What do we get when we combine the intuition of a psychologist, the craftiness of an architect, and the creativity of a storyteller?
A collaboration between Sigmund Freud, Zaha Hadid, and Stephen King? (That sounds super cool, but no.)
We are talking about a UX Designer, guys!
I can imagine that there are a lot of puzzled faces in the audience. Most of you probably think that this is a joke.
It’s not! I am being absolutely serious.
Various UX designer jobs require different traits but the professionals mentioned above would form a perfect amalgam needed for the position.
Let me explain…
A psychologist can enter into the mind of the user and focus on the user-centered design.
An architect can create an environment for the user and provide visual design.
And the storyteller will take you through all of it and provide the best customer experience.
All those people have the necessary qualities to create any sort of website or a mobile app that you will not want to leave.
User experience has become absolutely essential.
The rise of social media sites, entertainment apps and smartphones has created the need for UX designers. Many companies have begun to realize their potential.
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In order to become a UX designer, you don’t really need a degree in psychology, architecture, or design. You simply have to be interested in the field and understand how it works.
People have been able to easily transfer to this kind of a position in as much as five years’ time.
If you are interested in learning more, Leftronic has you covered. We explore everything there is to know about UX and becoming a designer in the lines to come.
What is UX?
User experience is described as the process of manipulating user behavior through usability, accessibility, and desirability in relation to the product. It is what design teams use to create products that will translate to a meaningful experience for users.
UX jobs often encompass the design of the entire process which includes acquiring and integrating the product, adding aspects of branding, usability, and function.
A common misconception occurs when people start to use UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) interchangeably. Although the two are related, they are very much different in nature.
UX focuses on how something works and how people interact with it.
UI, on the other hand, concentrates on the looks and the layout.
To put it simply, the difference between UI/UX designer jobs is that UX designers create a blueprint for a house, while UI designers come after and decorate the whole thing.
Generally speaking, one cannot exist without the other. Both are an integral part of the creation process and the two of them have to work in tandem to create an appealing user interface design.
But let’s leave UI designer jobs for some other time.
Now when we know what user experience actually is, it is time to talk more about the position itself.
UX Designer Job Description
The word “designer” can be somewhat misleading in this case. The term is often used for a person who creates graphic or visual materials. When it comes to UX designers, it is only half true.
Generally speaking, the role of UX designers is to make the final product useful, usable and enjoyable. UX designers are directly involved in the entire creation process throughout many tasks that come with the job. They have to get into the mindset of the end-users and try to envision their visual perception of the product.
However, there are numerous user experience design jobs responsibilities that one needs to tackle on a day-to-day basis. They include:
Product research: This is the initial stage of UX and revolves around the market and user research. The integral role here is being able to understand the end-user and to find out exactly what appeals to them. Successful product research based on your target group will result in a better product in the end.
Design: The design part comes immediately after completing the research. A designer would then sketch the product. Then the content is being structured, based on a given scenario.
Prototyping: During this phase, the designer needs to prepare a draft version of the product. It includes experimenting with the design, correcting inconsistencies or errors, and developing data to improve the original product.
Product Testing: At this stage, designers focus on possible problems that might arise when users interact with the product. This can be done by simply observing it or making a presentation to an entire group of people. Surveys and questionnaires are also useful tools during this phase.
Measurement: This is the part that comes after the release of the product. UI/UX designer does not stop with the release of the product. They need to continuously test the product and see to it that it meets the customer’s needs.
However, transferring to UX will require a certain set of skills.
Here they come:
UX Designer Skills
This is a very diverse field and designers need to have a diverse skill set in order to fit in the role. Keep in mind that some employer’s requirements might differ from the other.
Nevertheless, we can divide the necessary skill set for UX designers into two categories – Soft skills & Hard skills!
Soft skills are a combination of personal attributes and your own social and communication skills. They are greatly valued for a workplace environment of this sort. After all, you will be working on cross-team and cross-functional projects.
UX designer jobs will require a lot of communication and collaboration with clients or stakeholders. Additionally, the job also includes interviewing users, collaborating with designers and developers with the goal of creating the end-product. Designers need to be able to articulate their ideas and also be open to suggestions and improvements.
Empathy is a crucial part of this position. A designer needs to be able to step in the user’s shoes. This way they will be able to answer questions in terms of the usability, the looks, and the general idea behind the product. They need to be objective when assessing the product.
UX design also requires a lot of paperwork. There are a lot of deliverables and documents that need to be filled out. Design briefs, research findings, prototypes, wireframes, interview results, and design specifications are some of the things that a designer needs to take care of. In order to perform these tasks well, one must rely on strong time- and task-management skills.
Hard skills are the skills of functional and technical nature. These are job-specific and are measured based on performance.
User research plays a detrimental role in whether we are going to get good or terrible user experience. This ability plays a major factor in defining user experience. It’s vital if you are going for a process-centered design or conceptual design. As part of user research, the designer must be skilled enough to carry out the testing, surveys, questioners, and interviews to prepare the product.
