4 Roadblocks UX Designers Will Encounter
How to survive as a designer in a non-design-driven company
User experience design already has countless definitions, but for the sake of this article, why not add mine to the pile: It’s a multidisciplinary process by which an experience is crafted for a specific user or group. The component of that process that is (understandably) most recognized is visual design. It’s the shiny layer on top of everything else that tends to leave the biggest impression on people.
For many organizations, this misunderstanding is not much of an issue. Design-driven organizations have this multidisciplinary process sewn into their fabric. However, for many organizations, particularly those founded on engineering principles, misalignment between design and development can run rampant. For young designers with little exposure to how design should look within a software development context, these can be confusing waters to navigate.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways this can manifest itself, and some ideas to help overcome it.
1. Design as a matter of personal preference
When there is a design to be evaluated, everyone will have an opinion, strongly rooted in their own preferences. A designer’s preferences ought to be well-aligned with research findings and industry best practices. A developer’s preferences may simply be whatever is easiest for them to develop. A project manager’s preference will likely be similar to the developer’s. A CEO may wander into the meeting and tell you the interface should look like their favorite banking app. These competing interests can lead to every designer’s worst nightmare: design by committee. Assuming the metric for success is usability, whose preferences should matter the most here?
The answer, of course is the user’s.
And in second place? The designer’s.
Assuming that the designer is the most well-versed in industry best practices and user needs, their opinion should always carry the most weight. Especially since they are there to advocate for the human beings who will be actually be using the product.