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UX – the trends, the role, and the evolution

Jesse Fogarty, UX Account Manager for Talent Sydney’s Digital Team discusses his thoughts, learnings and musings about all things CX, UX, and UI in this blog post. If you have a quick 2 minutes, read about what Jesse has to say about this fast-paced, ever-evolving industry…

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I have been recruiting for the media & tech industry for more than seven years and in this time, I have always enjoyed the diverse perspectives of so many different types of businesses and getting to learn about their products and services, the teams who deliver them and their consumers. My time in the industry, paved the way for me to learn about CX, UX, UI – fascinated and drawn by my interests in design & human-centred thinking, behavioural economics, and emerging technology, among many others, I recently joined Talent to specialise in the space. Over the last few weeks, I have been on a mission, getting to know the key players and talent in the industry, and I would love to know your views on some of the trends I am spotting.

State of Play

It has been great to see such an active community and endless information resources available online while I have been researching the industry during my first few weeks. Some notable bodies worth pointing out are UX Mastery, General Assembly, and Academy Xi. However, there so many others, which I am happy to share with anyone who is interested.

In researching the different practices involved across the end-to-end UX process spanning strategy, research, analysis, design, and production, I was surprised to discover how many of the UX specialists I talked to were not doing any research. It seemed strange, how can businesses expect to solve design challenges and inform strategy without unearthing insights to discover and validate problems?

An argument for this has been a need for a more agile approach to solve real-world design problems in a practical way. However, people have also raised issues concerning budgets, capabilities, and buy in on ideas from clients and other stakeholders. Before addressing these issues, I had another question on my mind.

What makes a good UX professional?

The consensus is UX is to some degree a mindset and the responsibility of all individuals associated with a company, regardless of whether you are an employer, employee, or consumer – everyone is a contributor of a product or service experience, and therefore it is important everyone plays a role in UX, of course, with varying levels of responsibility.

A UX Designer we recently placed, tells me UX is inherently curious. The more perspectives you have to solve a problem the more ways you can understand your users, the better your results will be. He explains a good UX professionals come from backgrounds beyond research and design. For example, multidisciplinary studies like sociology, psychology, and economics. Journalists, creative writers, and theatre majors ask great questions and know how to create a story.

Being a great UX designer isn’t always about a good portfolio or the most experience. It’s about having the right mindset. Relentless curiosity and genuine empathy might get you further than being a certified Sketch pro.

UX Maturity

The view regardless of industry or business type is that enterprises are placing growing importance and value on UX with business user expecting the same quality experience as consumer products. As UX continues to evolve as a core business competency, it is still a relatively new field for a lot of companies. Personally, being a part of the complexity and transformation is what makes this such an interesting space.

Other trends I have seen include emerging hybrid roles, usually in businesses relatively new to UX, where employees are entrusted with driving UX initiatives in addition to a different role. Some UX practitioners are from seemingly unconventional backgrounds, such as retail managers and developers, where it is more unusual to see the traits previously mentioned of a good UX professional.

Lots of UX specialists are in entirely new roles, and some specialists have needed to define their own job descriptions because UX is a new area a business has identified as important but currently lacks specialist expertise. I wonder if some of these factors are causing issues with skill gaps, and an ability to win stakeholder buy in and secure budgets. Is a lack in competency levels impacting decision marking and the level of advanced UX practices?

While there are disparate views on backgrounds, capabilities, and best practice, what is promising is the enthusiasm, signs of investment, and increasing importance and value being placed on UX. In just my first several weeks, I have seen lots of game changing work and the benefits being created for users. It is exciting to see how rapidly the industry is evolving and the opportunities advancements in technology are creating.

I would love to know your views on the market right now. Next week I will be on the next stage of my crash course, meeting some awesome people at UX Australia.

If you’re interested in finding out more, feel free to contact the Sydney team here.