The 5 most important invisible SKILLS of a UX HERO!

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You are an awesome UX Designer. You love your job? Of course, because you are a great designer and you deliver the best concepts. Your interaction designs win different awards? You are more creative and competent than other UI/ UX designers?

But you don’t get recognized?

You don’t have the chance to prove yourself at the right time?

Now, ask yourself: What are the key skills that make a true UX hero? The skills don’t have anything to do with the ability to design, to concept or to do research. Anyone truly interested in the field may have the opportunity to acquire the typical UX Skills, but there is only a few who will get recognized by the world. And the skills making up these UX heroes are hidden skills – skills you can’t easily learn at school or university.  So, let’s talk about the social UX skills to become a UX Hero.

1.) Have a network behind you

During your whole life, if you want to be a UX leader or hero you will come to different challenges with different exercises. You are most likely not the one person who can solve all problems. But you must know who you can ask, or who can help you to get to and stay at the top. In the end it was your task to solve the problem.

So, what are the to-dos you need to master for this first skill:

  • Build up a huge network to know who to ask
  • Convince the right people who are influencers of your goals
  • Help your contacts every time and build a high level of trust – for every once in while you may need help



2.) Ask questions

Asking questions is the holy answer to everything in UX. If you get technical or other requirements: don’t trust them. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Ask questions, if you do. Our job is to ask questions, questions, questions. The more you know, the better will your designs be. In fact, asking questions is no sign of being stupid, it’s a sign of being interested and it will give your designs the edge your clients will look out for. Knowledge is power.

So, what to do:

  • Ask as many questions at the beginning of a project. Start with a vision workshop.
  • Ask everything, every time in your life. Repeat.
  • Summarize answers for everyone involved to clarify your understanding and potentially spark new questions!



3.) Be personal

If you have no personal level of communication, no one will tell you the true insights. I know a lot of companies where usability tests are not personal at all. Do you really think the tester will tell you the whole truth? Think about your clients and the people showing up for your usability tests and make sure to fit your appearance to them. This will allow for an easier connection. Ask them (not too) personal questions to break the ice and be a person to sympathize with. This holds true in every project and for every team. A personal feeling and connection will bring you the right information and so you can design much better products.

So, what to do:

  • Find a level of communication and talk
  • Ask personal questions, connect and show personality
  • Be a gentleman / lady to show your respect


4.) Be active not reactive

Be the first to communicate. If you have a bad feeling, ask, organize a meeting, go forward. To be reactive it’s the worst thing you can do. To wait for customers giving feedback or if you are waiting what you should do.

Offence is the best defence.

Customers, or your boss don’t know it better than you, so have an opinion and tell it to others. But you must argue, question and build upon it every time. For that you must have knowledge, ask questions and know all the foundations in UX. Processes, methods.

So how to start with it

  • Know all the foundations in UX. Have a proper certification, get re-certificated.
  • Know what to do in all situations. Have a strategy.
  • Be an influencer. Tell your story.



5.) Don’t believe a HIPPO

This is something I saw and experience everyday in my life.  If someone in a higher position has an opinion, UX designers do what they want. No question asked. That’s the wrong way – you need to think differently and question what you’re being told. Be active.

Don’t believe a HIPPO (highest paid persons opinion)

It summarizes all other skills. Be active, ask questions, have a network behind to answer questions and be always a gentleman or lady that they have no way to attack you.


  • Have your own opinion
  • Design every time something new and innovative
  • Work on use cases, not on opinions


So the most important way to start is to build up a great network. How is it possible? Meet people, visit UX Meetups and conferences like the World Usability Congress (early Bird until end of June). There you will find the best design & UX heroes from around the world.

Try to find a mentor who will support you on any way. If unsure how to do that – a great way is the Interaction Design Foundation, IxDA or your local UXPA.

Try do design your own sheet with all 5 social skills and put it in front of your computer. Start working on every skill continuously. Write blog articles, share your thoughts. People will start following you.

Create your livelong masterplan, your vision board.

And there are much more possibilities.