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How do you approach UX in a place where you are the only UX designer?

Many of you out there are not part of larger UX teams. In fact, you may be wearing many hats in your day to day job as a UXer. When you are the only one focusing on UX and UI in your company what are some tips to help keep you sane, all well moving the needle forward for UX?

To get everyone started here are a few tips I have shared with those that I mentor.

  •  Don’t expect change to happen overnight this will just frustrate and alienate you in the organization.
  •  Expect to do a lot more educating on the value of research, design and establishing a UX process
  •  As you try new ways to bring about the design change, you will encounter resistance. Take note of the paths forward to help move around those roadblocks. Ask yourself questions like "Is the current approach working? Do I have buy-in somewhere else in the organization?"
  • Be an authority figure in advocating for experience designers, but don’t be pushy. Remember, many organizations are still not sure what a robust UX skill set can bring to the table.
  •  Seek out ways to build trust. This is the number one question students ask me. How do I establish design trust? This becomes extremely challenging if you are the one person in the UX role. 
  •  Always be transparent and open and honest about your approaches, remove the mystique around what you are doing. Beware of the jargon you use. Find a collaborative way to share your research. An excellent way to do this invite all stakeholders to an InVision Mood Board or Freehand.Another good way is to put printouts or your research, wireframes, in high traffic areas to pique interest. You want to establish that thought was put into how you approach your design process of one.

Those are just a few tips to get you started. What are some other methods you can offer to the lone UXers of the world to help them bring about UX change as a sole practitioner in a company?

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  • Avatar
    Robert Whiting

    Some really useful tips there Preston, thanks for sharing your experience in this area ツ

    Related to this ^ topic—thought it's slightly dated now in regard to how organizations work, I still recommend Leah Buley's (now Director of Design Education at InVision) classic book;

    📕 The User Experience Team of One

    https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/the-user-experience-team-of-one/

    For anyone working as the sole UX person in an organisation ツ

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    Caitlin Cambron

    Preston, those tips are awesome! I'd like to reiterate and expand on a few.

    Building trust in UX at an organization is so important. Finding buy-in and showing that as an example is huge. I've partnered with people who show signs of supporting UX research, or stakeholder engagement, and taught them that it's UX. Later, they advocate for bringing me (or others on my team) into projects because they already knew the value and now they know we have a team to do that work.

    Understand that it's a long process. It won't happen over night, or even be completed over a year. It's on going. Having that perspective is important because educating a whole company by yourself is frustrating at times. I've found it helpful to connect with others in my physical UX community, as well as this digital community, to discuss this topic. It helps to simply vent, but also to collaborate about best practices and what has been most effective.

    - Caitlin

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    Kayden Knauss

    I unfortunately don't have a whole bunch of expertise around this topic but can see how a lot comes down to your confidence. Whether that be in your skillset, your ability to communicate your thoughts to other members of your team..etc. How would you recommend building your confidence up so that you can be an advocate for UX?

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    Lala Galindo

    I think these are great tips and agree 100%! I'd just like to add my two cents :)
    1. People will challenge you, don't take it personal and back your knowledge with data - this will create trust from stakeholders.
    2. Always be flexible, don't let the process hinder you from working and scaling to your challenges.
    - Lala

     

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  • Avatar
    Robert Whiting

    InVision themselves have just published an article on this very subject - https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/only-designer/ - ツ

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