8 Essential Skills You Need to Land a Job As a UX Designer
UX (User Experience) designers are without a doubt one of the most essential and in-demand careers right now. Whether you’re ordering food online, buying clothes, checking your bank account or applying for a job...you can guarantee a UX designer has made the polishing touches to your experience. The role of a UX designer is to focus on a user’s experience of a product, app or website and ensure that it is simple and well designed to bring in the maximum profit.
UX designers are required to have a diverse set of skills that broadly cover research, design and validation of design. While most UX designers prefer to be generalists, it is becoming more common to specialise in areas, such as, user research or UX writing. The beauty of a career in UX design is that it welcomes people from diverse disciplines and can be an excellent conversion career, with the right training and skill set. So if you’re looking for a career that’s exciting and full of opportunities, this could be a winner!
So, what skills do you need to land a job in this industry? Have a read of these 8 fundamental skills every UX designer should have...
Whether you have a background in cognitive psychology, computer science or have started from scratch, your skills in UX research should be top notch. This means using a variety of research methods to effectively plan, conduct and analyse findings. Companies want UX designers to have a firm grasp of what their audiences/consumers want and how they interact with their product. Consider a food delivery app for instance. A UX designer would have to research target users, create personas and conduct user testing and interviews to make sure the app will be experienced at its optimum.
Collaborating with others is an essential element of being a UX designer. Teamwork makes the dreamwork, and all that. You’ll be working closely with developers, content strategists, clients and other stakeholders throughout the design process. This is why UX designers need to be excellent communicators so that both business goals and user requirements are successfully met. Team expertise is needed to complement each other when it comes to designing, coding, managing and marketing the product regardless of how extensive the UX designer’s research has been.
This is a fundamental part of the interaction design process and a skill every UX developer should be a whiz with. Wireframing is the stage where you make an idea tangible and show how something works on an interface. This means creating a blueprint for interface screens so that you can visually express an idea. It allows the UX designer to review an idea with the team and/or client and make sure it makes sense. It is also essential for catching any mistakes you might have made before you’ve begun the time intensive coding process.
Have a browse of this popular wireframing app for reference.
4. Visual Communication
It’s the heart of UX after all - visual communication. Every UX designer should be extremely competent with their visualisation skills. This includes the layout, colour, images, icons, typography and design theory of elements to make them attractive and functional for users. When you are using an app you want your experience to be as straightforward and visually pleasing as possible, with the majority of humans being visually oriented. So, when you log on to a travel booking website, it’s likely the visual elements have been painstakingly poured over by a UX designer to entice you into spending your hard earned cash.
5. Information Architecture
This is a skill that requires UX designers to be able to organise, structure and label information in a cogent and effective way. In a website context, this could refer to search functions, labeling and navigation of material. The purpose being, to help users find information and complete tasks as effortlessly as possible. A successful UX designer will fully understand the user’s expectations and organise information accordingly, bringing in more traffic to the product. Let’s be honest, as users if we encounter a website that is too difficult to navigate or poorly set out, most of us will just look elsewhere and lose faith in the product being offered.
Dynomapper is a popular example and tool UX designers use to organise website projects.
Being competent in prototyping allows UX designers to test the functionality of things, see how it works and how it will be interacted with. A prototype is ultimately the draft of something and a simulation of the final product. Different methods of prototyping that a UX designer should be proficient in include: sketching, paper prototypes, low-fidelity wireframe, HTML prototypes and Interactive prototypes. A UX designer should be able to quickly and effectively utilise any of these prototypes before the final product is started.
7. User Empathy
This is a critical one for a UX designer. Having user empathy allows them to understand the emotions of their target audience and ensure they have a positive customer experience. This is why a strong research ability is so important in the initial stages also. UX designers want to be able to create a product that fully immerses and satisfies the user and that requires them to put themselves in the user’s shoes. It also gives them a better understanding of any potential problems and how to solve them.
When you’re testing an app or website, you want to be able to understand its performance through analytics. This is why UX designers need a decent understanding of numbers, percentages and ratios to do their job properly. Analytics can give the UX designer a much better indication of how a design will perform with solid statistics. It can also be an excellent way of giving clients and stakeholders confidence in your design. If numbers aren’t your strong suit, don’t call it quits. There are plenty of analytical apps out there to help you out like Woopra.
UX design is a booming industry right now and if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s worth investing in some reputable courses and qualifications to get you hired and racking in a healthy salary. Once you’ve mastered the fundamental skills outlined above, you can begin your journey contributing to cutting edge app/web designs.
For those of you all ready to jump on board and get snapped up, check out the latest UX design opportunities here!