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Do Introverts or Extroverts Make Better Mobile App Designers?

The Pros and Cons of Each, And Why Your Team Needs Both

July 12, 2016

On the Internet, it can seem like introverts reign supreme. After all, if you get your energy from recharging in solitude, and find too much social interaction to be draining, the Internet is a fine place to connect with the rest of the world without zapping your energy stores. As such, type “Introverts make better” into a Google search and autofill will show its allegiance instantly. “Introverts make better leaders.” “Introverts make better lovers.” “Introverts make better managers.”

A photo of a man working alone in a coffee shop.

After a while, extroverts — stereotyped as the lives of the party, the jocks and the sorority sisters, the salespeople and motivational speakers — start to seem like chopped liver, don’t they? The Internet sure loves introverts, if the countless think pieces, BuzzFeed quizzes and webcomics are to be believed. But as with everything in life, it takes all kinds.

So what does this have to do with mobile app design? Do the stereotypes of the introvert as the quiet creative types and idea people, whose bookish brilliance is then converted into a sales pitch to be flung far and wide by their outgoing, extroverted counterparts, hold up? As far as we’re concerned, both introverts and extroverts (and their lesser known, but arguably more common middle path followers, ambiverts) can thrive as mobile app designers and developers. Here’s why.

Personality Types: Everyone Loves a Questionnaire

It is fashionable to regard horoscopes and astrology as the pastimes of foolish minds and bored newspaper readers. After all, where the sun and moon happened to be positioned in the sky at the time of your birth, based on ancient Greek charting and mythology, doesn’t seem like it has much to do with whether you like to drive a fast car (Aries, perchance?) or relish the thrill of organizing your closet (Virgo?). If you’re a creative Pisces, you might be drawn to the artistic pursuits of mobile app design, and if you’re a passionate Scorpio, you may work tirelessly toward designing an app that doesn’t just disrupt an industry, it changes the world.

A photo of a large group of employees listening to a manager address the group.

We might pat ourselves on the back for seeing zodiac signs as being at best silly means of entertaining ourselves or at worst frivolous wastes of time, but if there’s anything the citizens of the Internet can’t get enough of, it’s personality quizzes. Whether you’re sharing one of countless tests seeking to determine your “spirit animal” or determining which Hogwarts house the Sorting Hat would place you in (here at we’re all Ravenclaws, clearly), the proliferation of questionnaires looking to put fun labels on our personality traits speaks to the very human need to find community and contextualize oneself within society at large.

A close-up of four fingers, each depicting a different marker-drawn emotion.

In other words, when you tell your Facebook friends that your spirit animal is a peregrine falcon, it gives you a feeling of belonging, while also feeding your ego with the notion that, on some cosmic or metaphorical level, you can achieve air speeds of 240 miles per hour (by the way, you’re also probably an Aries).

Myers Briggs Typology: Modern-Day Zodiac?

But some personality tests we take more seriously than others, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a prime example of mythology collectively accepted as something harder and more scientific than it really is. Named for its inventors, Myers-Briggs divides the human psyche into four separate dichotomies: extraversion/ introversion, sensing/ intuition, thinking/ feeling and judging/ perceiving. By answering a series of questions about yourself (“When at a party, do you prefer to work the room or pay attention to a few people you know very well?”), you end up with a composite view of your personality as a whole based on these four traits.

A chart naming the four dichotomies of Myers-Briggs: extraversion/ introversion, sensing/ intuition, thinking/ feeling and judging/ perceiving.

For example, if you’re an ENTP (extroverted, intuitive, thinking and perceiving) you might be associated with the “wizard” or “professor” archetype, with a combination of clever, logical thinking and extroverted charm. If you’re an ISFJ (introverted sensing feeling judging), you might be typed as the “defender” or “caretaker,” more withdrawn but also carefully attuned to the feelings of others.

Businesses and schools still frequently use the Myers-Brigg personality test to do everything from facilitating team builders and icebreakers to helping people determine what they want to do in life. In mobile app design, does it matter whether that first letter is an “E” or an “I?” Is there a Myers-Briggs type shown to make better apps?

