· 980 words · 5 minute read

Update on my survey (Digital design in the Netherlands)

This article was first published on Medium

I recently conducted a survey about what designers do in the Netherlands and what function-titles they give themselves. I’m still in the middle of my analysis but I thought I’d go ahead and share an update with y’all.

(this is just an update for survey-participants, the real deal will come later)

Survey? What survey? #

I created a survey with questions for designers working on digital stuff in the Netherlands. I spammed everybody through my LinkedIn so if you have no clue what I’m talking about, you should probably connect with me. The survey is now closed. Anyway, you should consider yourself lucky if you didn’t fill in the survey, it had a humongous amount of radiobuttons, which was rightfully complained about.

The checklist with all the radiobuttons
I apologise

Who filled in my survey? #

83 people participated in my survey! I’m really happy with that number :) The average participant had over 10 years of experience, but not all of the participants were that experienced: 42% actually worked 5 years or less!

Distribution of years of experience
Lots of experienced people, but still a fair mix: 40% worked 5 years or less

I figured most people would be working in an agency or business, but to my surprise the largest group (33%!) is freelancing. Probably the heavy promotion of the survey by Glenn 😎 Agencies are the second biggest group, after that comes a mix that might be pooled together (consultancy, software, finance, insurance, enterprise). I also found out there are things you can work on that I never heard of before: customer success solutions and midlance.

Context of work
Wow, that’s a lot of freelancers!

What’s in a name? #

The first question in the questionnaire was: “What function-title do you give yourself?”. It’s a fun question but I should have provided a dropdown here instead of a free-text field: you all got really creative 😂 As expected the biggest group calls themselves “UX Designer”, but most participants actually call themselves something else.

Context of work
What do you call yourself?

Three quick take-aways:

  • only two people call themselves “UX/UI designer”, eventhough I see a lot of vacancies looking for exactly that title ;)
  • 7% of people refer to themselves as “Interaction Designer”. I thought most people went with the trend of “UX Designer” (or the currently getting popular “Product Designer” / “Digital Designer”)
  • there’s a lot of combo-options, which confirms my suspicion that it’s just too difficult to capture our activities in one function title

All the combo-options were mentioned only once: CX/UX Strategist, Independent Creative Director & Strategist, Interaction & Service Designer, Service Design Consultant and illustrator, UX Consultant and Trainer, UX Designer / Researcher (or is that the same as a “UX Researcher & Designer”? 🤔), UX Designer / Service Designer, UX Researcher/UX ‘expert’, UX Specialist | Cognitive Psychologist, UX/CX Researcher and service designer, UX/Interaction designer, UX/Product Designer, UX/Service Designer, UX/UI Designer/Architect (I might count that as UX/UI designer as well in follow-up research), UX/UI expert (and this), User Researcher/Usability Engineer…

There are some other function-titles that were only mentioned once: Creative, Creative Lead, Experience designer (without the user), Full-stack designer, Graphical designer, Human Experience Designer, Human Factors Specialist, Interaction architect, Researcher and Designer, Strategic designer, Strategy Director. There was also only one UI Designer.

Sneak peek at the skills mentioned… #

I asked people for their skill-levels (with the incredibly large list of radiobuttons). This is the most interesting part and also the most difficult to analyse. I’ll get back to that indepth, for now two quick take-aways:

  • The skill where most participants selected not applicable is “writing code”
  • The one with the most five-star-answers is “interactive prototyping”My participant-pool might be biased because I taught prototyping at Eindhoven University

GDPR! 😱 — What are you doing with my data? #

Yes, your privacy is important! And you trusted me with some very personal data. So, first things first: I won’t share data-files with others and I’ve already decoupled all names and email-addresses from other data (in other words: I cannot link your skill-levels to your name). I will only write about aggregate data: you won’t be able to link anything to a specific person 😎

Steps taken:

  • Removed data from Google Forms
  • Split names and email-addresses into separate filesome people kindly shared their contact-details with me so I can keep them up to date on my progress. This data will be removed after the first notification)

So what does your analysis look like? #

Mostly I just do some Excel-magic (as much as possible in Apple Numbers, because Excel drives me nuts). And on top of that is a secret sauce of Bash-tools like Vim, sort, uniq, etcetera (because I’m a nerd). Most likely I’ll turn to Orange Data Mining for creating clusters and some funky visualisations.

Steps I already took: #

  • Combined English / Dutch forms into one big file
  • Started standardizing answers
    (for instance in the column “function title” renaming Ux -> UX, etc.)
  • Creating aggregates for columns and rows (sum, min, max)
  • Hopping back and forth to the command line for quick data reformatting

Next steps #

I will proceed with a more structured analysis, which is going to result in at least three more posts. The first being a post about why I did this and the third a dive into job-listings to see how the survey-results map to all the vacancies out there.

Data-wise, I will:

  • Cluster function titles
  • Look at the skill-levels per cluster
  • Create nicer graphs (I promise!)
  • Think long and hard why I do this to myself

Looking forward to seeing you in my next post!

Thanks everybody for filling in my way-too-long form with too many radiobuttons. It was especially hell to fill it in on a mobile device. I’m very proud of the 83 people that pushed through, you all deserve a medal 🏅 Special thanks to Glenn Veugen and Azadeh Shirzad for proofreading and helping me promote my survey.