Why You Should Consider a Career in Enterprise UX
Its huge scale and far-reaching impact make it the ultimate challenge
In 2005, YouTube was born, Google had just acquired Android, Yahoo was a popular search engine, and there was no Netflix, Twitter, or Spotify. In that same year, I was asked to build up and manage my first visual design team. In those still formative years of the internet and modern user experience (UX), it was unusual — at least in Europe — to find a visual designer trained in human-computer interaction.
So, I hired what I could find: talented graphic designers, most of whom had experience creating work for print and the web, but who had no idea about designing software. In elaborate, half-day interview-cum-workshops, I presented the fundamentals of the job, had the candidates work together on small but representative design tasks, and asked some typical interview questions, like what they hoped to earn. Interestingly, their salary expectations were almost always lower than our predefined starting range.
Despite an exhaustively transparent interview process about the day-to-day design work, the brightness of a steady gig and top-notch compensation apparently had a blinding effect on all the candidates. Once the honeymoon glow of their starting salaries faded, however, the reality of the job became clear.
The visual designers on my team would not be unleashing their wildly creative energy on dazzling works of graphic art that would earn them enthusiastic accolades among their creative peers. Instead, they were creating and refining a visual design system for enterprise software, stuff that requires intellectual rigor, a collaborative mindset, and unflagging attention to detail.
Many struggled with this at first, but only one designer left my team. Walking through our headquarter hallways today, I still see employees I hired almost 15 years ago. Why did they stay? The reasons are more nuanced than good pay alone.
What is enterprise UX?
In short, enterprise UX is the design of software that helps people do their jobs. The difference between enterprise and consumer UX is best illustrated by an example: An app that helps businesses monitor their trucking fleet is…