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Diagnosis: UX Charlatans 

How to SpotThem Quickly and Stop Wasting 

Time, Money and Nerves
@MartinaMitz8th September 2018
The Plan™
• Who the F*** Am I to Diagnose?
• Situation on the Market
• Diagnosis: UX Charlatans - 9 Symptoms
• What to Loo...
image: http://thebqb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/frust3.jpeg
@MartinaMitz
…Me in the Past FewYears
images: 1st - source unknown, 2nd - http://imgur.com/gallery/GUcVw.jpg
@MartinaMitz
One Explanation…
BUT WAIT
Let me tell you where I am coming from…
@MartinaMitz
(1999) 2001:
Web Designer
(semi human-centered)
@MartinaMitz
Passion
2001 - 2007:
Certified Psychologist (Education)
2008 - 2009:
Clinical Psychologist
@MartinaMitz
Profession
image: https://nonverbalforte.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Insecure-Photo.jpg
@MartinaMitz
…Me at theTime
Time to Do Something!
PSYCHOLOGY

(profession)
WEB DESIGN

(passion)
ME?

(crazy?)
@MartinaMitz
Pro-passion Beginnings
2009 - 2010:
"Konzeptioner/in"
(Marketing, Research, Concept,

Content, Visual Design, Development)...
Pro-passion
since 2010:
UI Designer / Web Designer 

Interaction Architect (Ix)

Information Architect (IA)

UX Architect
...
My Mission:
since 2014:
To plant different "seeds"

in (business leader’s) mind-sets…
@MartinaMitz
Totally in the Mood of:
Khoi Vinh’s talk:

"Thinking Critically About Design and Criticism”

2018
@MartinaMitz
My Mission:
since 2014:
To plant different "seeds"

in (business leader’s) mind-sets…
…by being (self) critical.
@MartinaM...
MEANWHILE
… on the market
@MartinaMitz
We Haven’t Done What We Preach - 

"Talking Our Users' Language"!
Spreading of misunderstandings:
• UX is only User Resear...
Example:
@MartinaMitz
Example:
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
Hardly Any Official 

Educational Paths
Confused colleagues, due to our
very diverse (study-)backgrounds:
• Computer discip...
Huge Demand
@MartinaMitz
🚀
Huuuuuge Demand
@MartinaMitz
SOME REPRESENTATIVE NUMBERS:





from 26 482* jobs registered with the
German Federal Employ...
UX has become very trendy
BUT actually in a misunderstood way
There is a huge demand for skilled experts
BUT it is hard to...
image: http://www.sparksgroupinc.com/resources/sparks-group-blog/
Buzzwordizing:
@MartinaMitz
Sidenote: Rupert at IxDAb
Surely also a valuable one:



"Why you're a Brand Shaper (knowingly or not) 

and what you can ...
"Hype vs. Change =Talking vs. Doing"
Very helpful against Hypes:



"Hyper! Hyper!!"

Rupert Platz's talk at

UX Camp Berl...
Diagnosis: UX Charlatans
9 Symptoms
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
WARNING!
You will find yourself in some of the symptoms, 

this still does not qualify you! ;) 

… it highly depends on: 

...
1st Symptom
ONLY USERS ARE IMPORTANT
• Dismissing business/stakeholder needs, pains or questions
• Getting lost in User Re...
2nd Symptom
DO WHAT THE BUSINESS WANTS
• React only to the demands of the business or other stakeholders
• Do, do ,do - de...
3rd Symptom
KNOW-IT-ALL
• Trust-me attitude + strong ego
• Know all the answers straight away
• Give solutions, rather tha...
3rd Symptom - Example
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
4th Symptom
SWEET TALK
• Say things that sound right
• Make strong and confident statements
• No substance, no practical co...
5th Symptom
MASK IT WITH JARGON
• Tend to hide behind jargon
• Use specific terms, sometimes without understanding them
• F...
6th Symptom
JUST RETURN THE BALL
• Good at delegating and/or fishing for info and ideas
• Better in adapting into the curre...
UX IS ALL IN THE TOOLS
• Strong advocates of specific tools
• Usually, defensive against new stuff
• Only concentrating on ...
7th Symptom -Tool Evolution
slide:“Hyper! Hyper!!” - Rupert Platz - UX Camp Berlin 2017
@MartinaMitz
7th Symptom -Tool Madness
@MartinaMitz
7th Symptom - BestTool so Far!
image: https://pilgrimroad.com/wp-content/uploads/prc-ux-ui-design-tools-rocketbook-wave-sk...
8th Symptom
UX IS JUST DIGITAL
• Also, only concentrating on tangible outputs, rather than solution paths
• Caring rather ...
UX isn’t Just Digital!
As shown in the talk:



