The UX Roundtable
I work for a large healthcare company that has several subsidiary digital agencies. My agency is relatively small compared to the others, and as a matter of fact, I’m the only UX designer here.
When I first started, I questioned how I was going to be able to grow and learn especially because there is no one here with my skill set and no one from who I could learn from.
Every good UX design career blog will tell you that you need a mentor. What happens if there is no one around you? You’ll need to create the possibilities for yourself.
Your place of employment can provide opportunities to learn from others, and it’s the optimal place to find a mentor. If you have a really good manager that can inspire you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. For the rest of us solo designers, we have to create the opportunity for ourselves.
Carve Your Opportunity
In my case, I am fortunate to have access to other UX designers in sister agencies. Thus, I decided to create a UX roundtable for the whole organization. The idea was to include all UX-ers from around our company to share stories, learning, frustrations, case studies and ideas that would help all of us be better at our jobs.
So every month we set up a conference call where we talk to one another about projects that we are working on. We’ll talk about encountering roadblocks and how to overcome them. Sometimes we’ll talk about how no one gets UX, and that’s important too. It gives us the opportunity to figure out how to better advocate for design thinking.
We also created an internal Slack channel so that we can communicate in between our monthly calls. This allows us to ask each other questions if we find ourselves in a difficult spot. It has been a great tool to share useful content, inform each other about interesting webinars, and overall just a good way to communicate.
I had to seek opportunities to grow and learn more about UX, especially being the only designer in my agency. I knew I would have to find and create those opportunities and be a leader for my larger organization.
I am fortunate to be part of this larger network and thus create a resource where we teach each other how to become better UX craftspeople. Creating the UX roundtable in my organization has also helped fellow designers learn and grow alongside me.
I think that there can be many different ways in which we can learn. Maybe it’s a mentor who is going to show you the ropes. Maybe it is by reading and educating yourself on trends and best practices. Maybe it is learning from your network. If you don’t have the resources available to you, you’ll need to find and/or create them for yourself. Don’t be shy. Reach out to those you know can help, and most will.
Feel free to share your own story and letting me know how you are learning about UX.
I am always available on Twitter at Stefanie Lauria.