If you want to be a junior UX designer or mid-level and you want to stay there forever, then maybe you don’t need to be obsessed with things like this. If you want to get to the senior level or, you know, the high salary brackets or work at some of these you know Silicon Valley companies, then it does need to become an obsession.
There are two questions that every UX designer needs to be able to answer, well, if they want to get a job somewhere. Now, you might not be asked the questions exactly like I’m going to say them, but you really need to be able to answer these two questions if you want to get a job. These two questions also really tell the recruiter if someone is really passionate about UX or if they’re just looking to make some money.
So rather than keeping you wait till the end to get those questions, I’m going to tell you right up front. The two questions are,
1. What’s your favorite product right now?
2. How would you make it better?
Those are the two simple questions you need to be able to answer. I’m going to tell you why it’s so important that you have an answer to these questions and also if you don’t have an answer to these questions right now, what it sort of says about you as a UX designer, and it’s totally OK if you don’t have an answer on the top of your head.
Now, these two questions are the ones, I would start with when I was a UX job recruiter, the reason is these questions can bring me down a rabbit hole into how you think about products.
A really obivous answer from someone who actually doesn’t worry that much about the product world is, “You know, I don’t, I don’t really know and they take out their phone and they start looking around and they’re like Ahh!, Instagram. Instagram is my favorite product right now and I’m like, OK, why? So I ask, why? Why is that your favorite product right now? Ahh!, you know, I like the way you can swipe from left to right here and blah, blah, blah.”
This kind of starts to help me build a picture about the way that this person thinks and also their passion. If they’re passionate about products, then they wouldn’t have much trouble talking about what they enjoy about something. Right? What they love about a product, what they don’t like about a product and I think that’s one of the very common things, one of the very common issues that I see, especially with mid-level and senior designers when they come looking for a job here or when they come looking for a job at my client’s companies, they are expected to have some passion around the product and now, because it’s so easy to become a designer now, because everyone can take some UX course on some website. Now, everyone calls themselves the UX designer, but the best ones are the ones who are actually kind of obsessed with products and think about a lot and read about it a lot and’s their hobby.
For me, it’s an absolute hobby to be obsessed with products and to be obsessed with the tiny details of products. I want to nerd out on the small details of the new iPhone, I want to nerd out on, OK, what are the tiny little new animations, like if I was talking about my favorite product right now, I would probably say the iPad and the magic keyboard combined with the UI that they created for the cursor. This is like my favorite product combination and this is something that I would be able to talk about with someone for 30 minutes straight about how obsessed I am about it and that’s because I’m someone who’s obsessed with products. That’s because I’m someone who naturally loves products and obsesses about them every day, all day and that’s my thing, that’s my passion, that’s why I was able to, you know, very quickly go from junior UX designer to mid-level to senior to design manager. This has a lot to do with the passion for products and the best people who work at my company and over the last ten years have always been the ones who are super nerdy and interested in products and I’m not just talking about iPhones or whatever. I’m talking about different digital products. I’m talking even about, for example, a notebook that I really, really love and I’m obsessed with different types of notebooks and different types of stationery, and I kind of nerd out about the tiny details about these things. This is something that’s just a deep part of my life.
If you want to be a junior UX designer or mid-level and you want to stay there forever, then maybe you don’t need to be obsessed with things like this. If you want to get to the senior level or even manager level or, you know, the high salary brackets or work at some of these Silicon Valley companies, then it does need to become an obsession. The attention to detail needs to become an obsession.