Building a User Experience Is Social Work

How adopting a human advocacy mindset can help you serve users better.

UX is a lot like social work

In both UX and social work, the job is to understand people, their unique needs and motivations, and how to connect and communicate with them. And in both roles, the practitioner’s job is to advocate for people who aren’t always able to advocate for themselves.

Success can be difficult to measure, so celebrate the small wins

As a social worker, I saw the impact of my work firsthand, every day. Sometimes these wins were huge and measurable: A woman who had lived without a home for decades, consistently refusing housing or shelter, finally agreeing to move into an apartment.

Overcome assumptions about people and their needs to make more meaningful impact

The clients I worked with in homeless services were considered the most vulnerable within Seattle’s unhoused population. Most had significant co-occurring mental, physical, or chemical dependency conditions. And most were chronically homeless, meaning they’d lived in shelters or slept outdoors for decades.

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