“(Human) Interaction 

at Conferences”





2014
Claudia Brückner
@Martina...
9th Symptom
I CAN DO THAT TOO!
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
UX
9th Symptom - Best Example
WORKING ALONGSIDE UX DESIGNERS IS ENOUGH?
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
9th Symptom - Best Example
WORKING ALONGSIDE UX DESIGNERS ISN’T ENOUGH!
#goUXX
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
The 9 Symptoms:
If 3 or more of the following symptoms
appear on more than 3 encounters, 

then you are most probably deal...
WHATTO LOOK FOR
IN A GOOD UX
Some similarities in great thinkers:
@MartinaMitz
Some UX-Mindset Observations
Great Design-Thinkers and Problem-Solvers:
• Will hardly give you a direct solution - rather ...
Some Psychological UX-Traits
Great Design-Thinkers and Problem-Solvers:

Are
curious / analytical / critical / 

empatheti...
BUT WHAT IS UXTHEN?
I will let the “father” of UX explain…

but first a UX Charlatan
@MartinaMitz
A Highly-Rated UX Charlatan:
“User Experience 

is obviously 

what the user sees”
@MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
UX is Much MoreThanThat!
SecondMuse showed:



“Co-Creating Prosperity"





2013
Ruha Reyhani
@MartinaMitz
Don Norman:
video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BdtGjoIN4E
@MartinaMitz
UX is…
"User experience" encompasses all aspects
of the end-user's interaction with the
company, its services, and its pro...
TO PUT IT SIMPLER:
And in the words of 

my very own UX-Dad
@MartinaMitz
UX is…
…the sum of a series of
interactions between:
• people,
• devices
• events
Eric Reiss
image: UX Sofia, 2015
@Martina...
@MartinaMitz
On to the next 10, dear IxDA Berlin!
IxDA Berlin 2017 - Design Against Populism
@MartinaMitz
PROST!
Martina Mitzieva-Veglia
UX Psychologist, Strategist & Designer
martina.mitz@gmail.com
web, skype, twit...
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Diagnosis: UX Charlatans - How to Spot Them Quickly and Stop Wasting Time, Money and Nerves

User Experience (UX) is probably one of the fastest evolving and most exciting disciplines to be a part of these days. As the practical value of UX-work has become more and more obvious in the past few years, the demand for UX Designers and experts has grown exponentially.

Unfortunately, there are hardly any official educational paths or certifications yet and the confusion around UX is very broad – UX is becoming a buzzword. As a result, the market is not only confused or has at best a very narrow understanding of the term, but this also offers a soil for many amateurs and fake representatives of the discipline to evolve.

Over the past few years, Martina has had the (dis)pleasure to meet and work with some highly promoted UX Charlatans, so that over time she started spotting the patterns – some of their similarities and tactics. Martinas aim is to share her observations in this presentation, in the hope to save you some time, money, and frustration – no matter if you are an evolving UX Designer or a Business/Project owner in need of UX expertise.

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Diagnosis: UX Charlatans - How to Spot Them Quickly and Stop Wasting Time, Money and Nerves

  1. 1. Diagnosis: UX Charlatans 
 How to SpotThem Quickly and Stop Wasting 
 Time, Money and Nerves @MartinaMitz8th September 2018
  2. 2. The Plan™ • Who the F*** Am I to Diagnose? • Situation on the Market • Diagnosis: UX Charlatans - 9 Symptoms • What to Look for in a Good UX? • What is UX Then? @MartinaMitz
  3. 3. image: http://thebqb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/frust3.jpeg @MartinaMitz …Me in the Past FewYears
  4. 4. images: 1st - source unknown, 2nd - http://imgur.com/gallery/GUcVw.jpg @MartinaMitz One Explanation…
  5. 5. BUT WAIT Let me tell you where I am coming from… @MartinaMitz
  6. 6. (1999) 2001: Web Designer (semi human-centered) @MartinaMitz Passion
  7. 7. 2001 - 2007: Certified Psychologist (Education) 2008 - 2009: Clinical Psychologist @MartinaMitz Profession
  8. 8. image: https://nonverbalforte.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Insecure-Photo.jpg @MartinaMitz …Me at theTime
  9. 9. Time to Do Something! PSYCHOLOGY
 (profession) WEB DESIGN
 (passion) ME?
 (crazy?) @MartinaMitz
  10. 10. Pro-passion Beginnings 2009 - 2010: "Konzeptioner/in" (Marketing, Research, Concept,
 Content, Visual Design, Development) @MartinaMitz
  11. 11. Pro-passion since 2010: UI Designer / Web Designer 
 Interaction Architect (Ix)
 Information Architect (IA)
 UX Architect
 UX Designer
 Product Experience / CX something
 Service Designer or recently: UX Psychologist* * Thanks for the inspiration Dr. Nick Fine! @MartinaMitz
  12. 12. My Mission: since 2014: To plant different "seeds"
 in (business leader’s) mind-sets… @MartinaMitz
  13. 13. Totally in the Mood of: Khoi Vinh’s talk:
 "Thinking Critically About Design and Criticism”
 2018 @MartinaMitz
  14. 14. My Mission: since 2014: To plant different "seeds"
 in (business leader’s) mind-sets… …by being (self) critical. @MartinaMitz
  15. 15. MEANWHILE … on the market @MartinaMitz
  16. 16. We Haven’t Done What We Preach - 
 "Talking Our Users' Language"! Spreading of misunderstandings: • UX is only User Research • UX is more expensive Web / UI Design • UX is only digital • UX is a linear process
 • UX is like pixie dust, like magic • UX Designers are unicorns image: https://www.vectorportal.com/StockVectors/People/MAGICIAN-VECTOR-GRAPHICS/12895.aspx @MartinaMitz 🤷
  17. 17. Example: @MartinaMitz
  18. 18. Example: @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  19. 19. Hardly Any Official 
 Educational Paths Confused colleagues, due to our very diverse (study-)backgrounds: • Computer disciplines • Cognitive/Behaviour Sc. • Design disciplines • just to name a few… image: https://media.postgrad.com/editorial/question_marks_-_road1.jpg @MartinaMitz 🎓
  20. 20. Huge Demand @MartinaMitz 🚀
  21. 21. Huuuuuge Demand @MartinaMitz SOME REPRESENTATIVE NUMBERS:
 
