Which UX are you? With user experience so critical to tech businesses’ success, “UX Designer” is one of the industry’s hottest job titles. The UX community thrives online, but not always in harmony - everyone has their own take on how to optimise, to improve and to innovate. Indeed, there are many ways to skin a cat!*
In my job as a design and tech recruiter, I speak to UX's every day. It’s an awesome job, mainly because UX Designers are such an awesome bunch! There’s a massive range in styles, though - it takes all sorts.
Here are the 5 types of UX Designers I see most. Which are you?
The Innovator can usually be found deep in thought. Constantly thinking about their company’s and users’ future, this contemplative individual immerses themselves in UX networks and design media, rummaging for new approaches that’ll improve our collective digital existence. For the Innovator, UX isn’t a pre-set science – it’s a whole new frontier. By identifying new emerging behaviours and solving problems yet-untold, the Innovator places themselves at the forefront of tech progress. So what if it’s worked perfectly well for 20 years? Let’s revolutionise, reinvigorate and refresh!
The User Champion
Putting yourself in the seat of the user sounds an easy task. But championing the user – often in a battle against businesspeople and short-sighted execs – takes true dedication. Lesser individuals may question their commitment to detail (“is it really worth reviewing the entire app again just to improve retention by 1 or 2%”) but the User Champion won’t be beat'. By truly understanding user’s needs, desires and turn-offs, this crucial individual can add value throughout every design stage. Relying on research and feedback, the goal isn’t to ‘steer’ users towards a certain product, but rather to create a perfect journey for them to find exactly what they desire (…OK, and maybe a quick up-sell too!)
The Fine Tuner
Imagine you’ve washed up on a desert island. [Bear with me – this comes back to UX eventually, I promise!!] One month in, you’ve got ‘basic survival' sorted. Though hopelessly stranded, you’ve managed to build a shelter to live in, you’ve found sources of basic food and you know where to find fresh water. What next? Well – just as you would in UX [see – I told you it’d get back on track] – once you’ve got the basic setup sorted, you enter a never-ending process of ‘fine-tuning’. You consider your situation element by element, considering how to improve, refine and optimise your shelter (interface), food source (landing pages) and environment (functionality). Iterative bliss.
The Growth Hacker
Trendy job title, sure, but the Growth Hacker personality adds serious value to tech businesses. They’re alternative, experimental, daring – testing to breaking point and beyond in an effort to boost revenue through ever-more ‘radical’ UX setups. Clickbait campaigns, Quick-Deposit systems, 1-Click ‘buy now’ buttons and compressed sales cycles are all the product of UX-infused growth hacking. It’s cheap, quick to implement and bumps up profits streams with immediate effect. Lovers of rapid-deployment, Growth Hackers are best suited to high-growth startups where innovation is encouraged and ideas set free. But the best of the bunch also aspire to deliver long-term value: ‘Sustainable Growth Hackers’, if you will.
Not to be confused with the Innovator (who upgrades) or the Fine-Tuner (who improves), the Disruptor spots totally unserved needs in a market. As I write, UX Disruptors in the fintech sector are smashing holes through the vulnerable consumer finance market. UBER did it for taxis, Amazon did it for bookshops, Deliveroo did it for take-away. They find tech solutions that are vastly more cost-efficient, more convenient and more intuitive for huge chunks of an existing market. The UX Disruptor asks not “how can I make this app more user-friendly?”, but rather “how can I make this world-as-we-know-it more user friendly?” (Never mind if an ailing industry is pushed aside in the process!)
Final thought – at Pentasia we’re increasingly hearing from clients keen to hire ‘design-led’ thinkers into senior roles. UX really could be a path to the top, perhaps via the leadership-accelerator that is a product management role. There’s genuinely nothing UX can’t do.
*Not that you’d want to, obviously!