Be more obsessed than the next designer

Competition is a reality of life. If you’re breaking into UX, you’ll soon notice that you’ll not only have to learn UX design, but also stand out from other UX applicants.

UX jobs can have up to hundreds of applicants

One of the top questions we field at UXBeginners is: How do I stand out from other UX Designers?

This question might feel extra relevant to you if you’ve just graduated from a UX bootcamp and realizing you’ll have to compete with all your classmates for the same jobs.

Since UX is a copycat field, you’ll find that our advice today is timeless and applies to just about any other career pursuit.

Stand out from other UX designers by being specific

Because most UX students have a basic curriculum to get through, they’re primed to think too generally in the UX projects they pursue.

“Should I make a mobile app project since I only have website projects?”

(Not quite the right question the ask)

To make work that stands out, UX designers should get more specific.

Luckily, there are endless ways to differentiate. Here’s a list of ideas that start from broad to more specific differentiation:

  • Industry: Are you especially drawn to fields like healthcare, fintech, cybersecurity or gaming?
  • Technology or Platform: Augmented reality, wearables, designing desktop apps for Mac OS
  • UX topic: Content strategy, user research, . Here’s an expanded list of UX topics every UX beginner should be.
  • Interaction patterns: Do bad notifications, form design, or Tinder’s tired “swipe” interaction keep you up late at night? Are the better solutions?

These can be combined to create an even more compelling niche. For example, someone may choose to obsess over how notifications show up in social gaming or the importance of error copy in AR/VR interactions.

(I literally just made these up)

They say that the riches lie in the niches.

People don’t want to just read a book on dieting. They want to know how a keto diet can be especially effective for their body type.

In the same vein, UX managers get bored seeing the same Yelp clone used as a case study. They’ll be more interested in seeing how you introduced the idea of recurring payments to food ordering apps.

These projects of obsession will stand out more than generic case studies.

Don’t niche just because you can

Before you run off to pursue the most arcane of niches (user research for taco eaters in China??), consider that picking the intersection of what you care about + what others care about.

Don’t just create a Tinder clone because you think it’ll be a well liked idea.

But if you’re fascinated about the question of why dating apps don’t work for singles, and hypothesize that it’s because dating profiles need a dramatic redesign…then you’re onto something.

Just take a look at this roundup of case studies from Google designers.

They’re pretty specific, like Pendar Yousefi’s Scrolling in Money or Alex Lakas’ Wait Times on Google.

Allow yourself to go deep where others are shallow.

I’m never going to compete with Pendar Yousefi on how ad spend is visualized—nor do I care to.

I will, however, nerd out about UX Writing in Fintech.

It’s hard to compete with someone who’s following their curiosity and nerding about something specific.

The great thing about this approach is that for the same effort it takes to create a UX case study, you can differentiate yourself through selection alone.

Follow your curiosity, decide what you’re really into, then go deep.


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