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Diagnosis: UX Charlatans


Published on

How to spot them quickly and stop waisting time, money, and nerves

In this presentation:
Personal evolving
Quick outlook at the Market
9 Symptoms of UX Charlatanism
What is actually UX - in the words of Don Norman
What to look for - when searching for good UX Designers

User Experience (UX) is probably one of the fastest evolving and most exciting disciplines to be a part of these days. As the practical value of UX-work has become more and more obvious in the past few years, the demand for UX Designers and Experts has grown exponentially. Unfortunately, there are hardly any official educational paths or certifications yet and the confusion around UX is very broad - UX is becoming a buzzword. As a result, the market is not only confused or has at best a very narrow understanding of the term, but this also offers a soil for many amateurs and fake representatives of the discipline to evolve.

Over the past few years, I have had the (dis)pleasure to meet and work with some highly promoted UX Charlatans, so that over time I started spotting the patterns - some of their similarities and tactics. My aim is to share my observations in this presentation, in the hope to save you some time, money, and frustration - no matter if you are an evolving UX Designer or a Business/Project owner in need of UX expertise.

Published in: Design

Diagnosis: UX Charlatans

  1. 1. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz How to Spot Them Quickly and Stop Wasting Time, Money, and Nerves UX Camp Berlin 2017 DIAGNOSIS: UX Charlatans
  2. 2. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz THE Plan™ 1. Who the F**k Am I to Diagnose? 2. Situation on the Market 3. Diagnosis UX-Charlatans 4. What is UX Then? 5. What to Look for
  3. 3. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz …Me in the Past Few Years image:
  4. 4. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz BUT WAIT Let me tell you where I am coming from…
  5. 5. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Hobby (1999) 2001: Web Designer (self-taught, semi user-centered) confidence level
  6. 6. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Education 2001 - 2007: Certified Psychologist (Diploma) confidence level
  7. 7. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Profession 2008 / 2009: Clinical Psychologist confidence level
  8. 8. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz …Me at the Time image: confidence level
  9. 9. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Time to Do Something! WEB-DESIGN (passion) PSYCOLOGY (profession) ME (mad?) confidence level
  10. 10. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz New Profession 2009 / 2010: Concept Developer (Internship + Pro-Bono) confidence level
  11. 11. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz New Profession 2 2011 - 2014: Interaction Architect (user-centered design) confidence level
  12. 12. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Professional Experience since 2014: Senior UX Architect Senior UX Designer Lead UX Designer Lead Information Architect or simply UX Designer confidence level
  13. 13. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Currently since May, 2017: Product Experience Lead happiness level
  14. 14. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Meanwhile … on the Market
  15. 15. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Buzzwordizing image:
  16. 16. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Growing Demand But lack of skilled workforce image:
  17. 17. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Lack of Official Educational Paths • UX is more expensive Web/Visual Design • UX is only User Research • UX is only digital • UX is done once • It is a linear process / it has an end • UX is like Pixie Dust • UX is some magic • UX Designers are Unicorns ;) Makes the spreading of very wrong understandings easier:
  18. 18. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Summary Market Situation: UX has become trendy ✶ BUT actually in a misunderstood way There is a higher demand for skilled experts ✶ BUT it is hard to know who the right one is UX is more and more involved ✶ BUT usually at the wrong stage of the process  A Perfect breeding-ground for charlatans graphic:
  19. 19. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz 9 Symptoms of UX Charlatans
  20. 20. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz 1st Symptom ONLY USERS ARE IMPORTANT  Dismissing business/stakeholder needs, pains or questions  Getting lost in User Research  Not creating any valuable outcomes “it’s all about the users”  The business (+ other stakeholders) should also be your users  We all won’t have a profession if it wasn’t for them and their needs/pains USERS BUSINESS
