Skills + Tools

On the Presentation of Fluency

Skills

User Experience is a discipline uniquely plagued by the proliferation of jargon. In some cases, this linguist evolution is rooted in noble intentions, such as a desire to lend clarity to communications by increasing the precision of words used via diversification of available verbiage. In other cases, less than noble intentions may be present, such as attempts to co-opt the cognitive space to bolster pay grades or seek candidates who possess “UX/UI skills” in name only.

For Senior UX practitioners, the jargon conundrum further exacerbates the all-too-common feeling of imposter syndrome, which naturally occurs in context of professional (meta)awareness of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Precise self-diagnosis of professional fluency thereby becomes a damning task and a fool’s errand.

It is for these and other reasons that I have chosen to simply list skills that I can leverage in support of any given task with proficiency somewhere between the Slope of Enlightenment and the Plateau of Sustainability, outside the Valley of Despair and distant from Mount Stupid.

Tools

The key difference between discipline-relevant skills and tool is that while skill cultivation represents ongoing commitment to professional education, tool fluency may be measured based on duration of use and speed of task execution in an often static and finite range of proficiency.

As such, I have expressed my fluency, which I define as an aggregate of speed and quality of task execution, duration of usage over my career, and familiarity with features and functionality, with the tools listed below with a bar intended to help the reader gain contextual understanding of my ability to effectively wield certain tools with greater aptitude than others.

Should a role demand it, I am fully capable of increasing my fluency with any of the options listed below and expanding my toolkit with new utilities.

Skills

Skills to Help Implement UX Programs at a High Level


 

  • UX Strategy

  • UX Program Management

  • Decision Quality

  • Research Program Planning

  • Stakeholder Management

  • UX Team Building

  • Success Metrics

  • People Management

  • Design Team Development

  • Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Geo-distributed Development

  • Geo-distributed Creative

  • Product Visioning

  • Employee Engagement Strategy

  • Design Career Coaching

  • Design Process Frameworks

  • Ethnographic Frameworks

  • Behavioral Interviewing

  • Design Ethics

  • Business Models

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Antifragile Theory/Planning

Project Management Skills


 

  • Product Documentation

  • Project Management

  • Agile Methods + Practices

  • Product Ownership (SCRUM Cert.)

  • Event Production

  • KJ Technique

  • Lee Productivity Method

  • Planning Poker / Story Sizing

  • Collaborative Prioritization

  • Sprint Planning

  • Jobs to be Done Framework

  • Persona/User Story Framework

 Research Skills


 

  • User Research

  • SWOT Analysis

  • Affinity Mapping

  • Ethnography

  • Contextual Inquiry

  • O2O Journey Mapping

  • Remote User Research

  • Market Research

  • Design/Product Research

  • Usability Testing

  • Validation Testing

  • Artifact Analysis

  • 1:1 Interviewing

  • Field Recording + Audio Editing

  • Scriptwriting

UX-centric Design Skills


 

  • UI Design

  • Data Visualization

  • Dashboard Design

  • Rapid/Paper Prototyping

  • Wireframing

  • Information Architecture

  • Interaction Design

  • E-commerce

  • Accessibility Compliance

  • Gamification

  • White Boarding

Education and Presentation Skills


  • UX Workshops

  • Design Thinking Workshops

  • UX Instruction

  • Presentation Design

  • Presentation Coaching

  • Training Module Design

  • Curriculum Design

  • Panel + Discussion Facilitation

Additional Design Skills


 

  • System + Process Design

  • Graphic Design

  • Industrial Design

  • Product Sketching

  • Game Design

  • Exhibit Design

  • Event Theme Development

  • Photography

Writing Skills


 

  • UX Writing

  • Copy Editing

  • Content Strategy

  • Design Briefs

  • Narrative Craft + Architecture

Branding and Marketing Skills


  • Brand Strategy

  • Brand Governance

  • Omnichannel Customer Experience

  • Marketing Impact Measurement

  • Style Guides

  • Package and Print Production

Sales Knowledge


 

  • Field Sales Processes

  • Customer Pipeline/Funnel Strategy

  • Decision Making Psychology

  • Point of Sale Systems

Fabrication/Building Skills


  • Woodworking

  • Laser Cutting

  • Low Voltage Components

  • Basic Electrical

  • Intermediate Plumbing

  • Metal Working

  • Mold Making and Casting

  • Concrete Formulation

  • Drywall

  • Painting

Tools

Adobe Products

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Indesign
  • Adobe Bridge
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Audition
  • Adobe XD
  • Adobe Experience Manager

Professional Development Goals:

  • Learn Adobe After Effects for motion graphics and iconography design
  • Improve fluency with Adobe Experience Manager

Google Products

  • Google Slides
  • Google Forms
  • Google Docs
  • Google Drive
  • Google Calendar, Gmail, Hangouts, Meet
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Analytics
  • Jamboard

Microsoft Products

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Excel*
*I know enough to know that I do not know the full range of functions, though I respect the vast array of data organization tools that it offers.

Prototyping Software

  • Figma
  • Omnigraffle
  • Sketch
  • Invision

Research Software

  • Optimal Workshop*
  • Usertesting.com

*Optimal Workshop represents a collection of 5 online tools for user research.

Collaboration Software

  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Mural

Project Management Software

  • Confluence / Jira
  • Trello
  • Notion

Coding Tools + Languages***

  • Google-Fu*
  • Wordpress**
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • Raspberry Pi
  • JavaScript
  • Bash

*See Definition
*Otherwise known as advanced search controls and basic Boolean combined with Stack Overflow awareness, cautious Reddit appreciation, and Github familiarity.

**This portfolio site is built with WordPress augmented with pieces of custom HTML and CSS.

***To be clear, I am a Senior UX professional, not a developer, “UX Developer”, or “Technical UX Designer.” [Cue laughter at those last 2 job titles.]

Unicorns are nice in theory, but eventually someone will want a ride and the sparkly white paint will flake right off along with the paper towel tube that was stuck to that poor horse’s head.

A Few Extra Tools

  • Rhinoceros
  • Canvas LMS
  • Mail Chimp
  • Marketo
  • Keynote