The importance of UX designers has risen exponentially in recent years. Products, these days, can only interest modern-day consumers if they can deliver a worthwhile experience. Becoming a UX designer has now become a very lucrative proposition for this sole reason. Average salaries in the US for UX designers currently hover around $90k mark.
But despite recognition of their importance, they continue to face different challenges. And no, we are not just talking about the confusion people have in understanding the difference between UI and UX.
These challenges can be daunting. Often, they can demotivate UX designers to a very high level. But if someone wants to be a successful UX designer in today’s world, they need to learn to overcome these obstacles and rise above them.
Let’s begin with five top challenges that a UX designer can come across in 2019:
No Allocations for UX Design Research:
A product with a good UX design is one that’s backed by the right amount of research. Otherwise, you won’t even come close to it by relying on the hunches of the decision-makers alone. But, if you are pursuing a career in this field, you will sooner or later face a scenario where people don’t want you to conduct any research. They want you to start building on the concept they already have in mind while skipping everything else.
Following instructions blindly like this can be disastrous. A UX design that’s not backed by research has a high chance of ending up as a failure. This can reflect badly on a UX designer’s portfolio. It’s better to set out on conducting your own research if you ever come across such an inflexible management team.
The first step here is to explain things to management. And if that doesn’t work out, take control of things and start on your own. Go to social media to ask people whatever you need to get the UX design ready. You can even conduct guerrilla research on your own. Even streamlining existing processes will produce quality results at a lower cost.
Remember, even a small amount of research will help get quite close to building things in the right manner. And that’s a lot better than doing everything with zero data in hand.
Positioning Yourself In The Industry:
UX design is a vast field these days. Firms are constantly on the lookout for individuals to fill in a wide variety of roles. Some of them might want a UX writer or researcher. They can be even interested in hiring someone as a usability analyst. On other days, you might get confused with the job titles firms use to advertise vacancies in their UX departments. For example, a full stack designer, is actuality another term that’s used to describe the UX designer. But a lot of people who are not updated with industry trends can find it hard to know such things.
The best way to combat such a scenario is to do research on the job requirements in the UX field. This will help you understand the requirements of each one of them. And choose the ones that suit your needs in the best possible manner. This will even allow you to position yourself in the right manner. You can generalize yourself or even go for a targeted niche. You are building your industry standing, step by step, according to the mold you want yourself to fit into.
Clearing Out Your Role:
A lot of firms don’t know much about a UX designer’s actual role in the product design process. For them, a UX designer is there to make the product appear attractive, along with giving it a beautiful scheme to work on. Well, expecting that limits the UX designer’s work to just sketching a product wireframe.
This is one of the key responsibilities of a UX designer, but things don’t end here. A UX designer’s role in the whole process must be highly involved, comprising of many different facets. This can only happen when the stakeholders know more about the capabilities of the UX designer.
For this, the UX designer must start early to engage people right from the beginning. He has to make the stakeholders understand what his role will be. How will he contribute to the whole product design process? This even entails telling them about the resources he will need to do so.
This will increase the chances of the stakeholders buying into his vision. A UX designer can offer valuable insights towards building a better product. If stakeholders understand this, then everything will go ahead smoothly.
Ending the Developer- Designer Discord:
While the UX designers provide the product’s design, developers are the ones who convert these designs into a successful product. Together, these two forms the most crucial partnership.
But at times, you will find that they are not collaborating with each other like they are supposed to.
Often the biggest reason behind this is that both have different takes on how to do a certain task.
If you are a UX designer, you will try to come up with ideas on how to make the product serve the user’s needs and interests in the best possible manner. But the developer might not see how beneficial these ideas are because they might be technically challenging to pull off. This will inadvertently affect the product and result in significant delays in delivery.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. Take the initiative and be the first to break the ice with the developers. You can do this by starting to collaborate more meaningfully with the developers, learning more about their work, and the kind of difficulties they face.
Once you have this info, it will become easier for you to find common ground on issues that affect you both. Thereby, reducing the chances of discord.
Working with Redundant Designs:
For modern-day UX designers, the toughest challenge is working with designs that have been done to death. For example, if someone hires you to design the UX of a health app, you cannot bring a lot of originality to it.
Popular app stores already have tons of apps that do the exact same thing. The way to go about it here is to approach things with an altogether different mindset. For this, you can take inspiration from Jackson Hedden, the iconic industrial designer. He is renowned for taking up challenging design tasks that revolve around niche products.
His portfolio is diverse, having worked for top brands like Ford Motors, Alessi, Taylor Guitars, and others. His process for designing any product begins with understanding the product’s purpose. Then, he uses that intent to drive a new emotional connection between the user and the product.
Jackson’s most recent design intervention was for Lamborghini, having previously worked for them on designs like the Riva 1920. The exotic sports car company and the luxury furniture maker wanted to build a new line of furniture.
This furniture line had to echo the ethos and design architecture, unique to their brands. Jackson designed two unique products for this furniture collection, the Lamborghini Trunk and the Lamborghini Chest, while also providing them with a style guide to follow for the rest of the collection.
These products are only pieces of furniture at the end of the day. But their designs embody years of design legacy of Lamborghini.
For UX designers, who come across such a design problem, the idea here is to understand the design legacy of the brand. Then build the product in its image rather than following blind convention.
Wrapping Things Up:
With the emergence of newer technologies and product demands, UX designers will become more critical. Yet with the rise in opportunities, they will also have to face many challenges. Like the ones listed above if they want to have a successful career. These challenges are complex, but they are not impossible to overcome. You will be ready to face these challenges and ace all workflows in no time at all if you are a bit flexible and resourceful.