Six things nobody warned me about working in the UX industry

I love my job. As a UX Designer, I get to help teams build wonderful digital products that have an impact on people’s lives. It’s a fun and rewarding role, so it’s no wonder the number of designers like me is set to grow by a factor of 100 over the next thirty years. UX design is also an in-demand skill, which is bringing loads of new talent to the field.

It can be easy to get caught up in the hype around UX design. It seems too good to be true, right? However, there are downsides which I feel…

An honest look back at my time as an independent designer

I’ve always wanted to be a freelancer. The idea of running my own business however I wanted to was so appealing, and 2020 was the year I decided to make the leap.

In the middle of a global pandemic, I set out on my path to independence. At the start it was so tough. Design roles had dried up across the world, and nobody wanted to take a chance on a freelancer with no track record. The doubts started creeping in, and I considered giving up.

Eventually I found my footing. I learned from my mistakes and I started to…

Is our showboating doing us more harm than good?


In 2012, Google Ventures created the design sprint. It’s a five-day collaboration with a variety of members in your product team. You “sprint” through the whole design process in a week, from defining the problem to creating a prototype. The idea is to bring in ideas from key stakeholders, and to help them empathise with their customers.

And it seems to have worked.

Nine years later, workshops and ideation sessions have become commonplace in product teams. Non-designers throw around terms like “usability” and “design thinking” as often as we do. But what’s the consequence of this? …

Bootcamps aren’t the shortcut you’re looking for

Everyone takes different paths into the UX industry. Even with the amount of design qualifications available, most designers I’ve spoken to don’t have one. From what I’ve seen, design-focused courses and bootcamps are targeted at people looking to change industries.

Bootcamp programmes are good at teaching you the absolute basics. However, they aren’t a direct pipeline into a job. Once you graduate you’ll need to apply to the same roles as everyone else, and having a certificate doesn’t give you any big advantage.

Great designers need to go beyond their training. It’s not enough to rely on your portfolio to…

Step off of the design portfolio assembly line with some critical thinking.

Decorative. A group of robots, but one is much more prominent and confident-looking than the others.
Decorative. A group of robots, but one is much more prominent and confident-looking than the others.

The way designers build their case studies is broken. If you’re a design school or bootcamp graduate, odds are that your portfolio will look the same as everyone else’s. It’s not your fault, it’s a product of the system. Following case study templates doesn’t require critical thinking, but it’s what you’re taught to do, right?

And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, the things case studies focus on aren’t impressive. If you’re selling yourself as a designer I’m going to assume you can make something as simple as wireframes.

As someone who’s previously hired a designer, I can tell…

Practice your presentation skills in a safe and comfortable way

Decorative. A stylised illustration of a virtual group call.
Decorative. A stylised illustration of a virtual group call.

I’ve always assumed that public speaking events are for experts. Professionals who’ve already got 15+ years of real experience under their belts. But really, anyone can do it. The infamous Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park is a space where anyone with an opinion can have their voice heard. And with the growing popularity of online spaces like Clubhouse, you can set up your own virtual soap box anywhere.

Brown bags are a great way to dip your toes into public speaking. They’re essentially a group lunch but one of you gives a brief talk on a topic you’re interested in…

My advice for taking your first steps into creating articles

Decorative. A rocket launching.
Decorative. A rocket launching.

Like everyone on Medium, my account was empty when I first created it. Over the past couple of years, I’ve grown and learned how to write articles through reading and writing. I’ve taken no shortcuts. Everything I have now is the result of practice and dedication, and I want to give you some advice on how you can do the same.

You can already find plenty of articles both here on Medium and through Google about the practical sides of getting started. But this one is about my experience. …

Why a process page is so effective and how you can build one

Decorative. A character looking at a screenshot of my portfolio’s process page.
Decorative. A character looking at a screenshot of my portfolio’s process page.

As a freelancer, I need to know which pages on my website are being seen and how people are finding me. I have an analytics tool call Splitbee on my design portfolio so I can keep track of these insights. The other day, something caught my eye; the majority of people coming to my site never look at my case studies.

Like many other designers, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my case studies, so it’s disheartening to see them neglected like this. But I understand why. …

Advice for making the best of this controversial interview step

Decorative. A character holding a pencil and checklist
Decorative. A character holding a pencil and checklist

Being asked to work for a company for free is a sour thought, but it’s the reality of many job-seeking designers in 2021. A design task (or exercise) is a common step in the hiring process, used to see how someone tackles a problem. The person hiring gives the candidate a brief to complete at home. They’ll then present their solution in a later interview.

Design tasks are a hot topic in the design community. From what I’ve seen in my network, designers at all levels recognise that they’re a flawed way to test someone’s thinking skills. Tasks are too…

Four common questions you should avoid to improve the quality of your user interviews

Decorative. A monkey covering their mouth and looking embarrassed.
Decorative. A monkey covering their mouth and looking embarrassed.

If you’re making and selling a product, you need to know your customers. After all, they’re the people you’re trying to make happy, so it pays to know what’ll be good for them. User interviews are a method user researchers use to learn more about their customer base. You talk to someone one-to-one about their wants and needs. Sometimes you’ll show them things like prototypes to gain further insights.

Interviews are simple to run, but it can be easy to mess them up and ask the wrong questions. A common mistake is to ask your interviewee to come up with…

Amy Rogers

UX Designer and Researcher · Writing about pushing our design boundaries · Passionately curious 🐱‍🚀 ·

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