The highly sensitive designer. Who is this person, and are they more… | by Jon Upshaw | Jan, 2024


Who is this person, and are they more common than we think?

Young man thinking, surrounded by different skills he has.
The highly sensitive designer has many talents, but is introverted. Image by Jon Upshaw

The design community has many terms and acronyms for describing certain types of people. You’ve got the T-shaped designer, the UX Generalist, and the mythical Design Unicorn. If you are an avid reader of design articles, it is likely that you have come across these before.

However, there is a key personality type we all overlook in this changing world. And as companies are recognizing neurodivergence as important as it should be, diverse talent is providing these same companies with unique solutions.

The Power And Pain Of Sensitivity

In Elaine N. Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person, sensitivity is described in detail, giving us a clear picture of how sensitive people experience the world around them.

Sensitivity and creativity are synonymous. They work together in the mind of a sensitive person — these two factors create their own form of harmony by making it possible for the highly sensitive person to understand their world. In the mind of a designer who may also be sensitive, this means that there are some key differences that make them an asset in the workplace.

Designers share the unique ability to visually interpret their surroundings. We can infer upon a situation that a user is involved in, understand the goals of the person involved, and create an interaction that is suitable for that person. To us, this becomes an intuitive act and often impresses those who manage us in the workplace. And when sensitivity is a factor, our work can become complex. For example, the highly sensitive designer’s originality can become an issue when ideas must be offered in a group situation. Though group-based problem solving is encourage in most corporate settings, sensitive types tend to become overstimulated from all of the voices throwing in ideas. (I have experienced this firsthand in meetings where developers give feedback on the newest developments on a feature I have only recently heard about.)

Group sitting around a table with one person left out. Arrow points to them, with “You” labeled.
This is often too common amongst highly sensitive designers. Image by Jon Upshaw

The Sensitive Designer’s Superpower


Source link

2023. All Rights Reserved.