  21. 21. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz USERS 2nd Symptom DO WHAT BUSINESS WANTS  react only to the direct demands of the business or other stakeholders  do, do ,do - deliver, deliver, deliver  no critical thinking  care more about “networking” and their salary/title, than the product/service “it’s all about the money”  being reactive, rather than proactive doesn’t help the business at all  + empowers them to repeat mistakes BUSINESS
  22. 22. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz 3rd Symptom KNOW-IT-ALL  Trust-me attitude + strong ego  Know all the answers straight away  Give solutions, rather than uncovering different solution-paths “we have to do ‘Agile’, it’s what Google and Netflix are doing”  no one alone can be in possession of the ultimate truth!  you can only strive to uncover it in an objective, informed way  collaboration and iteration are key BUSINESS USERS
  23. 23. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz USERS 4th Symptom SWEET TALK  Say things that sound right  Make strong and confident statements  No substance – no practical coverage of their words, no reality-check “I have over 15 years experience in the digital area”  If you want to change mindsets then you’ll probably need practical examples  You’ll also need to talk about the bad/hard stuff and about fails “Hype vs. Change = Talking vs. Doing”, Rupert Platz BUSINESS
  24. 24. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz 5th Symptom MASK IT WITH JARGON  when sweet talk is not enough they tend to hide behind jargon  they seem to feel more expert and it raises their ego, when no else understands them “we definitely need Contextual Inquiries to get the User Profiles”  If no one understands you, then no one will see your value either  Better to explain, than to only state “the right way to the truth” MVP BIZ
  25. 25. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz 6th Symptom JUST RETURN THE BALL  They are good at delegating and/or fishing for information and ideas  They are better in adapting into the current situation, but have hardly the experience to take well informed decisions or make predictons  Can’t say “I don’t know” “Remind me again what CTA was?”  Asking further/deeper questions will make a Charlatan insecure.  Count on your logic, not on buzzwords CONFIDENCE EGO
  26. 26. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz WIRE- FRAMES 7th Symptom UX IS ALL IN THE TOOLS  Strong advocates of specific tools  Usually, don’t like trying out new stuff  Only concentrating on tangible outputs, not on outcomes “I use Axure and Photoshop”  one should be interested in and consider long-term strategies and solutions, rather than just quick fixes  it’s useful to have a wider range of tools to chose from, depending on the different user/business needs BUSINESS
  27. 27. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz 8th Symptom UX IS JUST DIGITAL  Also, only concentrating on tangible outputs, rather than solution paths  Acting only on one channel/touch- point in isolation, rather than looking at an overall journey  “We are only resposible of the platform/website”  the experience, is the front stage of the entire product/service – everything that the user interacts with  …and the user is an actual human, not a predictable robot or algorithm USABILITY
  29. 29. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Summary - 9 Symptoms If 3 or more of the following symptoms appear on more than 3 encounters, you are probably dealing with a UX-Charlatan: 1. ONLY USERS ARE IMPORTANT 2. DO WHAT BUSINESS WANTS 3. KNOW-IT-ALL 4. SWEET TALK 5. MASK IT WITH JARGON 6. JUST RETURN THE BALL 7. UX IS ALL IN THE TOOLS 8. UX IS JUST DIGITAL 9. WORKING WITH/FOR UX DESIGNERS IS ENOUGH
  30. 30. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz BUT WHAT IS UX THEN? I will let the “father of UX” explain…
  31. 31. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Don Norman video:
  32. 32. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz WHAT TO LOOK FOR Similar traits in great UX Designers
  33. 33. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Some UX-Mindset Observations Great Design-Thinkers: • Will hardly give you a direct solution – probably rather ask you questions about the problem and context • Don’t feel comfortable jumping into decisions/commitments without enough context or insights • Learn to be comfortable with being proven wrong • Become modest with time, egos vanish • Realize that collaboration is key, as they can’t know everything in detail • Have ta ability to zoom out and look at the bigger picture • Are analytical and empathetic • Are NOT F***ING UNICORNS!
  34. 34. @MartinaMitz@MartinaMitz Martina Mitzieva-Veglia UX Designer & Psychologist web, skype, twitter: Martina Mitz currently: Portsmouth, UK Thank You! UX Camp Berlin 2017