When I decided to start my career in UX, one thing that really bothered me was, being a UX Designer I’m supposed to interact with new people every day; with clients for requirement gathering and follow-ups; with users/potential users as the part of user research, and with my colleagues in different locations. But I am a person who likes to spend time alone or with a few close family members. Being in a group of unfamiliar people is something that makes me really uncomfortable. But still, I decided to step into this career because of my passion for designing.
Many people (years back I was also one of them) think that UX Research is a job for extrovert people. Assuming that we should be loud, we should have extra confidence to talk in front of people and to actively participate in team activities. Yes, As a UX Designer, the art of communicating with people is crucial. But that doesn’t mean the job is limited to extroverts. It might be difficult for introverted people to do stakeholder or user interviews. But they have different areas like concept map/ Information Architecture/ UX writing/ Interaction Design/ high and low fidelity wireframes. In-fact in those areas, they may be able to outperform extroverts.
Interested to know how?
We are great observers
As an introvert, we tend to listen and observe more. Good listening means being able to read and be aware of both the verbal and non-verbal messages. Good listening means fewer mistakes and better project results. Also, this trait helps us tremendously in doing usability tests.
We are excellent communicators
While I consider myself an introvert, it doesn’t mean I sit alone all day with the desire to never interact with another person. We do interact with people but we think before we speak. We don’t talk for the sake of talking which makes communication more effective. And we are perfectly comfortable with silence too!
We can empathize with people better
This is the ability to understand a person’s condition from their perspective. Our empathetic nature makes headway to capture the feelings around us. This makes it easier to pick up what they are feeling when using a product or service and can come to a solution regarding the user’s expectations and pain points.
Most of us are good readers or artists
Once a UX Designer, always a student. He needs to update himself based on the changes in industry standards and technologies. Introverts like me find happiness when we are in our own space along with a book, canvas or music. So that taste of designing and interest in reading is always with us.
My success mantra
From my experience, those young introverts who wanted to pursue their career in UX should never be ashamed of being an introvert. Typical introverted attributes like being good at listening, reasoning, thinking before speaking, thorough preparation, reading, researching, and writing are all ideal for UX roles.
And for those who find difficulty in interacting with people during meetings & discussions, I’ve found that preparation and practice help tremendously. I usually write out everything I want to say and run through it several times. I try to think ahead of any questions that may come up so that I’m not taken by surprise. I remind myself of the effort I’ve put into my research and this helps me feel confident in the conclusions I have drawn.
So my fellow introverts, let these slightly uncomfortable situations empower you to improve a few skills that an introverted person doesn’t necessarily have. Don’t push back and stay in your comfort zone. Embrace the challenge and also find ways to achieve it. Don’t allow your personality to influence your passion & desire for UX. It’s tough & draining yet very rewarding!