UX – The State of User Experience

I had a brief but nice conversation with a fellow User Experience (UX) professional whom I recently connected with on LinkedIn and he posed a common, but interesting question that I’m often asked.

First of all, I really liked the fact that he chose to be honest in his replies, which sparked a small conversational tangent of why it’s important – and I believe it is – to create genuine connections when networking in general, let alone on LinkedIn.

The best experience you can have is a genuine one – @i3lance

There are people out there who want to add connections for connections sake, power to them I say but I’m just not one of them. I guess as an individual working in UX my personal focus has been to create or be part of as many unique experiences as possible and have a good chunk of those experiences live and in person, not through technology.

That did mean that my own network on LinkedIn took a bit longer and then some to build, but ‘my’ user experience of interacting with those fellow professionals has been unique and awesome.

Tangent over. So onto the point of the post and my response to the fellow UX’er…

My experiences in UX has been pretty vast if I’m honest, I’ve been fortunate to work alongside some great people, lived to tell the tale on learned experiences, refine my professional principles as I’ve learned from others along the way.

I’ve had to work in organisations where UX wasn’t really an official role, but a ‘thing‘ (UX was not mature at all in those companies), I’ve also had to work in organisations where UX was none-existent in parts or in all the organisation, but apparent in other parts and to be honest, it was just as hard as if UX didn’t exist at all.

Today that landscape paints a slightly different picture. We are seeing UX design being applied in a whole host of different ways (such as to time for instance), software companies fighting to create the newest prototyping tools and more. There is a lot of movement right now in the sphere of UX.

Being part of that journey has been a very interesting and exciting one. In order to be successful in those environments I had to assume a very different approach. In fact, Jakob Nielsen describes a similar approach I personally used earlier in my career.

Before and during my own personal journey, UX has grown in popularity. People who were doing UX orientated tasks were not called User Experience Professionals, today that has changed. There are segmented roles ‘within‘ the User Experience specialty that companies are recruiting for.

Whilst that may be the case, some companies who are recruiting don’t really know ‘what‘ they want yet from their newfound UX employee and that has generally because UX isn’t mature enough in those companies, they don’t know the full effectiveness or extent of how UX can work ‘for‘ them and they customers.

On the other hand, there are other organisations, are starting to wake up to the fact that User Experience is a core part of creating a refined end product whatever that end product may be.

That doesn’t mean that ‘every‘ company is waking up to UX, there is still some ways to go in my opinion, but the future is certainly brighter than it was twelve months ago.

Twelve months? You’re only going to reference back twelve months?” You may say? Absolutely yes. That’s how much the popularity of UX has changed. I really would not be surprised if this article becomes outdated during that period either.

Yes, I am an optimist.

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