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Kew Gardens, London, 2015

Let’s talk about what early-career UX folks should emphasize in their portfolio and in interviews, especially when searching for the first few jobs.

I review a lot of portfolios and talk to many UX folks looking for work. (It’s a regular part of the job when you create a UX design school, conduct UX professional development on a massive scale, and operate a job board for UX careers. I love it.)

In reviewing these portfolios, I see the same mistake over and over. While the Interwebs are filled with advice on what to put in your portfolio and how to…


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We often think of metrics as analytical things, devoid of any emotion. After all, an 11.5% conversion rate is just a number. It’s possible we consider it a good number (it’s better than an 8.5% conversion rate) or a poor number (we really wanted a 17.5% conversion rate), but that’s as much emotion as we’ll allow it.

User experience, on the other hand, is a very emotional thing. When we deliver a crappy design, our users become frustrated. When we push out a delightful design, we see our users showing joy.

We don’t want our users to become frustrated. Delivering…


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Read this article on our blog at articles.uie.com.

Increase subscription retention by 15% this quarter.

Increase new policy subscriptions by 20% this year.

These are common business outcomes, results the organization’s leadership wants to attain to keep the organization growing. Every business needs results like these to survive.

It’s a great day when the design team’s leadership can report they’ve played a major role in attaining these outcomes. It’s the holy grail of proving the value of user experience design. “We made these changes in the design and we saw a 15% increase in renewals of existing policyholders”. …


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Read this article on our blog at playbook.uie.com.

“In 250 words or less, tell us about the UX project you’re most proud of.”

We use a tailored form of this question when we’re helping clients with their UX hiring. While the specific question we ask candidates will vary, it does the same thing each time: It tells us which candidates to talk with first.

It’s a great prioritizing tool because, unlike a résumé or portfolio, it’s specific to the job we’re hiring for. For example, when our client was hiring a new senior designer to lead a massive design system…


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Read this article on our blog at articles.uie.com.

After all these years, it still amazes me how much a single document can improve the teams we build, and the products and services our teams deliver. That single document is a performance profile and it’s a game changer.

The idea of the performance profile came from the recruiter Lou Adler. I first read about it in his book, Hire with Your Head, which is where you’ll find the best description of his thoughtfully-designed Performance-based Hiring approach.

The idea is simple: get the team together and describe what the work will be…


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Read this article on our blog at playbook.uie.com.

As a UX leader, you have a prime directive within your organization: To increase your organization’s capability to deliver better-designed products and services. Every UX strategy you choose should achieve this goal.

Executing the right UX strategies will increase the value your UX team provides. Often, this increase in value will be rewarded with the opportunity to grow your team.

Growing your UX team also needs to follow this prime directive. Every new person you add to your UX team must increase your organization’s capability to deliver better-designed products and services.

Hiring must be every UX leader’s top priority

Too…


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Read this article on our blog at articles.uie.com.

Proactive UX research anticipates the critical user experience decisions that a team faces. The team’s UX research effort uncovers sound findings and insights to ensure they make the best possible decisions for their users and customers.

This is in contrast to how most teams conduct their UX research today. Most teams react to questions that arise during the design process. Can the users successfully use the thing we are building? Have we designed this thing to meet their expectations?

These are important questions to answer. Teams often answer them through validation techniques…


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Read this article on our blog at playbook.uie.com.

“That was the big mistake we made.” I was listening to the new Senior Director of User Experience at a Fortune 200 company. They were in their 4th month as Senior Director, having inherited the team from the person who had started the UX group.

The Senior Director had just finished up a meeting with all of the group’s 160 UX professionals. Practically everyone complained about finding their daily work challenging.

Some team members were so frustrated that they were strongly considering leaving. Many already have. The team was losing great people.

“We’re only hiring the best and brightest.”


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Read this article on our blog at articles.uie.com.

UX leaders need an effective hiring approach to fill a position and build their team. If they take an ineffective approach, they risk pushing away highly-quality candidates, which makes it harder to fill the positions. And if they hire someone who isn’t capable of doing the work, because they’ve hired the wrong person, they create problems down the road as the team tries to achieve its goals.

As we’ve worked with user experience leaders to build up their team’s UX capabilities, we’ve noticed there are two approaches to hiring. …


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Read this article on our blog at playbook.uie.com.

When an organization’s leadership values design, it falls on UX design leaders to show how good design is continuing to deliver that value. And in organizations where the executive leadership doesn’t yet value design, UX team leaders need to show how much poor UX design is costing the organization.

When UX design leaders arrive at our Creating a UX Strategy Playbook workshop, how do I measure the value of my designs is often their top question. They are responding to the desire, from their organization’s leadership, to justify continued investment in their…

Jared M. Spool

Maker of Awesomeness at @CenterCentre/@UIE. Helping designers everywhere help their organizations deliver well-designed products and services.

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