Evolution of user research jobs

When I started in user research in 1994 I was titled a “human factors engineer” although I did neither human factors as we’d understand it today nor any kind of engineering. I’ve been privileged to watch user research evolve and grow and grow and grow some more as a profession sitting under the broad umbrella [...]

2019-02-24T09:44:15-05:00Feb 20, 2019|Tags: , |

What Does it Mean to be a Junior or a Senior UX Professional?

It was the end of 1994 and fresh out of college, I was hired for my first UX role as a research consultant. I proudly started out in the workforce as a “human factors engineer.” In today’s parlance, I was neither doing human factors nor anything related to engineering, but the evolution of UX terminology [...]

2017-07-28T17:28:57-04:00Jul 18, 2017|Tags: |

Should freelancers respond to RFPs?

For the most part, my user research and evaluation freelance work comes through referrals. That means I spend my business development time on being visible and present in the UX/tech world, and then work comes through either people who know me personally or who refer me to others who need user research support. After the [...]

2017-06-23T11:13:34-04:00Jun 23, 2017|Tags: , , |

Should you do UX work in the Federal government when you don’t agree politically?

For much of my UX career, I’ve been pretty solidly tied to the Washington DC region. While I’ve never committed to any one specific industry, just given the amount of Federal UX work that has been available locally, Federal-related contracts have been responsible for a decent percentage of my overall consulting revenue. Although I’ve been [...]

2017-04-24T17:23:39-04:00Mar 1, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Recording for Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning: My lessons learned & a glimpse behind the scenes

Right at the anniversary of my first Lynda.com / LinkedIn Learning course, I had the opportunity to head out once again to sunny Carpinteria, California. I got to record two new courses, both focused on a topic near to my heart - being a freelancer! My first course, Planning a Career in User Experience (UX), [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:39-04:00Feb 24, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Freelancers Onboarding Freelancers

I’ve enjoyed working as a freelancer for the past 8 years and have largely found that I can maintain a workload that matches what can be done by myself and Edie (the second person on my two-person team). Occasionally, however, the workload goes beyond what two people can do, and at those points I have [...]

2017-06-23T11:37:36-04:00Oct 31, 2016|Tags: , , |

Aquent Blog – UX Careers and Artificial Intelligence

If you have seen “careers” and “artificial intelligence” in the same sentence, it’s likely because there is yet another article wondering whether certain jobs will soon be done faster and more reliably by an intelligent algorithm. Employers who hire UX professionals needn’t worry about their staff being replaced by programmed intelligence any time in the [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:13-04:00Apr 1, 2016|Tags: , |

Why UX Careers are Like Cheesecake: Book Cover Revealed!

As I considered the cover of the forthcoming UX Careers Handbook (and as a researcher myself), I did a review of the construction of other UX books to see how others had constructed their covers. A number of book covers only had stylized text. Others had a small and symbolic graphic representing a person, a [...]

2017-04-24T17:21:19-04:00Feb 18, 2016|Tags: |

Is bigger better when you’re a freelancer?

As a user experience (UX) consultant/freelancer with a small business, whenever there is a new project opportunity, I need to decide whether or not to accept the project. I have to think about how well the project fits with the existing skillset and schedule for myself and one staff person, as well as consider the [...]

2017-06-23T11:37:50-04:00Jan 14, 2016|Tags: , , |

Getting close! A UX Careers Handbook Update

Although I announced that I was writing a UX Careers Handbook in mid-December 2014, it wasn’t until mid-January that I actually started putting the virtual pen to paper and writing the book. I’m excited to say that two weeks ago—five months and 82,000 words later—I turned the final manuscript over to the publisher! While the [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:24-04:00Jul 14, 2015|Tags: , |

Politically Sensitive UX Issues

While I’m aware that politically insensitive writing often generates way more discussion than writing that walks a political middle ground, I have always tried to keep my blog posts and articles appropriately balanced and written in such a way that nobody in the mainstream will find them offensive. As the body of text that will [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:36-04:00Mar 19, 2015|Tags: |

UX Careers Handbook: March Update

It’s been only a little over two months since I announced that I’d be starting on a new journey writing a book about UX careers - in fact, the first book that comprehensively covers the broad umbrella that makes up this hot career field since, well, ever. Thank you so much for all the support! In [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:54-04:00Mar 2, 2015|Tags: , |

Teaching Basics of UX/Career Adventure: What Are The Required Skills?

