Life of UX Designer in Agencies

this story is from some of my own experiences, no offence if your agency never really existed this way.

Just after taking a long break from what I’ve learned all these days, I started to work on crafting my daily routines in a meaningful way. And this is the time when I realized what I actually am and what I’m supposed to be.

In the Indian IT sector, being a user experience designer is the same as any other designer on the planet. The expectations they have for you is to make UI look cool, able to create graphic assets, create branding, design for games, design posters, flyers, other marketing collaterals, and many more. Sometimes they also expect you to design UI and code it as well, we might want to clarify this before getting onboard.

Credit: homework.pk

What we usually face there?

Let’s take a look at the typical workflow of a ‘UX designer driving the project” in the Indian software agency.

  • Gather requirements from the client.
  • Discuss with teams likes sales and marketing, to analyze the requirement and charge for it.
  • Create 2–3 sample visual languages and send them to the client for their tweaks.
  • After the visual language is finalized, then you will be making a road map for design with just wire-framing and visual designs, this is because the product owners or stakeholders might feel that doing research on product or competitors, market, business goals, etc would be an extra effort and unnecessary. This is when everyone in the room believes that Time is Money.
  • Once you’re ready with an action plan, you will be working on wireframes with some hypothetical solutions from the requirements. But in some cases, there will be no clear requirement shared except an idea behind the product. Now, this is the phase where everyone in your organization assumes themselves as designers and ask you to make the tweaks to your design (yes, they are not bothered about altering the user experience).
Source: Dribbble
  • Convincing the stakeholders with your decisions is also a hectic job. There are people who really respect your decision while others are more self-centric about their product. That’s the area where you need to bring-in your allies to back you up. Else, you will be ending up making your client decisions yours.
  • Luckily if your designs got approved, they will be handed to developers who usually respect functionality over design while building the products. Compared to others, India has quite a good number of developers who get the job done but they seem to be very lazy when it comes to aesthetics, look and feel, placements, alignments, colors, etc.
  • In such cases, you being a designer might want to sit by the developer and feed your design to them. There are few more things we might face with these guys, such as…
  1. You do R&D for developer resources.
  2. You find source code for your design requirement and they will customize it.
  3. Do quality checks for a set of screens at frequent intervals.
  4. If the developer doesn’t want to do some task they start shooting with their jargon and fool you.
  5. Put your logical brain at work and give them ideas on how logic needs to be implemented.
  6. Indirectly, you should be the brain and he will write your code.
Source: Optinmonster
  • Fight for deadlines.
  • The client yells and you make excuses.
  • Management yells for quality and your excuses were never considered.
  • If the clients are not ready to accept the end product with poor quality, management might sit on your head saying “You’re the UX Designer, do something”, which doesn’t make sense in at all most of the times.

This workflow you cannot expect in a job description of a UX Designer but this is what usually happens in most software agencies in India.

So, how to be like the grand-father of UX…

  • Start saying NO.
  • Pick the role that suits you and stick to it no matter what.
  • Be confident while you speak.
  • Make a point only if you’re sure about it. If not, do some research to back it up with some live examples or references.
  • Keep in mind that the company’s business is none of your business, advocate for user no matter what.
  • People hate you if you do that, but later they will realize.
  • Talk with people, but make sure you stay on the topic.
  • Learn to talk in a way that people believe you’re worthy of.
  • Believe in your skillset, don’t compare with others.
  • Last but not least, if you’re not happy with the culture, move out and find a better place where ‘you’ matter most.

From the author

Everyone is meant to specialize in something. If you have interest in more than one then just focus on one that makes you ‘You’. If you have a valid point then state it never bother about what others think, or its impact on the hike, appraisals, feelings, job security, etc. If not here somewhere else, communities like Medium, Dribbble, Behance, etc are always here to let the world know who you really are.

Have a good day!

Let me know in comments if you have anything to add. Thanks for your time

User Experience Designer