UX Designers help plan the design of products and services while acting as the voice of the user.
People often confuse UX design with user interface (UI) design. The UI refers to the actual interface of the product or service, such as the visual elements and interactive features of a webpage or app. UX design helps establish the framework for the interface.
The UX Design team is responsible for the architecture of the product or service. They are involved from the beginning of a project to address usability and functionality.
UX Designers ensure that the product or service meets the needs of the users. This requires detailed consumer research, competitor analysis, and technical skills. If you are considering a career as a UX Designer, here is what you should know.
Table of contents
UX DesignersUX Designers collaborate with Software Developers and UI Designers to create user-friendly software, applications, and websites. They develop wireframes and workflows to ensure that the project addresses user needs.
What they do
UX Designers collaborate with Software Developers and UI Designers to create user-friendly software, applications, and websites. They develop wireframes and workflows to ensure that the project addresses user needs.
1. Use research to learn more about user needs
One of the main tasks of the UX Designer is consumer research. UX Designers use a variety of methods to gain feedback from real users, including surveys and user testing.
Online surveys are often brief and provide general information about user attitudes, interests, and needs. User testing is more detailed as it requires users to test a prototype of the project for hands-on evaluations.
2. Develop workflows and wireframes of each function
Before UI Designers start building the visual interface of a project, UX Designers need to develop a blueprint. Most projects rely on wireframes or workflows to illustrate the functions and interactivity of the product or service.
A wireframe is the skeletal framework of the project. It includes a layout of the various elements. Workflows or task flows are charts that display specific elements and the paths that users can take.
3. Collaborate with developers and UI designers
UX Designers are often part of a large team that includes experts from multiple disciplines, including developers and UI designers. The developers use the wireframes or workflows created by the UX Designers to begin building the overall project architecture. They develop the back end that carries out the functions of the product or service.
After working with developers to develop the back end, UX Designers collaborate with UI Designers to add the visual interface.
4. May take on multiple roles
Depending on the size of the team or company, UX Designers may need to perform tasks typically associated with Developers or UI Designers.
For example, a UX Designer may also be required to handle the coding tasks normally assigned to Developers. UX Designers may also be responsible for UI Design.
5. Attempt to find and solve UX design issues
Throughout the development process, UX Designers need to detect potential design issues and resolve them. There are several steps for identifying and solving UX Design issues, including prototyping and user testing.
6. Develop prototypes for user testing
Before finalizing a project, UX Designers assist with the development of a prototype. The prototype is often used for user testing, providing the design team with valuable feedback.
Prototypes help developers, designers, and users understand how a product works. The prototype acts as a simulation of the finished product and may include sketches, wireframes, or semi-functional versions of the software or application.
What is it like working as one
You have job security
The UX Design field tends to offer job security as many full-time UX Designers can continue working for the same company for many years. The demand for UX Designers is also high, ensuring plenty of opportunities for higher pay.
You work on new projects frequently
A UX Design job is rarely boring as you frequently have new projects to work on. For example, you may work on a webpage for a shoe company followed by a mobile app for a gaming company. The variety of projects keeps the job interesting.
UX Designers often face tight deadlines
Developers and UI Designers need to wait for UX Designers to complete their tasks before starting their own work. This can lead to tight deadlines, which adds to the stress of the job.
UX Designer involves collaboration and user interaction
UX Designers work with a wide variety of individuals including developers, UI designers, and users. Those who dislike collaboration and sharing ideas may dislike working as a UX Designer.
Where they work
UX Designers may work for software development companies or as freelance designers for clients. When working full-time at a company, UX Designers often work in an office setting and collaborate with others to complete original projects. Freelance UX Designers may work from home and remotely discuss projects with clients.
Along with software companies and freelance work, UX Designers may find employment at advertising agencies and web design companies. Large organizations that rely on in-house developers to handle their software development needs may also require UX Designers.
How to become one
Step 1: Earn a UX Design Degree or Certification
Aspiring UX Designers should have a degree or certification to showcase their skills and knowledge. Completing a UX Design course at a technical school may only take a year or so and provides a good foundation of UX Design skills. However, some employers may prefer to hire candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree.
Not all UX Designers with an undergraduate degree major in UX Design. You may major in UX Design-related fields such as Programming, Computer Science, Marketing, or Graphic Design.
Step 2: Look for Freelance Work as a UX Designer
Employers often look at past work experience and education when reviewing candidates. To gain work experience, look for freelance work or offer your services for free to non-profits.
As you gain more experience, you may find it easier to take on more advanced freelance work. You can also use your experience to start searching for full-time employment.
Step 3: Look for Entry-Level UX Design Positions
After working on several projects, you can expand your search to permanent positions. Look for entry-level UX Design positions, such as Junior UX Designer or UX Design Assistant. Common employers include tech companies and advertising agencies.
Should you become one
UX Designers should be creative and personable. You need to create intuitive products or services and solve UX Design issues, which involves a high level of creativity. Due to the frequent collaboration and user testing, this job also requires you to regularly interact with others.