Note: The basic tenants of a “UX adventure” are covered in more detail in the UX Magazine article: UX Adventure: Enhance your resume, improve your career potential, and feel the excitement!   In London this past week at the UXPA 2014 conference the closing keynote speaker, Anna Kirah, made the comment “If we’re going to solve [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:43-04:00Aug 1, 2014|Tags: , , , |

UX Magazine – Go Ahead, White-Label Your Services

While “white-labeling” has been associated most commonly with limited-edition musical recordings, it has also come to refer to a situation where a product or service is provided to a company and that company then sells that product or service under their own brand. For a UX freelancer, this means simultaneously maintaining a personal identity as [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:58-04:00Jul 18, 2014|Tags: , , , |

Everyone can use a mentor

As a senior in college in 1994, I started my first job in my existing career pathway.  I got an internship with a relatively new company, Man-Made Systems (later known as UserWorks), as a human factors engineer, doing today what would be termed user research and evaluation of websites and software applications.  As soon as [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:21-04:00Jun 9, 2014|Tags: , |

UX Magazine – The Hidden Value of UX Connectors and the Future of Our Community

I was in Austin, Texas recently and, following the rules of UX Adventure, I took the opportunity to coordinate with some Austin UXers to meet at a local bar. On the day of the meetup, I checked my Twitter account and noticed that our rendezvous had been tweeted by something called “AustinUX.org.” I didn’t give [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:58-04:00Apr 10, 2014|Tags: , , , |

UXmatters – Are You Ready to Be an Independent UX Consultant?

For most of my career as a UX consultant, I have worked full time on some company’s payroll. A number of years back, one very large consulting organization hired me for a 6-month, full-time gig, working on site for a client. When, at the appointed time, the project concluded successfully, the consulting firm didn’t immediately [...]

2014-03-10T08:17:03-04:00Jan 27, 2014|Tags: , , , |

Diversify Your User Experience Career

Investors are advised to make sure that they have diversity in their portfolio. By diversifying into multiple types of investments and different kinds of industries, there is a safety in knowing that if one type of investment fails, there are other investments that will still succeed. The same is true for User Experience (UX) professionals. [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:18-04:00Dec 16, 2013|Tags: , , , |

Create Your UX News Feed

I’ve been an avid reader of RSS feeds for many years and use a number of RSS feeds to stay on top of things in the UX world. If you’re not familiar with RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, it represents a data feed. With a single URL, you can subscribe to a news or other [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:16-04:00Sep 4, 2013|Tags: |

UX Magazine – These Are My People: The Value in UX Organizations

While at the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) International conference last month in Washington, D.C., I spent a lot of time talking with attendees. I heard all sort of interesting things there, but one simple comment resonated with me: as an attendee looked around the room, she exclaimed: “These are my people!” I realized that [...]

2017-04-22T22:36:55-04:00Aug 21, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |

UX Magazine – UX Adventure: Enhance your resume, improve your career potential, and feel the excitement!

For many of us who have UX careers, it's likely that we find numerous aspects of our work pretty exciting. But exciting work will always wax and wane as UX projects come and go. While your salary may be constant, you may not always enjoy the projects that you are working on. The good news [...]

2014-08-01T08:10:06-04:00Mar 22, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |

User Experience Magazine – Care About Your UX Career? Network Now!

Networking is critical regardless of what your career is. That said, by definition user experience is centered on understanding people: the people we design for, the people that participate in our research studies, and the people that ultimately use our end products. Give your UX peers the opportunity to get to know you and, at [...]

2014-03-05T13:20:10-05:00Mar 1, 2013|Tags: , , , , |

Come join me on a UX adventure in 2013!

Update 3/29/13: This blog was the basis for: Article: Lebson, Cory. 2013. "UX Adventure: Enhance your resume, improve your career potential, and feel the excitement!" UX Magazine, Article No. 983. March 22, 2013. Radio Show: Lebson, Cory.  2013. "How to Turn your Tech Career into an Adventure!" IMI Tech Talk (KFNX News-talk Radio 1100, Phoenix, [...]

2014-08-01T08:10:37-04:00Nov 26, 2012|Tags: , , , |

LinkedIn for User Experience Professionals

[Update 3/29/13: This post was part of the basis for Lebson, Cory. "Care About Your UX Career? Network Now!" User Experience Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 1 (First Quarter 2013).] It was 2003 and a good friend from high school who had moved to Japan sent me a LinkedIn invitation. It said that he wanted me [...]

2014-02-03T11:08:18-05:00Jun 18, 2012|Tags: , , |
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