Silvia Benavente is the Head of UX/UI at Birda, and a recent guest on Client Server’s Talking Tech videocast . These are her top five pieces of advice for anyone wanting to grow a career in UX/UI.
Never stop learning
One of the things I always tell my juniors is that I keep learning. I feel like I still have thousands of things to learn. I buy one or two books per week. I am constantly listening to podcasts, picking up information about new ideas. I am obsessed with innovation and what’s going to happen in the future. For me, it’s super important to see how people are going to be doing things, even 500 years from now. Today’s way of doing things is done, it’s in the past. But designing the future is very interesting.
Don’t be afraid to ask “Why are we building this?”
Before I design, I think about the methodology behind a product, its reason for existing. It means that before you build, you are 100% sure that it’s what the user wants. So, you spend time – sometimes I spend months running workshops with 300-400 people over a matter of weeks. I put them in a room for three or so hours, no phones, none of that stuff, and let them think and play games like a child. And that way, you uncover so much about how a person will use your product. I’ve always said if my grandmother can use an app, it’s working.
Job titles aren’t that important
The move from being a mid-level UX/UI designer to a senior is about more than a new job title. It’s a responsibility. It means you have more responsibility not just to yourself, but to your team and with the people working with you. It’s super important that those who become senior are good managers, and the best managers are humble people, kind people. When you stop listening to your ego, you find yourself embracing people more.
Check your ego at the door
Egos can be a massive problem in creative design, and that happens a lot with those who get promoted or take on more senior responsibilities. So, the question I like to ask anyone who wants to take a step up is “Are you ready to take care of the more junior members of your team?” A manager’s responsibility to look out for them. It’s not about micromanaging them, but to give them the tools they need to do their job.
Be humble, be kind, and listen
My advice is always “Be humble, be kind, and listen”. I ask thousands of questions. At my company, I always ask why. "Why, why, why we are doing that? Why do you say..." Because if you don't have all the answers, if you can’t answer “Why you are doing that? What is the decision? What is the purpose of doing that?” then you can't design.