 
 from 26 482* jobs registered with the German Federal Employment Agency 
 in Berlin in August 2018 
 across all sectors *source: https://statistik.arbeitsagentur.de/Navigation/Statistik/Statistik-nach-Regionen/Politische-Gebietsstruktur/Berlin-Nav.html 
 
 And the
 non-representative:
 ~ 1000 UX jobs
 = ~ 4%
 of ALL jobs in Berlin 🚀 💥
  22. 22. UX has become very trendy BUT actually in a misunderstood way There is a huge demand for skilled experts BUT it is hard to know who the right one is UX is more and more involved BUT usually at the wrong stage of the process A PERFECT BREEDING GROUND FOR CHARLATANS Summary - Market Situation: image: http://granitegrok.com/wp-content/uploads/charlatan.png @MartinaMitz 🤷 🎓 🚀
  23. 23. image: http://www.sparksgroupinc.com/resources/sparks-group-blog/ Buzzwordizing: @MartinaMitz
  24. 24. Sidenote: Rupert at IxDAb Surely also a valuable one:
 
 "Why you're a Brand Shaper (knowingly or not) 
 and what you can do about it"
 
 
 2015 @MartinaMitz Rupert Platz
  25. 25. "Hype vs. Change =Talking vs. Doing" Very helpful against Hypes:
 
 "Hyper! Hyper!!"
 Rupert Platz's talk at
 UX Camp Berlin 2017 @r000pert @MartinaMitz
  26. 26. Diagnosis: UX Charlatans 9 Symptoms @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  27. 27. WARNING! You will find yourself in some of the symptoms, 
 this still does not qualify you! ;) 
 … it highly depends on: 
 
 severity of the symptom + scale of the company/projects @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  28. 28. 1st Symptom ONLY USERS ARE IMPORTANT • Dismissing business/stakeholder needs, pains or questions • Getting lost in User Research • Not creating any valuable outcomes “It’s all about the users…” USERS BUSINESS @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  29. 29. 2nd Symptom DO WHAT THE BUSINESS WANTS • React only to the demands of the business or other stakeholders • Do, do ,do - deliver, deliver, deliver - no critical thinking • Care more about “networking” and their salary/title “It’s all about the money…it’s just a job!” or “Users are stupid!" BUSINESS USERS @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  30. 30. 3rd Symptom KNOW-IT-ALL • Trust-me attitude + strong ego • Know all the answers straight away • Give solutions, rather than uncovering different solution-paths “We have to do ‘Agile’, it’s what Google and Netflix are doing” BUSINESS USERS @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  31. 31. 3rd Symptom - Example @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  32. 32. 4th Symptom SWEET TALK • Say things that sound right • Make strong and confident statements • No substance, no practical coverage of their words, no reality-check “I have over 15 years experience in the digital area…” BUSINESS USERS @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  33. 33. 5th Symptom MASK IT WITH JARGON • Tend to hide behind jargon • Use specific terms, sometimes without understanding them • Feel more expert-y / raises their ego, when no else understands them “We definitely need Contextual Inquiries to finish the MVP!” BIZ MVP @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  34. 34. 6th Symptom JUST RETURN THE BALL • Good at delegating and/or fishing for info and ideas • Better in adapting into the current situation, but not visionary • Can’t say “I don’t know” “Remind me again what a CTA was?” EGO AUDACITY @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  35. 35. UX IS ALL IN THE TOOLS • Strong advocates of specific tools • Usually, defensive against new stuff • Only concentrating on tangible outputs, not on outcomes “I use Axure and Photoshop, of course I am a UXD” 7th Symptom WIRE-
 FRAMES BUSINESS @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  36. 36. 7th Symptom -Tool Evolution slide:“Hyper! Hyper!!” - Rupert Platz - UX Camp Berlin 2017 @MartinaMitz
  37. 37. 7th Symptom -Tool Madness @MartinaMitz
  38. 38. 7th Symptom - BestTool so Far! image: https://pilgrimroad.com/wp-content/uploads/prc-ux-ui-design-tools-rocketbook-wave-sketchbook.jpg @MartinaMitz
  39. 39. 8th Symptom UX IS JUST DIGITAL • Also, only concentrating on tangible outputs, rather than solution paths • Caring rather about the "How?" than the "Why?" • Acting only on one channel/touch-point in isolation “We are only responsible of the platform/website” USABILITY @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  40. 40. UX isn’t Just Digital! As shown in the talk:
 
