The role of a UX designer can vary somewhat from organization to organization, but it generally includes the same key responsibilities. Let’s examine what’s involved in this role, and what skills you’ll need to secure this type of position.
What is UX design?
UX design involves working with the interface of an app or website and making it functional and understandable for users. UX designers curate the user experience, which depends on components such as graphic design and site architecture. The clearer and more accessible the interface is, the easier it is for the user to get the desired result by performing the target action(s). To put it simply, the UX designer's core responsibility is to use design to ensure that each step of a product interface is logically linked to the next.
Overall, UX design is related to product structure and a user’s comfort when using it. A user experience designer usually has a diverse list of skills, from graphic design and social research to, in some cases, software development. The work of a UX designer is usually associated with how a product or service feels, so their main tasks tend to be creative in nature—although testing and analytics are important parts of the job as well.
What does a UX designer do?
A UX designer's main interest is understanding how the product and the user interact. They aim to make sure that the user will logically and intuitively be able to move from one step to another. Consider the interface of a banking app, for example. If the user doesn’t immediately understand how to make a payment or take some other common action, the UX may be poor.
Designers explore different approaches to solving a specific user problem using the app or website in order to choose the best one in terms of speed, convenience, and logic. What steps does the user take? What tasks do they need to complete? How simple is the path from query to result? To figure this out, UX designers may conduct research to better understand their target audience and their needs. Then, they’ll create and evaluate a prototype that they or a designated UI designer will work with next.
What skills does a UX designer need?
A UX designer doesn't just place buttons in the interface and make things look nice. A UX designer is involved in all kinds of aspects of the design of a product with the goal of making the entire interface convenient, understandable, and suitable for the target audience's requirements. In order to be able to do this, they need a certain set of skills.
Hard skills a UX designer is likely to need include the ability to:
- Analyze an audience. To create a useful product, you need to be able to analyze the target audience and uncover their pains, problems, and motivations.
- Analyze competitors. To better understand the target audience, it’s usually also necessary to analyze competitors, including their customers, products, and values.
- Generate ideas. UX designers have to come up with ideas for the functionality of the product as a whole, both with a team and independently.
- Construct and test hypotheses. UX designers need to be able to come up with hypotheses about what users might respond well to within the design, and then be able to test those hypotheses accurately.
- Develop prototypes. The skill of creating layouts and prototypes is the basis of the profession of a UX designer. This allows them to identify errors and find ways to improve the product.
- Check usability. A UX designer must check the interface for usability principles to make sure the end result is convenient for users.
- Interact with their team. Throughout the process of product development and improvement, a UX designer will need to communicate effectively with other members of the team.
- Analyze product performance. To understand how well the app or website works, you need to be able to analyze metrics and user feedback and accurately detect problems.
In addition to the hard skills listed above, a UX designer may also benefit from having the following soft skills, such as:
- Empathy. A UX designer must be able to put themselves in the user's shoes. The ability to understand other people's problems will help them find adequate solutions.
- Time management. They also must be able to comply with the deadlines set by clients, business owners, or product managers.
- Critical thinking. They should know how to collect important information and apply it correctly.
- Communication skills. It doesn't matter if you work in a startup or in a corporation: You will have to interact with colleagues, business management, and customers regularly as a UX designer.
- Stress resistance. A UX designer must be prepared for the fact that their ideas and work will sometimes be criticized. They need to be able to calmly accept feedback and make adjustments.
- Curiosity. A UX designer must be constantly looking for ways to improve a product, so a sense of curiosity is typically helpful.
What does the workflow of a UX designer look like?
UX design is a complex process that begins long before the development of the visual elements. The full list of stages typically looks like this:
- Collection of information. At this stage, the designer receives information about the future website or application either from the project manager or directly from the customer. In this way, a general understanding of the product and its structure emerges.
- Analysis of competitors and audience. Next, they may research the strengths and weaknesses of competitor products. They will also research the target audience to help set the tone for the future design.
- Development of a User Flow and a Customer Journey Map. Before starting work on the actual layouts, the designer creates these two visualization maps:
- A User Flow is about a user’s movement through a website or application, from the point of entry to the final action. A User Flow helps the team design the journey through the product so that it meets the needs of the user.
- A Customer Journey Map captures not only the steps taken by the user but also their feelings, pain points, and moments of satisfaction as they interact with the product.
- Wireframing. The designer then creates sketches of all screens and schematically demonstrates the location of buttons, shortcuts, text, images, etc.
- Prototyping. The prototype is a model of the future project. It usually looks like a black and white diagram, and it helps the designer and the team analyze the advantages and disadvantages. It may also be shown to some users for feedback.
Then, after the development stage, the finished product must be tested so any errors can be found and improved before release. This will all be done in close cooperation with engineers, testers, managers, and other team members.
Pros and cons of being a UX designer
Here are the main advantages of this job:
- A high salary and opportunities for growth, even at the start
- Very little routine, as you regularly switch between different projects or elements of a project
- A balance between creativity and an analytical approach
- Related to psychology for those who are interested in this topic, as UX design is about understanding how to predict people’s feelings and actions
- Skills you acquire will be useful if you ever want to change positions (for example, to sales, marketing, or project management)
But there are also some disadvantages:
- High competition, which means that getting a good position without an extensive portfolio and accumulated experience can be hard
- There’s no single, standardized approach; what worked for one product may not work for another
- You often have to work with a fixed budget, which means you may not be able to implement everything you envisioned or planned for
In conclusion, the UX design profession offers a world of opportunities, creative challenges, and the chance to make a meaningful impact on the way people interact with technology. If you're inspired by the idea of shaping the future of digital experiences and are ready to take the next step, now is the perfect time to invest in yourself and your career.
Don't miss this incredible opportunity to join the ranks of successful UX designers. Enroll in Careerist's comprehensive UX design training program today and set yourself up for a fulfilling and lucrative career in this dynamic field. Our expert instructors and hands-on curriculum will equip you with the skills, confidence, and portfolio you need to stand out in the job market.
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