By Marko Bon

Your career is made up of serving many types of customers.

If you haven’t already, read the intro & summary which explain why I wrote these thoughts down in the first place.

I discovered the field of UX in 2005 as the fledgling eCommerce industry started to realize that good websites weren’t just gorgeous flash-animated print-ads, but that there was a living, breathing customer on the other side of the screen. An actual person who has needs, is looking to solve a problem, and my job is to help them do that quickly and easily. It’s no coincidence (and rarely recognized) that User Experience and Social Media arose at the same time in the timeline of digital media.

As I built an internal UX practice at a large American retailer, it was clear that I had to educate my colleagues on what this new field of UX actually was. As I met with people in the office I realized that in addition to focusing on our brand’s customers, I now had internal customers as well. UX had the responsibility to solve challenges faced by our merchants, to address metrics observed by our analysts, and to drive numbers expected by our executives.

There’s a funny term I learned at my next job, “servant leadership,” which expresses a similar concept; that a core principle of operating within an organization is to support the needs of our colleagues. This industry is small, your career may move from being at a Retailer to Agency to Start-up and back again - so operating with a thoughtful customer-centric mindset will pay off in the long run because you will meet some of your colleagues again, believe me.

Clearly wherever we are designing for the customer, but recognizing and acting like we have customers in our own colleagues is a good thing to remember.