When you get to 2 billion people and how they’re interacting day to day, it’s really about designing ways in which society can interact. And so it’s very important for design to excel at the piece that is about the pixels and the interaction, and all of those details, but not so much that we limit our purview to the surface level of what design does. I think we have to broaden our sense of responsibility to that whole experience.
Myra Pollack Sadker once said “Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.” The same is true for each professional context a women arrives in and finds herself alone in her gender. By reaching out a hand to the next generation of female UX practitioners, we break that very real, and often overlooked barrier — simply by being proof, that she too belongs.
Design-thinking is not bullshit. However, the marketing of design-thinking is completely bullshit. It’s even getting worse and worse now that we have three-day boot camps that offer certified programs—as if anyone who enrolled in these programs can become a designer and think like a designer and work like a designer.
As the UX community grows, we must work hard to increase awareness of other women in UX because too many great voices and ideas aren’t surfacing in the existing community. Once I said to someone, ‘Why should I teach UX, aren’t there enough UX courses out there’, and the person replied, ‘yes but some people want to learn from you’. We’re drawn to and connect with different types of people — personality, background, life experience. By promoting a diverse range of women in UX, we increase the awareness of many great people to learn from
It’s easy to get lost and doubt yourself as you navigate the early stages of your career, senior female UX designers help inspire and remind younger designers of what’s possible and, that there is no there. When you’re just starting out, you’re hungry for knowledge and self-growth. You’re chasing the time when you’ll finally feel like you made it in your career. But, as you mature and grow both personally and professionally you realize that there is no there. Those feelings of doubt and uncertainly never go away. The idea of imposter syndrome doesn’t magically leave when you get more experience. We’re all trying to figure it out, just like everyone else. The difference? Senior female UX designers likely have more confidence in themselves and their skills — and I think that confidence is what’s like a magnet for younger practitioners and helps inspire them to keep going.
Sheryl [Sandberg] saw the potential for leadership, so pulled me into her group to run a 200-person team. I went from managing 14 to 200 people overnight. That was a big step up in not just how I led but how I talked to people, how I communicated. I went from managing direct reports to managing managers, and becoming more responsible as a leader. And then I went to India, and went from managing 200 people to 1,000 people.
Don’t design for some mystical, cute, little old neighbor lady because that’s the wrong frame. You’re designing for a jazz musician, for a college professor, an airline pilot, for a soccer coach, a navy commander. Because to design, to delight, you need to design for emotional reality, which is the truth of who they are.
Over time, your ‘why’ will expand when you see how much you can actually accomplish, and you’ll want to turn your efforts to something outside yourself. But keeping that ‘why,’ front and center in your mind allows you to stay energized and focused on what you are trying to accomplish, every step of the way.