28th October 2015

Three personality traits that got me into UX

Mike Jongbloet
Head of Design and UX

As our agency continues to grow, we’re always looking for skilled people to join our team. We recognise that as well as experienced people, it’s important to bring through a healthy dose of junior talent too.

Over the past six months I’ve been supporting the development of new UX talent within Deeson and it got me thinking about how I got into UX and whether my story could encourage others to get into a profession which can be extremely rewarding. As I thought about it in more depth, I realised that there have been three personality traits that have helped me on my path towards being a UX designer.


Today there are nearly a billion websites on the Internet. When I started secondary school (just 16 years ago) there were only 3 million. Google was in beta, Facebook didn’t exist and tiny phones were in fashion; but there was something interesting and mind-boggling about the Internet and it caught my attention.

Between the ages of 12 and 16 I spent a lot of my spare time researching, learning and generally immersing myself in website design & development. I read books like “Web Design in Easy Steps”, followed tutorials to learn how websites were built and built my very first website using a combination of Jasc Paint Shop Pro and Windows Notepad.

At a young age my curiosity had led me down a path towards teaching myself HTML and CSS and learning a lot about the web. When I decided I wanted to move into UX, I read Steve Krug’s “Don’t make me think” in a weekend and threw myself into learning everything I could about the subject matter.

Having a high level of curiosity is really important when working in UX as the world of technology is constantly changing and evolving. Being curious helps you keep up with the rapid pace of change and stay on trend.


In my 3rd year of University I had the chance to work in the digital industry for a year. This was a fantastic opportunity to get some real world experience and I was very excited.

I applied to numerous local agencies and I recall going for a placement interview at a particular agency that ended up in a revealing discussion. As the interview came to a close I was asked:

“One final question; are you a designer or a developer? You have to choose. You cannot be both.”

Whilst by no means a specialist in either, I felt I had skills in both and I wasn’t prepared to align myself with either camp, for a start I was still only young, but more importantly I actually didn’t believe it was true. After a few minutes discussion and no closer to an agreement we ended the interview.

Needless to say I didn’t get the job, but I did learn a valuable lesson that has served me well throughout my career - believe in your decisions and learn to defend them. Defending decisions is vital to selling your ideas whether in a pitching scenario or presenting a set of wireframes, so a bit of self-belief can go a long way in the UX profession.

Thirst for knowledge

By the end of University I’d had a go at everything including web development, video production, SEO and Flash animation. My University course alone covered design, web, video, animation, art theory and hardcore programming. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to work in digital.

Being a good all-rounder and having a good understanding of many areas of digital really helps. From working as a web designer and front-end developer in my first role at an agency, to developing PHP systems and running SEO campaigns in a freelance capacity; all the experience I’ve had to date has really helped me to be effective at designing in a multi-disciplinary team.

Five tips for succeeding in UX

  • Throw yourself into it. Go to meetups, visit conferences, find a mentor, experiment and read - A LOT.
  • Get a good grounding. Make sure you understand other areas of digital to a reasonable level, it will help you in the long run.
  • Never stop learning. Seen a design pattern you like online? Find out how it’s done. Learn to do it. Technology is moving forward all the time so you should too.
  • Defend your decisions. Make good decisions with your expertise and the information available and then defend them. Self-belief is crucial.
  • Have fun! UX is a fun job to work in. You get to run workshops, learn about a lot of different things and design great solutions. So work hard but enjoy it!
Find out more information on Deeson's UX services.