UX Relational Factoids (or Insights For Successful Engagement with UX Professionals)

by Darren Hood, MSUXD

Originally published in 2016, this piece was written as a partner post to “When a UX Professional Speaks.” It provides additional insights into the psyche and persona of UX professionals, helping aspiring UXers, stakeholders, and leaders to understand how true UX professionals are wired. After all, it’s never just about the work. It’s about the cognition and functionality behind the work.

Many organizations are embracing user experience, building teams and attempting to transform into design-led companies. Some efforts are successful and some are fledgling. One of the reasons for the latter involves the failure to recognize the things that make UX professionals tick, as well as a lack of emotional intelligence required in order to engage with UX professionals. Yes, we talk about wireframes, prototypes, ethnography, contextual inquiries, content strategy, and the like, but the interpersonal elements usually go overlooked, resulting in dysfunction, failed or undesirable project results, and…. attrition — all of which cost companies millions (potentially).

Today, I’d like to mention some of these more obscure elements that, if recognized and embraced, will help us to achieve the success we desire. Before I mention some key (what I’d like to refer to as) UX relational factoids (i.e., key information that will inform regarding how UX professionals think , function, and interact), I’d like to mention in advance that this list is quite atypical. In other words, many either wouldn’t make a connection between these elements and the world of UX. Upon further review, however, everyone will come to know that each one is key to successful interpersonal interactions, especially with non-UX professionals.

Ready? Here goes:

Some of these factoids and insights might be difficult to swallow for some, but I respectfully ask people at least take them into consideration and respond accordingly. For those working with UX professionals, each one of these factoids is important to embrace in order to have fruitful, mutually respectful relationships.

Hopefully, you’ll digest this information properly and govern yourselves accordingly. :-)

You can hear more from the author by checking out the UX Uncensored Medium page or listening to The World of UX with Darren Hood wherever podcasts are available.

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UX Uncensored

Darren Hood: UX pro (27+ yrs), adjunct professor, TEDx and conference speaker, author (97 Things UX book), host of The World of UX podcast, & “pure UX” advocate