Is there a typical path for becoming a UX Designer? Taking a look at other colleagues’ resumes it seems not: some come from graphic design, others from cognitive psychology, information sciences or HCI - all UX-related fields. There are some exceptions though of people arriving here from more distant fields such as literature (Dick Hill), architecture (Andrea Resmini), history (Louis Rosenfeld) and theatre (Eric Reiss).
My personal path started from an even more distant field: I studied Agricultural Sciences and as strange as it might sound I now realize it was a solid ground for building up the skills required for the job I’m currently doing.
During the first years of my professional career I chose to undertake activities in the field that required me to interact quite intensively with people: I interviewed farmers in Africa and elderly people in my own country; I also ran focus groups with farmers, consumers and scientists for EU-funded projects. Although the focus of the research at the time was elsewhere, the lessons learned during those years were incredibly meaningful and useful for the user research I now perform as UX designer, even if at the time I wasn’t aware of the motivation that drove me and still does.
By telling the stories of the people I met I’d like to share with the Euro IA audience those experiences, how they helped me developing ethnographic and human skills (observation, interview, facilitation, improvisation, lateral thinking and empathy). Also, I’d like to share what I believe is the underlying theme that brought me from there to UX design: I love people. I love listening to them and designing for them to be happier.