New technology and evolving customer needs are shaping the UX careers of tomorrow
Once the new kid on the block, UX careers have been around for a while now. But as tech and customer needs change, so must the professionals. Here’s our breakdown of some of the key trends in 2020.
Generalists are still in demand, but so are specialists
The term ‘UX Designer’ can mean different things at different companies and on different projects. It’s often used as a catch-all term to describe a UX (or “User Experience”) generalist with a broad knowledge of the discipline. Such generalists are in demand and valued for their ability to adapt to the needs of different projects. But specialisation is also valued by companies.
Information Architects, Content Specialists, Data Scientists, Interface Designers – all these roles can make up a team. Whether you are a generalist or a specialist yourself, you’ll need to be able to work with them all.
UX Writers are a Thing now
One of those specialisms is the UX Writer. Only a few years ago, a UX careers search on job sites would have yielded few results. But now, this role is increasingly in demand. UX Writers are not copywriters in the traditional sense. Instead, they are product-focused writers and strategists.
Also sometimes hidden behind the title ‘Copywriter,’ or ‘Content Strategist,’ they work with developers, designers, and product managers to bring a product to life through the words it uses. It’s a relatively new role in UX careers, so people often come from all sorts of backgrounds including, marketing, journalism, copywriting, or editorial content strategy.
UX Writers work with developers, designers, and product managers to bring a product to life through words
The screen is no longer king
Increasingly, UX is becoming less and less about words and elements on a screen. Chatbots, voice, AR, and VR are all opening up the frontiers of interaction for the user. New UX careers are springing up around these areas (ever met a ‘Bot-wrangler?’)
As well as creating specialisms within the field, this is changing the way teams work. Communicating an immersive VR experience on an art board is nigh-on impossible, so that way of presenting may well have had its day in the sun. We can expect to see new AI-powered tools for UX designers filling the gap, and designers themselves will have to think differently about the challenge.
As tools get cleverer, Design Thinking will become a more important skill
UX tools are getting cleverer; rapid-prototyping is getting even more rapid. This means that designers can spend far less time on wireframes, mock-ups, and prototyping. Instead, they can spend much more time deploying their design-thinking skills to create a better product.
Design Thinking is rapidly gaining visibility in the boardroom and being used by companies to inform strategic decisions at the highest level. And employees who understand it will become increasingly valuable.
UX Researchers need to know their data
Design Thinking and UX becoming more visible in the C-suite is no bad thing. But it does mean that UX and design decisions will have to be robustly validated and defended. This is where the Researcher can excel – as long as they understand data and statistics.
Decisions and processes will become increasingly data driven, experimentation will become more important and clear KPIs will need to be linked to business needs. UX Researchers who take on this role will not only be contributing to better-designed experiences, they’ll also be promoting the value of design within organisations.