#6: UX Career: Weekly Digest

The purpose of this newsletter is to help you grow as a designer and human and increase your chances to get hired in UX. While I am trying to form my voice for this newsletter, I will be experimenting with the content strategy, so bear with me 🙏

Disclaimer: all opinions are my own, just sharing my thoughts.

💬 Quote of the week

Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself.

— Naval Ravikant

🙋‍♂️ Question of the week

Why are startups looking for more experience?

TLDR: they don’t have the time and resources to train/onboard new designers. They want them to start rolling from day 1 and own it.

Obviously, every company is unique and there could be a number of reasons for seeking more senior designers to hire. I’ve seen this many times. My conclusion is that this may happen due to these reasons.

  1. The startup is rushing (they always do) and they just can’t spare a few more weeks to train and allow the designer to onboard properly. Hence they want to hire more experienced people hoping that they can jump into the “fires” much faster than less experienced ones. Also, they want them to fully own design stuff with low maintenance/support/guidance. Personally, I found this to valid. I have seen a significant difference in the level of ownership with more senior designers, which is also quite logical. More experienced people will be more productive and effective requiring less supervision. So, from that perspective, it might be very well worth it for the company to pay more money for a more senior person on the team. However, this leaves less experienced candidates with fewer job options (this is a big problem in itself, might write about this another time).

  2. The startup doesn’t know what designers do and they want to “delegate” this matter to an experienced person, so they have more trust that this person will know what the company needs and will be able to be the first person driving all aspects of design, and will also have enough expertise to build the Design team when the time comes. I’ve seen these sad examples illustrating the still valid problem when non-designers mostly still don’t understand what we do and what UX design really brings to the table. Frankly, I empathize with this situation. From a designer’s point of view, I know many folks who have a pretty vague understanding of the development side of building digital products (both front-end, back-end, …-end =) It is completely reasonable to seek a more experienced person for the job when you don’t fully get it. So, when startups are founded and run not by design experts, I think it’s a natural behaviour.

Even though this reality is not favourable to less experienced designers (which is the majority), it is understandable. Most startups just can’t risk delays or rookie mistakes on any team, the designer is not an exception. Bigger companies with more resources, often bigger teams, and also less risk of going out of business because of a single hire should be more open to less experienced designers. You might want to prioritize your potential companies accordingly.

That being said, I have seen a lot of early-stage startups with so little money (aka not appreciating the value of UX design) that they can afford to hire only a less experienced designer as the first member of the team. Though it’s a tricky question because, on one hand, they cannot afford an experienced person and the pay is very low, on the other hand, they expect this person to do everything and the scope of work and ownership looks more like a senior person. But this is another problem with immature companies…

PS You can now submit your questions for the newsletter (anonymously): Submit questions.

🤔 Interesting

Cool application of AR technology. The first similar feature I can recall was for a Starbucks Xmas campaign when you would point the camera onto the coffee cup and you would see an object animate and more. It’s getting more and more real. View tweet.

What is Content Desing? Looks like it’s the next step in the evolution of the Content Strategy practice, some companies are updating their job titles. A good overview of the role, responsibilities, and value they bring. Might be an interesting career path for some of you. View post.

Curious summary of how did we end up with the current phone buttons layout. View post.

It’s your responsibility to advocate for accessibility and making sure your designs can be experiences by people with all kinds of special needs. This article has interesting framing and categorization of different considerations for designing products. View article.

🤣 Funny

Made me laugh =) (source)

This is golden =))

💭 A thought

I am curious why big design platforms (behance, dribbble, etc.) don’t act like advocates for inclusion and accessible designs. I’ve been pondering the problem of people releasing designs with zero consideration of accessibility requirements. I think that a good (at least partial) solution could be if such big platforms added educational elements to the work that the designers post on them. It is clearly a lack of education and these platforms have direct access to the designers posting inaccessible work more than anybody else. Why can’t they add guidance and contextual education to help designers learn instead of empowering them to post anything they think is good. I understand that education is not a part of their business model, but why they ignore a bigger responsibility that they have the power to drive? I don’t get it. I wonder if they could auto-check every uploaded image for the colour contrast ratio, just as the first step.

I did more searching for a similar tool, and it seems like it’s not as simple =) but I still believe there must be something dribbbles and such can do to help the world be more accessible to people with various needs. I have a suspicion that dribbbles are not interested in having more accessible designs, as UI with higher contrast (satisfying WCAG guidelines) is not perceived as the most sexy-looking by the majority of the industry. Sad thought…