I’m writing this from an aircraft waiting on a starting ramp in Detroit. We are number three in line. You may ask, what this has to do with finding the best user experience designers. I‘m going to tell you in a bit. But first, let us remind ourselves what user experience means.
User experience is, in a nutshell, the overall experience someone has in contact with a product or service. User experience doesn’t solely describe the experience someone has while using. The UX also includes how someone discovered what he/she is using and which experience lasts after using whatever.
To design an experience you have to understand your user’s feelings, emotions and needs. Therefore, you have to gain empathy. But how do you learn to gain empathy for people? Do you learn it in school? In your design studies? Probably not.
I‘m going to tell you how — by serving people. Nothing teaches you more about empathy as to serve people over and over again. Why do I know? I experienced this my own. I learned the most about how to gain empathy for people by working as a caregiver for seniors. For this job I had to understand their needs and emotions day in and day out. With this empathy, I had to craft and iterate on the experience I provided them throughout the day, over and over again in real-time.
Does this mean I have to look out for former caregivers now? No, not at all. There are many jobs out there which have kind of the same impact. Think of being a servant at a restaurant, working at the front desk of a hotel, or being a flight attendant (here’s the hint to my intro).
I’m hundred percent sure by working as a caregiver I became a better user experience designer. And this is a pattern I see. The best user experience designer I‘ve met so far have done either one of these jobs before. So when ever you hire someone look out and ask for these kind of experiences.