What is UX Mentorship?
Becoming a UX mentor requires a lot of efforts, hard work and experience in the field.
“It is not necessary that a mentor is working in some senior executive role, but he should be able to help his mentees in growing their careers using his personal and work experience.”
The role of a mentor is a combination of multiple skills.
A mentor behaves like a teacher, a coach, an adviser, a therapist and a counselor at the same time. He inspires his mentees through his words and actions.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward
How To Be A Great UX Mentor?
To become a great UX mentor, you must have certain qualities that make your job easier for you and effective for your mentees.
A list of such qualities is mentioned below.
№1. Ask About Interest
If you are going to mentor someone outside of your work environment, the first thing is to ask about their interest.
“UX is a field that requires interest in solving design problems.”
If you are a UX mentor within your organization, it is obvious that UX designers are hired based on their interest.
However, if you feel that your mentee is not much passionate about UX design, then raise the point at your earliest.
№2. Explain Your Process
Most of the organizations follow the standard design process to deliver product design. However, there can be customization in the process based on particular requirements.
“It is essential to explain junior members about the process being followed within your organization. Introduce them with stakeholders that are involved in the process.”
Tell them about your customers and their problems.
“They should be able to learn how to deal with customers and how to understand their requirements.”
№3. Explain Guidelines and Trends
Each organization follows a set of UX guidelines and standards while designing their products.
Provide your guidelines to junior members, and explain them the importance of consistent experience throughout your products.
Ask them to follow the guidelines while working on design tasks.
“Welcome their feedback and suggestions that you may like to incorporate within your standards.”
№4. Develop Research Interest
Research is very important for growth of your mentees.
“Try hard to develop research interest in your mentees. This will help them to make their vision broader, and thinking beyond limitations.”
Looking around and taking inspiration from multiple sources will enhance their key skills including critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.
“A good mentor pushes their mentee to get creative with what they already know.” — Anne Higgins
№5. Don’t Give Solution
Discuss design problems with your mentees, but never give them a solution.
“Let them dive into thinking and exploring the problem. This will improve their analytical and problem solving skills.”
Do brainstorming sessions with them. Share your own experiences and ask them to come up with different ideas.
№6. Be Available
When you have given some tasks to team members, make sure to remain available for them.
“Show your support and care about them.”
Be there when they need you, this will help you gain their trust and loyalty. Believe me, they will perform beyond their specific duties if they feel valued and supported.
№7. Develop Patience
Designing is an iterative process and it requires patience.
Most of the time you will have to ask them to go and refine their work.
“Teach them to remain patient at certain points during their job.”
It is not possible to design something impressive just in one go. They have to design again and again. Help them in increasing their patience level.
№8. Give Ownership
Let them take the ownership of their work. Ask them to present their work to relevant stakeholders and defend their ideas.
This will give them a feeling of responsibility. And they will try hard to provide best possible solution to the given problem.
№9. Share Knowledge
It is correct that you don’t have to spoon feed them, but you should be open to help them in response to their queries and confusions.
Do knowledge sharing sessions with them.
“Share your experience with them and provide them essential resources and guidance.”
№10. Give Appreciation
“Appreciation is a fundamental human need.”
It is the key to keep your mentees motivated. Show genuine appreciation to your mentees.
“Praise their ideas and admire them. Give them credit of their work. And you will be surprised with the positive results.”
№11. Be Patient
A mentor should remain patient while working with junior members. You may have to describe things again and again.
“Listen and ask questions in positive way. Correct their mistakes politely. Be gentle and strict at the same time.”
It is a common practice to evaluate the work of team members. Always try to do it in a positive way.
“Set your expectations as per their expertise, and evaluate them as per their level of experience.”
Identify their shortcomings politely. Do not judge them or discourage them. Respect their opinions and ideas.
№13. Learn From Mentees
That’s true. There is much more for you to learn from your mentees.
“They have fresh minds and thoughts. They can identify improvements in your process as well as in your way of thinking and viewing things. “
UX is a very subjective field. Anyone can give you a new insight of things.
“Never underestimate the ideas of fresh UX designers in industry.”
№14. Connect With Other Mentors
As a mentor you need to connect with other experts of the field. Share your experience and exchange useful resources with them.
Collaborating with your peers and taking help from them is a great example for your mentees.
“It will develop an overall supportive environment where everyone learns from others.”
UX mentorship is essential for junior UX designers to help them succeed in their career.
Being a UX mentor, you have a huge responsibility to deliver your knowledge and advice to next generation, and give your time to listen to their issues and resolve them.
“Investing deeply in their learning and growth will eventually makes you more successful and satisfied.”