ConveyUX: Three Conversations in Design

by February 28, 2024

In his Three Conversations in Design presentation at Convey UX Andrew Hogan shared trends in user experience jobs, scaling, and the impact of AI on designers. Here are my notes from his talk:

  • Between 2008 and 2018, there was a decrease in the number of industrial design jobs but an sharp increase in user experience design jobs.
  • With AI, are we at that same moment with digital design jobs? There’s 118,000 people employed in digital design in the US (new added category in 2022). Projections have looked good but they also did for industrial design when it began to decline. UX jobs are down relative to their peak. The main driver is technology unemployment claims.
  • So what’s going to happen now? Industries like utilities, finance, and government are increasing while tech is decreasing. So digital transformation across many industries will keep designers busy.
  • Scaling design teams requires new roles and expansion of roles. 5% of fortune 1000 companies have chief design officer roles. In banking that’s 50%.
  • These design organizations have been growing significantly and scaling roles in design systems, content, design ops, accessibility, and more. But hiring a lot isn’t the solution. Adding lots of designers creates common challenges: collaboration cross teams, career progression, and understanding impact.
  • The relationship of a PM and designer is as predictive of how they feel about their job is as predictive as their relationship with their direct manager.
  • AI is increasingly part of the design process. 65% of designers use AI in their design process. And regularly find it speeds up design processes.
  • But most of design is about communication: what are we doing for who and how? Jambot in Figma brings generative AI features into the canvas to summarize, rewrite, code, etc. But the multi-player aspect still needs to get worked out.
  • Practitioners with a sense of what good is can evaluate generative output but what about new practitioners that don’t yet know how to assess the quality of AI output? Designing AI is becoming a job. Walmart, New York Times, and more are specifically hiring designers to add AI into their products.
  • What’s the impact of AI on design and design on AI? Will we feel a spike in AI design interest and jobs?
  • More AI interactions lead to more energy into designing AI. So these systems will get better but we don’t know what’s next but it will definitely be interesting.