How to become a great Interaction Designer? Practice, practice, practice. Or as your dad used to say “Practice makes perfect.”

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. I loved it. It is one of those books that made me think. That gets me pumped. Anyway, this book validated a lot of my observations I had about successful people and success in general.

There are 2 main things that are required to be successful at something:

  1. opportunity
  2. practice

Notice, this does not say anything about class or natural ability. Assuming an intelligent person, not a genius and not challenged you need to be provided the opportunity to work at your “thing” and then you need to work at it consistently for 10,000 hours.

Outliers have one more advantage: timing. When you are born makes a huge difference of whether or not you will have the opportunity before others do so that when you practice you will be uniquely the best (an outlier).

So what? If you want to become a great Interaction Designer or you want to hire one, aim for 10,000 ours. That would be about 10 years of work before you can start claiming yourself as an expert. My assumption is that half of your 2100 hours a year of work is actually doing design. And if that is the case it will take almost 10 years to become an expert.

So hire someone with 10 years of interaction design experience if you would like an expert. I would venture that this is true for any practice like product management, software development, QA.