While it might be interesting to run a poll in which mobile app designers answer a Myers-Briggs questionnaire, then report metrics about their most successful app, just to satisfy the data nerds among us who love looking for correlations, the fact is that Myers-Briggs is probably no more or less scientific or predictive of workplace success than, well, a BuzzFeed quiz telling you which Disney movie could be about your life.

Firstly, Myers-Briggs tests rely on the individual to self-report, and we all know how reliable that is. Maybe you think you’re an extrovert, but the people closest to you know that you do your best work alone at a desk, with few distractions. You might swear you’re as logical as a Vulcan, but your friends know that you’re as hotheaded as a Romulan.

Secondly, the idea that a certain type can be matched to a certain profession ignores the obvious fact that many types of people can succeed in a single profession. Think, for example, of the top five best teachers you have ever had. Chances are, some were boisterous, while some were more reserved. The same is true of mobile app designers: you can’t necessarily put them all in a box.

Great Mobile App Designers Come From All Walks of Life

One of the coolest things about mobile app design as a field and an industry is that by its very nature, it attracts a rich diversity of creative people. This includes folks with degrees you wouldn’t necessarily expect would be great for mobile app design, like religious studies and even pre-med. It includes athletes looking to create the next big fitness app and gamers turning their passion for digital play into addictive mobile games.

So maybe, then, it makes less sense to ask the question, “Do extroverts or introverts make better mobile app designers?” and it’s more productive to ask, “How can I bring out the best in my team members, regardless of where they get their energy?” If you notice that your mobile app design team has plenty of introverts, you may choose to keep the office quiet, consolidate group meetings into one or two sessions a week and even invest in the infrastructure necessary to allow occasional remote work.

A close-up of a book by Susan Cain entitled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking next to a cup of coffee.

If your team comprises multiple extroverts, on the other hand, you might schedule more breakout sessions to allow mobile app designers to bounce ideas off each other and energize one another — just make sure these breakouts are timed and constructive, and implement agendas to keep everyone on point, as extroverts also love to socialize.

Why You Shouldn’t Pigeonhole Mobile App Designers

Remember, also, to encourage your team members not only to capitalize on their strengths and their ideal working styles, but also to venture outside of their comfort zones. It might sound cliche, but that really is where the best work and creativity comes from. That goes double if your team, like most teams, has a mix of extroverts, introverts and ambiverts. While the introverts may be tempted to keep to themselves and maintain a more solitary working style, giving them the opportunity to work in small groups can keep them from falling into a creative rut. Likewise, extroverts should be encouraged to brainstorm in quiet reflection if their normal preferred working style of putting heads together isn’t working for a specific project.

A photo of four mobile app designers working in a coffee shop together.

When something isn’t working, change it up! That goes not only for introversion and extroversion, but also for finding design inspiration. Sometimes the best mobile app ideas come from surprising places, like album covers and even beautifully designed restaurants (regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, everyone loves to eat).

What we’re saying is, there are plenty of people out there who say that mobile app designers and developers have to be one thing: either extraverted or introverted, with a certain educational background, a certain industry background or a certain amount of experience. They have to read specific industry blogs. Maybe they’re a certain age range — too old and they don’t know what’s hip, too young and they don’t know anything. Maybe the stereotypical mobile app designer even dresses or talks a certain way.

But hunting for a cookie cutter team is a surefire way to turn out a final product that doesn’t distinguish itself from its competition, let alone disrupt an industry.

What All Great Mobile App Designers Have In Common

At the end of the day, it isn’t as important whether you get your energy from other people or work best on your own. What matters is that you have the combination of creative vision and work ethic that makes great mobile app designers so successful. Chances are, if you polled the minds behind Uber, SnapChat, Tinder and Angry Birds, you wouldn’t find a uniform group of introverts or extraverts, INTJs or ENFPs. You’d find a range of unique minds, ready and willing to get the job done.

Here’s another thing great mobile app designers have in common: they create great mobile app prototypes. not only makes it easy to create lifelike digital prototypes of your greatest mobile app designs, but it also makes teamwork a breeze with advanced collaboration features that introverts and extroverts can all agree on. Sign up for a free 15-day trial of today!

What challenges do introverts and extroverts run into in the world of mobile app design? Let us know what you think by tweeting us