🤔 What does a UX Designer do?
User experience (UX) designers are professional problem solvers. They perform research, come up with experiments, brainstorm product ideas, test new features with users, and ultimately work to improve the interaction between people and products, apps, and websites.
💸 UX Designer salary and job market
💵 Entry Salary
💵 Senior Salary
🙎 What it's like to be a UX Designer
Ever notice how using some apps feels like filling out forms at the doctors office, while others are more like sitting on the beach drinking a White Claw?
The difference is UX design.
UX designers help make apps, websites, and other technology products easy and enjoyable to use. They improve how we interact with machines, and how the machines interact with us.
A common misconception is that UX designers are a type of graphic designer. They are not. They design how people experience a product, not graphics people see.
UX designers typically work in stages that follow a specific pattern:
1. Product research
If you’re going to create a great product, you first have to have a deep understanding of the existing market and users.
2. Creating personas and scenarios
Based on your research, you’ll create personas and scenarios that represent how most people will use the product most of the time.
3. Information architecture
Information architecture is where you decide how to best organize information in the app so that users know where they are and how to find what they need.
Wireframes are simple sketches of the new paths that you want users to be able to take. Programmers and product managers will use these to create prototypes.
Prototyping is where you build a model of the final product that allows you to test and improve it. You’ll work with engineers for this part.
6. Product testing
Once the product is out in the world, UX designers test for problems and improvements. They often do this by observing real users interacting with the product and asking them questions.
Problems you’ll solve
One of the best ways to understand what someone does is through the questions they answer and problems they solve.
Here are some questions a UX designer might have to answer:
How can I make this app more intuitive to use?
Where are users getting stuck?
Why are so many people abandoning their cart before making a purchase?
How can I simplify the account registration process?
What would happen if we didn’t require an account to use the product?
Here are some examples of real projects a UX designer would work on.
Your company sells software that helps businesses track and manage employee expenses.
Despite a robust FAQ section on your website and in the app itself, your customer service team is getting overwhelmed with calls from new clients looking for answers to basic questions.
Why is nobody making use of the help and FAQ sections in the app?
You work for a startup that’s developing an app to help trucking companies track and manage their fleet. There are some existing solutions but none of them are user friendly.
How will you design your app to be 10x better than the competition?
Tools and tech you’ll use
UX designers have a variety of apps and software to help with every part of the job they do—programs like UXPin, Balsamiq, Mural, Sketch, and Optimizely, to name just a few.
You’ll need to become familiar with many of these and learn how to use them to improve your workflow.
Important traits you’ll need
UX design is a complex discipline that combines aspects of psychology, business, market research, design, and technology.
Here are some skills you’ll need to be successful.
UX design techniques
There is a right and wrong way to do the work of a UX designer. You’ll need to understand and follow best practices for things like user research, wireframing, prototyping, and product testing.
A curious and analytical mind
As a UX designer, you don’t just have to find answers. Most of the time, you have to figure out the right question too. Successful UX designers have a knack for asking good questions and uncovering things other people miss.
Excellent communication skills
A big part of UX design is product testing, where you’ll observe users interacting with the product and then ask them probing questions to really understand what their experience is like.
You’ll also need to be able to clearly communicate your findings and ideas to other people in the company like engineers, product managers, and executives.
Where you’ll spend your time
UX designer is a highly interactive career compared to many other tech jobs.
Your product testing will give you opportunities to talk with customers, and you’ll spend a lot of time working with software engineers and product managers to plan and execute your ideas.
What's awesome about the job
Ability to flex your problem-solving muscle
Part art, part science
You can see (and measure) the impact of your work
What can be not-so-great
Design is often misunderstood
UX priorities are sometimes seen as secondary to engineering
🏢 What companies look for in a UX Designer
Bachelor's degree in design, computer science, engineering, or a related field
Proven experience as a UX Designer, UI Designer or similar role
Strong portfolio of design projects
Background in project management and research
Familiarity with interaction design and information architecture
Proficient in design software (e.g. UXPin, Balsamiq)
Analytical mind with a business acumen
Excellent communication skills