Why your company will be fucked if you do not hire a User Experience Designer

In designer land, it is a common misconception to think that all your work is of great importance. Pride and ego flourish the market like a whining toddler whose candy has been stolen. Most of us have no clue what we are doing and so have become incredibly proficient at overselling ourselves. Ruining products, services, and whole businesses.

Do not worry, I am not here to complain about the lack of knowledge, in fact, I am here to promote the opposite. I am here to tell designers to up their game and to explain why you need at least one User Experience Designer on your team to help you out.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, growth hacking mothership managers or whatever you call these people nowadays are constantly confronted with subjects they know too little about. And because of that, they often end up hiring the wrong people.

You have an idea for a great app? Who do you hire? Perhaps a designer, or a developer or how about one of these cross-over unicorn hippies that do both? It is a tough job to decide where to start. And if chosen wrong, your product or service may slowly die.

But here is the thing. The best place to start is validation. Whether you have an app idea, a new kind of service, perhaps a combination of the two. You need to figure the hell out whether anyone is waiting for your shit. And having colleagues agree with you on an idea that influences people living in cardboard boxes do not count.

You need someone to go out there for you and explore whether your idea is valid, someone that will interview these people in cardboard boxes and understands their true needs, their deepest desires and frustrations. Someone that understands how the technology works, understands the business value of your idea and figures out when people will cry out of happiness when using your divine solution.

Welcome the User Experience Designer

There is not a single job description that properly describes what a User Experience Designer entails. Because User Experience in itself is a broad expertise and can easily be divided into at least eight distinct roles.

1. The UX/UI Designer 🦄

This is one of those crossover unicorns. They started from a certain perspective or aesthetics and later on started questioning why and for who they are making their beautiful work. Whether their background was in branding, visual design or interface design. These people breathe to make beautiful things for beautiful people.

There is a pitfall to those unicorns though because their title is being stained by those who do not know how to specify their role. Most visual designers who are looking to enter the space of User Experience or simply overestimate themselves will use this title to claim they are something they are not.

You will spot a good unicorn by assessing their understanding of human behavior, ways to conduct research and how to translate findings into actionable opportunities.

2. The UX Researcher ⚗️

Oh boy! If you find one of these bad boys, be ready to be questioned and reflected upon. These guys strive for nothing more than clarity. Their pure intention is to strategically figure out the nitty gritty details of the validity of your ideas. They will keep digging, conducting interviews and stalking your users until they are absolutely certain about the core motives of a person.

Often these bad boys have a background in psychology, business development or science. They are smart and have the capacity to untangle incredibly complex situations. But do not expect them to design or figure out the best solution, that is not what they stand for. They simply want you to understand, where to go next.

3. The UX Writer ✍️

Acetate glasses, 20 dollar wines and a keen observation of human behavior. Mix that and you have your User Experience writer. These empathetic scruffs aim for the quality life. They document how people react, to words, to poetry and anything within the sphere of short copy.

They do not intend to write endless papers, in fact. They want you to feel at home and feel understood. Their words should both empathize with emotion and action. Questions like, do you understand what will happen next, when you read this? And, how does this make you feel? Reflect upon the voice of the brand character that they are trying to enact.

4. The UX Consultant 🔊

You know those nights where you drank too much and in the morning there is one guy baking eggs for everyone? That is your guy. The User Experience consultant is anyone from this list with the interest of sharing knowledge and taking care of a team. Their aim is to help clients understand the right actions to take.

They will represent the client’s customers and users in every aspect of their collaboration. It is up to them to make the client understand how everything fits together. That is why these individuals usually have some basic understanding of how the market works and is capable of figuring out how their clients market work. Give them a microphone and they will speak.

5. The Interaction Designer 👻

Alright, these guys… these guys can either make magic or bloat your whole fucking product. They are like magicians, there is quite enough of them but only a very few actually know what they are doing. These guys focus on the interaction layer of your product. They know everything off when it comes to proper response to user behavior.

Do you know what is the ideal speed of an animation that triggers a small event like the hover of a button or the opening of a menu? No? Well, they do! And know that it is of the utmost importance for that silky smooth feeling on your product. Getting those rough edges off, polishing the curves like Hermione Granger’s Wingardium Leviosa.

Now I may make it seem like all they do is polish the interactions, but these guys have a technological understanding of how tech meets design, like no other and design wireframes, flows and full technical overviews with keeping their vast knowledge of human behavior in-tact.

6. The Information Architect 📖

There is a database, and in that database there are columns, and these columns have rows and these rows have cells and these cells store information. This information connects to one another, relates to one another and depends on one another. But before the logic of this information is established, the Information Architect creates an overview of all the dependencies the product has in relation to the information that it needs.

Once he created the overview of how the data connects, he is able to develop and iterate upon that data to make it more precise. He knows about data science, development and design in order to differentiate the needs between the front-facing part of your product and the back. Take him into your arms, especially when you are heavily dependant on complex data. He maintains logic where there is chaos.

7. The User Interface Designer 🎨

Aesthetics are (too) often elaborated as a nice to have let alone the designers that create them. just like the unicorns above, there is a vast variety of interface designers out there. Some only work in 2D, others also in 3D, there are ones that specifically create the interface, others create the artwork as well.

But in a world where we judge books by their covers and let first impressions determine the expected quality of a person, object or product, these gold mines should not be underestimated. Colors, typography, line widths, grids, optical illusions, the law of proximity, the golden circle, they all connect. And these beauties know exactly how to put them together.

Be wary though, for a proper product you want to properly establish the meaning between art and design. Because some UI Designers are still a little uncertain of who they want to be.

8. The UX Developer 👾

If you take the hood of an application or website. There is a bunch of code right? Well, a regular developer breathes this code like it is his first language, but a proper UX Developer translates this code to user needs. he tailors and tweaks both the front- and the back-end of the environment to make sure it meets exactly what was entailed. He is the technical accumulation of the interaction designer and architect.

He is likely to be opinionated and asks a lot of questions. He is less technology first and more solution focused. If the tech stack does not meet the requirements, he will vouch to upgrade the whole environment, because shit just needs to be better and better.

But you forgot about the…!

Stop it right there you predetermined “I don’t fit in these categories at all” biased ridicule! You are right. There are even more jobs out there with a User twist up its sleeve and that is the whole problem. Every job that touches the experience of the user is, in a way, a user experience designer. This goes from the lovely customer service lady to the head of technology, tribe, and so forth.

User Experience is a mindset with a wide psychological understanding that needs to be shared and taught. But the rough selection above are the ones, whose main focus is to make sure the user or customer is represented in every single business solution. And it is OKAY, to create your own job that helps things get along.

But then how I pick the right one for my company?

Take a step back. Not knowing is the best first conclusion you can have, because just like with all other things when you do not know how to progress. You ask a professional. Reach out to companies you admire or look up to and see if they can help you assess your first need.

Or look up a User Experience Consultant who knows how to get you on your way. Before hiring anyone, it is fine to have someone do some actual research for you and determine where to go, from there. Ask them to help you assess the quality of the designer, be with you during interviews and maybe even set up an assessment.

It all comes down to one thing and one thing only. Doubt, research, conclude. Welcome to the world of UX.

Liked what you read?

Every once in a while I will share my experiences as a developing User Experience professional. If you are interested in reading some more of my work, head on over to my articles here. Thanks for reading 😁

Special thanks

I’d like to give special thanks to some of my dear friends and colleagues who help me proof read my articles. Renée SchipperJeffrey vd Dungen BilleWessel Grift & Giorgio Lefeber, you guys are the best! ❤️