User experience (UX) design is a process of designing a digital interaction between a user and a product or service.
It’s a broad subject that has many dimensions and disciplines under its scope. For example, UX design includes interaction design, visual design, information architecture, and the usability of human-computer interactions.
So, the role of a UX designer is to use several skills to create a usable, accessible, and enjoyable experience when a user interacts with a product or service. It revolves around an empathetic approach of conducting and analyzing research to understand the user and the brand to present the final product relevant to end users. UX designers tend to focus more on the analytical side of design, how users interact and make their journey through the digital experience,rather than the aesthetically-driven side of design, such as UI (User Interface) and Visual Design.
The role of UX design
Simply put, UX design aims to create a human-centered arrangement for digital interfaces including computer software, mobile applications, web applications, and websites. The purpose is to engage customers through value, utility, ease of use, and pleasure to improve their satisfaction and loyalty to the brand.
However, it’s essential to note that UX design also covers digital experiences that don’t use traditional screen interfaces like hardware interfaces and voice-controlled interfaces such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
The must-have skills for UX designers
UX designing is a systematic process that has four major stages:
Stimulation: This is the research part of the UX designing process to observe and understand the needs of your target audience.
Conceptualization: This stage helps you form a buyer or user persona based on their pain points, emotions, and aspirations.
Iteration: This stage involves brainstorming the solutions for the user’s steps to complete the desired task by designing prototypes.
Illustration: In this stage, you make customers interact with the prototypes to obtain feedback on the usability.
To complete the UX designing process effectively and efficiently, a designer needs to have a certain skill set. If you’re hiring for a UX designer, here are some technical and business skills to look out for.
Technical skills to look out for when hiring a UX designer:
To become a proficient UX designer, carrying out UX research is the most critical skill to acquire. It includes several quantitative and qualitative methods to test human behavior and attitude theories. Moreover, every decision to create a successful mobile app or website has to be well thought out, studied, and researched. So, having a good hand in UX research is crucial in providing a better user experience.
Information architecture is another must-have skill for UX designers that helps them organize and structure the large and complex set of information effectively. As the goal of a UX designer is to simplify the experience, the proper use of information architecture helps users conveniently interpret complex data.
Wireframing and prototyping
Wireframing and UI prototyping help UX designers convince people of the UX design reasoning. It’s the base of understanding the primary functions of an application before developers start building it. While wireframes enable them to explore design solutions efficiently, prototyping allows testing functionalities to identify problems.
While most people endorse web and app coding, one skill that goes unnoticed in a good user experience is UX writing. A UX writer makes users navigate smoothly by writing copy for apps, websites, and other digital products. It may include words for menus, buttons, labels, definitions, or instructions, and if done subtly, it makes the experience pretty friendly.
Understanding how the target audience will interact with your design is more crucial than creating an aesthetically pleasing design. With the knowledge of interaction design, UX designers can make interactive wireframes to iterate human interactions and find out what works best for your design.
The testing phase for any app is crucial to its success. If UX designers don’t have a strong grasp for numbers, analyzing the performance of designs may be challenging. With even foundational analytical abilities, UX designers can more easily iterate on their plans for a better user experience.
Business and Remote Work Skills:
Besides technical skills, some business skills are mandatory for growth in the UX designing industry. Communication skill is one of them. Especially when teams are working remotely, a teammate’s speaking and listening skills are of paramount importance. Even for the traditional working style, having a command of communication skills can significantly impact one’s team and clients.
UX designers have to put themselves in someone else’s shoes to understand what they need. If they can do it, they will more likely find a suitable solution to their problems. That’s why empathy becomes a vital skill while designing the user experience.
Working alone is nearly impossible for a UX designer. They will need to collaborate with others during the designing process, especially cross-departmentally. Working with a team of varied professionals will help them get specific insights that only an expert can provide to complement the design work.
Remote work tools and techniques
Working remotely means having to manage several jobs independently. From pitching a UX project to a client to giving presentations of the completed work to regular meetings, designers will need different tools that are remote-friendly. UX designers should have strong experience with Sketch and InVision to share their designs across teams. Similarly, they may have knowledge of tools such as Optimal Workshop and lookback.io for research and usability tests. In addition, several project and time management tools should also be handy to remain efficient.
Ready to hire a UX designer?
Hiring the right UX designer may not be as easy as it seems. It takes a unique combination of technical and personal skills to make a designer the perfect fit.
At Andela, we connect brilliant talent with opportunities to do impactful work. Andela’s Design Practice has the talent and experience to build your next design system. If you want to hire best-in-class UX designers, put together your dream team with Andela.