 “(Human) Interaction 
 at Conferences”
 
 
 2014 Claudia Brückner @MartinaMitz
  41. 41. 9th Symptom I CAN DO THAT TOO! @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans UX
  42. 42. 9th Symptom - Best Example WORKING ALONGSIDE UX DESIGNERS IS ENOUGH? @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  43. 43. 9th Symptom - Best Example WORKING ALONGSIDE UX DESIGNERS ISN’T ENOUGH! #goUXX @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  44. 44. The 9 Symptoms: If 3 or more of the following symptoms appear on more than 3 encounters, 
 then you are most probably dealing 
 with a UX-Charlatan: @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans 1. ONLY USERS ARE IMPORTANT 2. DO WHAT BUSINESS WANTS 3. KNOW-IT-ALL 4. SWEET TALK 5. MASK IT WITH JARGON 6. JUST RETURN THE BALL 7. UX IS ALL IN THE TOOLS 8. UX IS JUST DIGITAL 9. I CAN DO THAT TOO! image: https://www.learngeek.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMAGE-Symptom_Icons.jpg Thanks for the layout-change Jason! :)
  45. 45. WHATTO LOOK FOR IN A GOOD UX Some similarities in great thinkers: @MartinaMitz
  46. 46. Some UX-Mindset Observations Great Design-Thinkers and Problem-Solvers: • Will hardly give you a direct solution - rather ask a questions first • Need context/insights before jumping into decisions/commitments • Realise that collaboration is key, as they can’t know everything in detail • Learn to be comfortable with being proven wrong - become modest, egos vanish • Have the ability to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, while discussing details @MartinaMitz
  47. 47. Some Psychological UX-Traits Great Design-Thinkers and Problem-Solvers:
 Are curious / analytical / critical / 
 empathetic / self-reflected / confident but humble
 comfortable dealing with uncertainty Are NOT F***ING UNICORNS! image: http://1wkf705fg6e2aisrw22uhig6.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2013/09/UOiOtakn8ds-600x350.jpg - @MartinaMitz Thanks for the image-inspiration @tWolo!
  48. 48. BUT WHAT IS UXTHEN? I will let the “father” of UX explain…
 but first a UX Charlatan @MartinaMitz
  49. 49. A Highly-Rated UX Charlatan: “User Experience 
 is obviously 
 what the user sees” @MartinaMitz#UXCharlatans
  50. 50. UX is Much MoreThanThat! SecondMuse showed:
 
 “Co-Creating Prosperity"
 
 
 2013 Ruha Reyhani @MartinaMitz
  51. 51. Don Norman: video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BdtGjoIN4E @MartinaMitz
  52. 52. UX is… "User experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products. Don Norman @MartinaMitz
  53. 53. TO PUT IT SIMPLER: And in the words of 
 my very own UX-Dad @MartinaMitz
  54. 54. UX is… …the sum of a series of interactions between: • people, • devices • events Eric Reiss image: UX Sofia, 2015 @MartinaMitz
  55. 55. @MartinaMitz On to the next 10, dear IxDA Berlin! IxDA Berlin 2017 - Design Against Populism
  56. 56. @MartinaMitz PROST! Martina Mitzieva-Veglia UX Psychologist, Strategist & Designer martina.mitz@gmail.com web, skype, twitter, LI: Martina Mitz currently: Berlin, Germany IxDA Berlin 2018

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