I am a UX (user experience) designer by trade.  I’ve officially been doing so for roughly 5-6 years now, so not a lot of time, but not a small number of years nor experience either.  Presently, I am actively looking for a new group of people to make wonderful solutions with.  I’m excite to venture out and get outside of my comfort zone!

There is this one question that I am getting asked a lot when interviewing:

“What is your process when you do UX?”

Well isn’t that a question to grind your teeth on…

I honestly hate that question.  As in – a lot.  It’s not one of those things like when I forget to brush my teeth and it becomes glaringly obvious when I meet somebody new for the first time and I sit there self consciously trying to focus on the conversation I am having all the while hoping my breath isn’t attacking them.  This is more like the hate that I feel when I hear of somebody doing terrible things to unsuspecting innocents.

Ok, maybe not that bad, but hopefully you get the point.

 

Here is why I dislike this question so strongly:

My process changes with every single project I am on.  It has to do with EVERYTHING.  The team dynamic and the people I will be working with.  The expertise of the people I will be presenting my project work to.  The project itself.  The project scope and budget.  Even the coffee that I’ve had the past week, which I had because the place I usually get it from was out of my preferred blend.

and most importantly… because when I am in ‘process’ mode, it’s because there is a part of my brain that turns on like a switch.  It’s akin to the feeling of rolling up your sleeves – when it’s go time, everything starts falling into place.  It honestly feels like a whole different part of my brain that I use than the part I use to function on a daily basis.

 

You might be thinking:

“So you can’t talk about your process?  That’s not going to be useful!”

When are we talking about?  This is key and very important.  If I am talking with a client about the process that I am going to take for their particular project or range of projects then… I already have some sort of knowledge about their needs.  It may be a thin shadow of an idea, but there is at the very-least SOMETHING.  I can build a process around their project, my team, and the needs of their end-users.  Even if we are talking about pre-discovery-phase.  That initial bit of knowledge that I need can often be obtained through my group’s wonderful biz-dev team or maybe my project manager and at the very least can be obtained after a brief call with the client.

If, however, we are talking about the grand-scheme of things while discussing the possibility of me being a new member of a team… this is too broad!  I’m basically in ‘standby’ mode.

 


 

Now, I am a very solutions driven individual, so rather than just leaving a rant open-ended, I will present to you, my fine readers, with a solution.

Provide a scenario / design challenge

The open-ended question above has little to nothing to build from.  Instead, present a scenario or a design challenge.  Give me a fake or past client, a level of back-knowledge and ask for me to explain what my process might be for that specific scenario.  My answers, and the answers of any of your future candidates may be far more concise.  It will also likely weed out those who are ‘faking it’ through the interview.

 

Thanks for reading!

~ Ariel S.