"It is very hard to explain to people what I do for a living. In my experience, when I say UX design, 50% of people would not get it at all, 40% thinks it is UI design - that I only design screens - and only 10% get what it actually is! I think it is because the industry tends to over-complicate UX.
It's actually quite simple. Once you "geddit" - pun intended - that UX is not only designing screens but designing the emotions of the user, you'd get that wonderful 'aha' moment!"
"One of the questions I am always asked is how do you learn about your users when you do not have a product yet?
A neat trick I employ is to kick-off the project with user testing sessions on competitor products! You'd be amazed by the things we can learn by doing tests on other similar products with the same users.
Well, what if you do not have a competitor product? What if your idea, is so unique, there's nothing really out there in the market?
Well, it's simple, ask a potential user to pick some apps from their phone to do a walkthrough with and learn what they like, what they dislike. The idea is to look for user patterns. So, moral of the story; no surveys! Put something in the hand of your users, and learn about them!"