How to Be a Great New UX Colleague


Hi everyone!!

I am so grateful to have just landed a really wonderful gig. The collaborative team is quite a bit larger than I am used to working on.

As I mentally prepare, I am wondering what you value in a good new teammate, particularly in the context of a big team.

Thank you!



Hi Caitlin

I think every new teammate can bring something fresh and out of the box into a team. Especially when people have been working on the same problem for a long time.
Also, something I really like is compliments :slight_smile: I’m sort of kidding, but sometimes I do things in a way, and when somebody says “oh yeah, we did it like that as well” it’s very reassuring and makes me think “we’re going to get along just fine” :slight_smile:
But, be careful when with things like “At we did it like this”. It’s might make make people think “then why didn’t you stay there”. I think it’s really important to keep your eyes and ears open in the early days, observe things and once you get then hang of how things are happening, you can suggest improvements.
Things always happen for a reason, even if they seem bizzare at first :wink:

Good luck! New place to work is always a fascinating experience.


Congrats on the new job!

Hmm, being a good new teammate… Excellent question!

I recently started a new job myself, and I wasn’t planning on this, but it has worked out well, is to jump on various projects where people could use an extra set of hands. I have done a range of things and I have worked with and met a lot of new people this way. Just say you have some extra time and if anyone could use a hand you would be happy to help out. :slight_smile:


Thank you @jdebari and @rajsca! Helpful practical tips!! Thank you!! I think I sometimes get new-guy-nerves and need a bit of a mantra to fill the silence.

Does anyone else get those sort of ‘I have to say something to fill the silence’ nerves? What do you do to act as gracefully as possible in those scenarios? Lol - that may just be a life lesson (not ux specific) but I’d love to know your thoughts about that, too.


Great question Caitlin. The thing that usually stands out for me when someone joins is whether or not they have the courage to ask ‘dumb questions’. If they don’t I tend to wonder whether they are wasting time not doing things that they are too afraid to ask about.


Oh man yes! I love when people ask all the questions. It helps me feel more comfortable with other questions I have when I see people asking things in a confident way.


I think, the best advice to “fill in the silence” nerves is… be yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable in the silence say something. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with people you’re around, stay quiet.
You are the only person you have to spend the rest of your life with, and that’s the person you want to please most.
And this is easier said than done, and it is ux specific, after all, we are all users of life :wink:

Ok, I’m not nuts :slight_smile: but seriously, being yourself, not wondering at each step how to behave, what to say is not an easy thing but the truth is, there will be people who will like you and people who will not. So, (look above), be the person you want to be and just let things flow. :slight_smile:


similar to others - be enthusiastic and open-minded, be approachable and friendly. Also be positive and don’t moan… nobody likes a moaner! Ask questions when appropriate and read your surroundings e.g. If a colleague has earphones in or looks like they are concentrating hard, they don’t want to talk.

Silence doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Just get on with your own work. If you don’t have any work, however, then make yourself available to help others. Until you gauge your colleagues, you wont know if people prefer to chitchat or not, so ease yourself in.

Going to lunches and coffees with your new colleagues is a great way to get in a bit closer with them, so for the first week at least, make a conscious effort to invest time with them to break down any early barriers.

Good luck!


I love this advice Dorota.

And this. I sometimes find it a bit tiring when people come in guns-a-blazing because they want to make an impression. A better impression is sometimes sitting back and taking in the scenery.


This answer came from Twitter:

  1. Speak to real users as often as possible
  2. Have a look at old user testing reports
  3. Ask colleagues the reasons why they have designed things in the way they have
  4. Don’t rush in and make changes until you understand why it was designed that way in the first place


@HAWK : I think I will keep this written on the back of my hand!!!

    Speak to real users as often as possible
    Have a look at old user testing reports
    Ask colleagues the reasons why they have designed things in the way they have
    Don’t rush in and make changes until you understand why it was designed that way in the first place