What employers want in a UX Architect

September 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

I’ve been job hunting for the last couple of weeks, and have had interviews at a number of different places. It’s interesting to hear some of the same themes coming through:

- Content is important, and simple IA / card sorting approaches aren’t enough. Content strategy, communication strategy and in-context content flows are increasingly important.
- Too many UXers are precious about their wireframes and produce work that encroaches on visual design, confusing clients and user-testers.
- Some UXers treat visual designers as people who colour in wireframes.
- Process is important, but flexibility more so.
- People who only deal in ideas and never get their hands dirty in implementation never learn what actually works and what just sounds good.

The more time I spend doing UX, the more I think the tools and the deliverables aren’t important. What’s important is using whatever process and tools are necessary to create a shared understanding of the project. That might mean sitting with the designers and sketching, that might mean play acting a customer conversation with the copywriter, or simply listening to the developers concerns and taking them seriously. It can mean explaining what the site analytics are saying about the users, or interviewing the users directly.

I developed a bit of a nickname as the ‘office mum’ when I worked at Sputnik. Increasingly I’m thinking that’s actually a good model of what UX should be about. Listening, caring, and helping people understand each other. And sometimes baking a cake.*

*Office parent, sorry.

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