Intuitively explained: what changed with AI today?

The evolution of why today’s AI is different and its design implications.

How you portray yourself is as important as your work.

A bunch of Ideal Designer Profiles created by ChatGPT.
A bunch of Ideal Designer Profiles created by ChatGPT.

I’ve worked in something that looks like User Experience for years. Early on, we had to be flexible in what we designed because you took work where you got it, and there just weren’t that many of us.

Because of that, I’ve had an interesting breadth of experiences, from designing an application that prints money ( to consumer applications (, MySpace), but I really hit my groove in the enterprise. I enjoy it, and I’m good at it.

Any designer should be self-aware about what they enjoy, which will show in their resume.

I review candidates that way and use Ideal Customer Profiles as a concept when evaluating designers. I examine four pivots of their experience in a matrix:

  • Consumer vs. Enterprise
  • Web vs. Mobile Applications
  • Consultant vs. in-house
  • Startup vs. Big Company

Each pivot has a particular flavor, and if I see a consistent pattern of what they like — not job hopping and truly learning the domain because of the nature of what I need — those are the people I look for.

I work in enterprise software, so I need designers to stay for a while because learning the domain is hard and requires investment. For example, learning contracts and legal technology is not for the faint of heart, so I evaluate accordingly. I am also looking for designers who are great communicators and focus heavily on content and data.

The perfect match for companies I typically work for are those that are web application, startup, and in-house.

Listing who you are in these phrases is helpful to hiring managers to determine of you are a fit.

Below are the pivots of an Ideal Designer Profile. Defining the prioritization of each topic within the pivots helps designers understand what they enjoy about each pivot and what they should focus on with their career.

These pivots also outline the focus of each, and their work should be evaluated with this focus.

Consumer vs. Enterprise

User Base

Consumer design aims to create engaging, easy-to-use interfaces for a broad audience. The focus is on aesthetics, simplicity, and quick, satisfying interactions to retain users and encourage repeated use. Success is often measured by user satisfaction and retention rates and typically are more transactional.

Enterprise design focuses on specialized tasks and workflows within professional settings where the organizational needs matter more than the user (think Concur). Efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring users can complete complex tasks with minimal errors. Metrics for success include productivity improvements and error reduction, and it’s more about the organization.

Design Approach

Consumer design targets a diverse group of users with varying levels of tech-savviness. Designs need to be intuitive and accessible to appeal to a wide audience. The users could be anyone off the street, and you might use the application yourself.

Enterprise design caters to professionals with specific needs and expertise. These users often require more advanced functionality and customization to support their workflow. The cost of admission is learning the domain so you can speak to the users.


Consumer design emphasizes aesthetics and emotional engagement. There’s a priority for clean, visually appealing interfaces with seamless interactions, getting to the final outcome quickly. It’s more about testing minor details like multivariate testing with clear metrics like conversion rate.

Enterprise design focuses on functionality and usability over aesthetics. The design process involves thorough user research for both user but organizational needs, understanding intricate workflows, and creating solutions that integrate smoothly with other enterprise systems. Understanding the domain and the use case is much more important than the color of a button.

My focus

I work in environments of a function over form with longer transaction times and interview candidates that way. They understand beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the context of my environment is content-heavy, so every designer I look at is through that lens.

Web vs. Mobile

Display Surface

Web application design typically involves larger screens, allowing for more detailed and complex interfaces. A typical use case within a web application is giving the user a large amount of information, so designers have to know how to handle this information effectively.

Mobile design emphasizes simplification, ensuring interfaces are easily navigable with fingers and accommodating diverse user needs. Additionally, mobile users may encounter varying contexts, such as different lighting conditions or limited connectivity, requiring adaptive and resilient designs that accomplish transactional goals.

Feature Set

Web application design demands comprehensive information and robust functionality, leveraging mouse input's precision and full keyboards' extensive capabilities. This environment supports multitasking, with users frequently switching between tabs and applications, demanding a seamless and efficient experience. The users focus on many different contexts, typically as part of their job.

Mobile design prioritizes simplicity and efficiency due to the smaller screen size and touch-based interaction. Users often seek quick, on-the-go solutions and highly accessible content. Mobile interfaces must be intuitive and streamlined, minimizing the number of taps and focusing on essential features to ensure a smooth and responsive experience.

My focus

I’ve always led teams in enterprise web application environments, with a heavy emphasis on data visualization analytics. Handling large sets of information strategically has been key, so I look for candidates who can do that well.

Consultant vs. In House


Consultant design involves specific projects or short-term engagements. They bring a fresh perspective, offering specialized expertise and insights across various industries that could be applied quickly. Their approach is often project-based, focusing on delivering high-impact results within a limited timeframe.

In-house design is embedded within a company’s organizational structure, which means learning about the domain and how to succeed in working with diverse stakeholders. They have a deeper understanding of the company’s products, users, and long-term goals. The approach is more iterative and collaborative, involving continuous improvement and long-term user research. In-house is good for longer-term engagements in specialized domains.


Consultant design Consultants must adapt rapidly to different company cultures and processes, providing an outsider’s viewpoint that can challenge internal assumptions. Their success is measured by their tangible improvements and ability to transfer knowledge to the client’s team.

In-house design is about building and maintaining user-centric design cultures, aligning closely with business objectives, and fostering cross-departmental relationships. It’s about being involved in the full lifecycle of product development, from initial research to post-launch evaluation. Success for in-house UX professionals is often measured by sustained user satisfaction and business metrics over a longer time scale.

My focus

I love building design cultures over time. While consultant work can transform an organization by giving it a heart transplant, a designer sometimes has to measure their success over a longer time, so in-house is always a preference.

Startup vs. Big Company


Startup design revolves around rapid iteration, adaptability, and building ideas that may be moonshots or 0 to 1. Startups typically have limited resources and time, so UX designers must be versatile and ready to wear multiple hats, including research, design, and front-end development.

The focus is on quickly testing and validating ideas, often through MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) and user feedback loops. Agility and speed are key, emphasizing innovation and disrupting existing markets.

Enterprise design involves more established systems, user bases, and business processes. It emphasizes consistency, scalability, and integration with existing workflows and technologies.


Enterprise design means navigating complex organizational structures and stakeholder needs, often requiring extensive documentation and approval processes. The user research phase is more thorough, aiming to understand deeply ingrained user behaviors and needs within the enterprise context.

Startup design thrives on flexibility and rapid change; enterprise environments prioritize reliability, security, and long-term sustainability. Thus, startup UX is characterized by its dynamic, fast-paced nature, whereas enterprise UX demands meticulous planning, rigorous testing, and robust implementation to support large-scale operations.

My focus

I’ve hired from both environments. Both have alignment challenges but equal rewards, but designers who know how to build relationships quickly in startups are preferred.

Evaluate what your Ideal Designer Profile is.

Use the uxGPT Ideal Design Profile custom GPT:

Click here to view it.

Or upload your resume to ChatGPT and run this prompt:

“Based on this resume, what kind of product designer are you? List each phrase separately in as few words as possible with only a single selection. (mobile application or web application; consumer or enterprise; startup under 500; mid-sized company between 500 to 2000. or big company over 2000; consultant or in-house. How does that match up against the products Apptio develops?”

This will give you perspective on how to portray yourself to your interviewers. How you market yourself goes a long way toward finding your perfect fit.

What’s your Ideal Designer Profile? was originally published in UX Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.






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