I love human-centered design because it combines disciplined problem solving with open-ended solutions. Every task is different, and therefor every interface is different. Creativity is built into the job, and to me that’s wonderful. I also enjoy being an advocate for the user. I find it highly rewarding to spend my days trying to make someone else’s day better.
I can do UX research. Whether it’s background ethnographic investigations, user interviews, one-on-one usability testing, focus groups, or questionnaires, I can do it. I can plan the study, create test materials, run the study, process the data, and write a formal report. I’m enjoy playing with data and trying to find the truth behind the numbers. Additionally, and more importantly, I’m good at summarizing research data and communicating it to the team so that we all can understand & make an informed decision.
I can do UX design. And while I can make interesting visuals, I’m not a graphic designer…my focus is on the interaction. Is it simple? Is it intuitive? Does it build off of the user’s mental model? Does it help promote productivity & task completion? Does it help prevent user errors? Is it flexible to different user needs/tasks? Does it present information clearly and prescriptively? Is interface navigation easy & straightforward? These are the types of things that I worry about when working on an interface.
I understand code, but I’m no developer. I do work to understand developers’ concerns regarding technology, and I also respect their inputs regarding interface design.
I think that my best skill is usability insight. I can see user problems without necessarily being told about them. It’s one thing to conduct a user test where the user says “I need X.” and then just giving it to them. It’s another thing to look at the usability problem, see an issue, and ask the user “Do you think that X would be a good idea?” and have them respond, “Yes! That would be very helpful. Thanks.”
In the past I’ve used Axure and Adobe Muse to make interactive prototypes. But if you have a different kind of software that you use, just let me know and I can learn it. One of the bonuses of being an interaction designer is the ability to quickly learn and understand new software interfaces.