics of today’s UX designers. For most of the panelists, user experience (or even human-computer interaction) didn’t exist as a career choice when they entered the job market. As a result, they came from a variety of backgrounds, from film and engineering to mathematics and graphic design, and took a meandering path to where they are now.

Larry Tesler started out in the early 1960s doing participatory design to improve the software used to create card stunts for football halftime shows. Ian Swinson worked on CD-ROMS as the “digital guy” and learned graphic design on the job. Sara Ortloff Khoury came from a traditional design background, but when she switched to the digital space, she learned to use development tools to make her designs functional. And Fred Gilbert, who holds a degree in economics, turned his passion for drawing into a job as a graphic designer, which led to web design, which led to graduate school, which led to a job at Google.

Two common threads among the panelists were an inclination to take advantage of opportunities and the belief that they could make a UX career work. Swinson described himself as the guy who was always willing to say “yes” to ridiculous requests (see Figure 2). Once agreed, he’d figure out how to deliver. That’s not always the safest choice, and it takes courage and confidence to court failure that openly. But it seemed as if those traits were shared by all of the panelists; when asked to describe themselves in a word, they came up with “obstinate,” “fearless,” “grit,” and “fighter” (among others). So, saying “yes,” determination, and taking risks may be some of the key components to a successful career in UX.

Photo of panel members
Figure 2. Ian Swinson describes his bold attitude toward his career.

Empathy was another common theme, along with the ability to communicate that empathy to stakeholders. Gilbert described empathy as a muscle that gets stronger with use, and as one of the key attributes he looks for in a new hire (see Figure 3). Tesler agreed and noted that when he worked on the Lisa at Apple back in the 1980s, the “experience” was created by engineers, not designers. He interviewed for empathy and a willingness to walk in someone else’s shoes to find that “one in a thousand” engineer who could design for users.

Photo of Gilbert with his arms outstretched
Figure 3. Fred Gilbert expresses his views on empathy.

Khoury and Swinson connected empathy to storytelling; they noted that an essential skill of a successful designer is the ability to convey their user empathy to stakeholders through narrative. Khoury pointed out that while designers deal in ideas, they have to be able to communicate them in order for their ideas to have value. “It’s half the battle,” she claimed. Swinson tells his team that they’re all in the business of selling their ideas. At Salesforce they rehearse before the first presentation because they want that first hearing to be memorable. As Gilbert put it, “The better you get at storytelling, the more influential you will be.”

Several of the panelists noted that while serendipity worked well in their careers, the user experience field has matured to a point where there’s value in planning your career and having a vision. Tesler suggested developing a five-year plan for where you want to be. If it’s concrete enough, you’ll find that your skills will evolve to a point where you can have that job or a close approximation of it. In a similar vein, Swinson recommended interviewing people you admire—your heroes—so that you can learn more about what they do day-to-day and emulate their strengths.

Finally, the panelists talked about the importance of developing a skill set. Khoury pointed out that in the early days of the web everyone was, by necessity, a generalist: you coded, you wrote copy, and you designed. A period of specialization followed, but now we’re moving to a point where adaptability and having a broad skill set is important again. As Gilbert noted, few of the designers on his team do just one thing. For example, he doesn’t look for a researcher who simply conducts analysis and reports findings. He looks for a researcher who can sketch and start a visual conversation with a designer on a solution that meets a user’s needs based on data from research.

I came away from this discussion inspired. It’s clear that this field will reward you if you take care of your skill set and remain adaptable and flexible. And that’s a far cry from fearing that I’ll be obsolete at forty.经验丰富的 UX 专业人员都知道,职业生涯是否成功取决于在商务演讲场合能否讲述精彩的故事并推销自己的观点。

Andy Rivera 最近参加了湾区 UXPA 分部的一次会议,一组经验丰富的 UX 从业者在会上讨论了自己的职业生涯。他简要介绍了这次活动,揭示了这些成功从业者的职业轨迹,尤其是 他们的一些关键特质,包括勤奋努力、同理心、善于叙事和磨砺个人技能等。Rivera 的小组讨论会总结为新入行的 UX 从业者和已有数年实践经验的人都提供了有用的建议。

文章全文为英文版경험이 많은 UX 전문가는 성공적인 경력은 비즈니스 프리젠테이션에서 이야기를 전개하고 자신의 아이디어를 판매하는 능력으로 결정된다고 합니다.

Andy Rivera는 최근에 경험이 많은 UX 실무자가 자신의 경력에 대해 토론하는 UX 실무자 패널로 구성된 베이 지역 UXPA 미팅에 참석하였습니다. 그 행사에서 핵심은 성공적인 경력을 보여주는 일관된 내용에 초점이 맞추어졌고 성공적인 UX 디자이너들의 핵심적 특성을 강조하고 있습니다. 또한 근면, 동감, 스토리텔링, 개인적 기술 유지에 대해 이야기를 나누고 있습니다. Rivera의 패널 요약에서는 새로운 UX 종사자와 수 년간 현업 근무 중인 실무자들을 위한 유용한 조언을 제공하고 있습니다.

전체 기사는 영어로만 제공됩니다.Profissionais de experiência do usuário experientes sabem que uma carreira de sucesso depende de quão bem você consegue contar uma história e vender suas ideias em uma apresentação de negócios.

Andy Rivera participou recentemente de uma reunião local da UXPA na região de São Francisco, EUA, que contou com um painel de praticantes de usabilidade experientes que discutiram suas carreiras. Ao relembrar esse evento ele explica a trajetória dessas carreiras de sucesso e destaca algumas das principais características dos profissionais de experiência do usuário bem sucedidos. A diligência, empatia, capacidade de contar uma história e manutenção de conjuntos de habilidades pessoais são exploradas. O resumo do painel de Rivera fornece um conselho útil para novos profissionais de experiência do usuário e para aqueles que atuam há diversos anos na área.

O artigo completo está disponível somente em inglês.

O artigo completo está disponível somente em inglês.経験豊富なUX専門家が、キャリアの成功は、ビジネスのプレゼンテーションでどれほど上手く語り、自分のアイデアを受け入れてもらうかにかかっていることを認識している。

Andy Riveraは最近、経験豊富なUX実行者たちを招き、自分たちのキャリアについて語ってもらうBay Area UXPAの支部会議に参加した。このイベントのまとめで、彼は成功したキャリアの軌道に焦点をあて、成功しているUX実行者の特徴を明らかにしている。ここでは、勤勉、感情移入、ストーリーの話術、個人のスキルセットの維持について検討されている。Riveraの討論の概要は、UXの分野での経験の浅い者はもとより、すでに何年もUXに関与している者にも有益な助言を提供してくれる。

原文は英語だけになりますLos profesionales de la experiencia de usuario experimentados saben que una carrera profesional exitosa depende de lo bien que se puede contar una historia y vender las ideas en una presentación comercial.

Andy Rivera asistió recientemente a una reunión del capítulo Bay Area de la UXPA que presentó un panel de profesionales expertos en experiencia de usuario que hablaron sobre sus carreras. Su resumen del evento arroja luz sobre la trayectoria de estas carreras exitosas, y destaca algunas de las características clave de los profesionales exitosos en el área de experiencia de usuario. Se exploran la diligencia, la empatía, la oratoria y el mantenimiento de conjuntos de aptitudes personales. El resumen del panel de Rivera proporciona consejos útiles tanto para los nuevos profesionales de la experiencia de usuario como para los que han estado ejerciendo durante varios años.

La versión completa de este artículo está sólo disponible en inglés.