With the amount of information currently available on the web, the role of information architecture has become much more significant. Designers have to learn all of its principles in order to implement and produce site maps, organize navigational structures, and label systems.
Wireframing & Prototyping
Creating wireframes and prototypes is another important part of the designer’s skill set. Even junior UX designer jobs include this as a requirement. It allows designers to quickly communicate and test their ideas. So mastering as many wireframing and prototyping tools is an advantage.
As you can see, it takes a lot of skills to get in UX and one cannot simply jump into it.
Here are some of the basic requirements needed:
UX Designer Requirements
The requirements range from basic ones to specific ones that revolve around user experience.
These are some that you may encounter on a job ad:
- Experience in UX or UI
- Background in project management and research
- Being familiar with information architecture and interaction design
- Problem-solving ability and aptitude
- Proficiency in design software like UXPin, Balsamiq, etc.
- A strong portfolio of design projects
- Analytical mindset
- Excellent communication skills
- Bachelor’s Degree in either computer science, engineering or any related field
Basically speaking, having all of these would mean that you are a shoo-in to get the job.
Mind you, there is one more thing to take into consideration before you apply, and that is your portfolio!
UX Designer Portfolio
Basically, with any kind of designer jobs, a strong portfolio is an important part of your career path. This also means that it takes a lot of time and effort to devise a perfect portfolio with great materials.
You have to understand that creating a compelling story is key. Recruiters don’t have time to waste in evaluating each portfolio thoroughly. They only have a few minutes. So your initial impression may prove to be an important one. This does not mean that a junior UX designer portfolio is not going to make the cut. Everyone is eligible as long as they can prove that they are worth it.
Bear in mind that in regards to your portfolio, you don’t need to emphasize your work experience, the tools that you are proficient in using, nor your skillset. A portfolio centers around outlining your user-centered design process and how the problem was solved.
You also have to be explicit about your skills and the process you use to find solutions. Also, you need to be mindful to present only the necessary information. A senior UX designer portfolio may have a lot of projects added, but only the most important ones are emphasized.
Here is what UX managers want to see:
- User research
- Research reports
- User flows
- Customer journey maps
- Final product
Basically, you can only add the specific analytic tools you have used for the given projects.
So simply, if you go make a list and thick those off one by one, you can get a pretty good portfolio.
Here are some more pointers for creating the best UX portfolios in 2019:
- Use simple examples and visuals – they are much more effective than splashy pictures!
- Write clear and easy to read project summaries.
- Wireframes don’t really look that pretty, so you have to emphasize your structural abilities.
- If possible, provide links to live examples of your work.
- Add a few stakeholder testimonials.
- Conclude every project case study with what you have learned from it.
This concludes the portfolio part. It has to be considered very seriously, because, combined with the skill sets and technical abilities, it may just guarantee you a position in UX.
Now we’re going to discuss the hot topic – the salaries!
As you can see, a UX designer salary will greatly differ based on the surrounding circumstances. It will greatly depend on the area you live or where you wish to move for your job.
Speaking of moving, next up, specific places where to look for jobs.
User Experience Jobs by City
User experience is at its height now. More and more companies have started to invest in it.
The best place to find these types of positions remains the US as most job openings are listed there.
Here some of the most favorable places:
UX Designer Jobs in Los Angeles
LA is probably one of the best places that you can acquire a job in UX. It is not only the home of the entertainment industry but has an emerging tech industry. Besides the warm weather, Los Angeles offers the third-highest salary in the country and multiple other benefits for workers, like larger bonuses and flexible work schedules.
Average salary: $104,297
UX Designer Jobs in Seattle
Recently, Seattle has become one of the most important places to find tech jobs in the US. It makes sense as both Microsoft and Amazon call this city their home. As far as user experience opportunities go, there are multiple companies in the search for these positions.
Average salary: $145,000
UX Designer Jobs in NYC
Ah, the city that never sleeps, filled with history and diversity. It also offers many job opportunities and UX is one of them. The salaries aren’t as high, that’s true. But living in New York alone is perk by itself.
Average salary: $95,757
UX Designer Jobs in San Francisco
Everyone knows that the San Francisco Bay Area is the best place to find a tech-related job. Additionally, it hosts multiple companies and startups so there are a plethora of opportunities for potential employment.
Average salary: $108,269
UX Designer Jobs in Atlanta
Atlanta is shaping up to be the next big thing in the US. With the announcement that Amazon is targeting it as the location for its second headquarters, it became a desirable destination. This also sparked the development of UX job opportunities there.
Average salary: $88,272
You know what real estate agents say:
Location, location, location.
Before we conclude our article, there is one last thing that we need to talk about…
There are a few common misconceptions when it comes to UX and the position. Let’s disambiguate them really quickly:
What is UX Design?
This question does not come without having to explain the differences between UI and UX. The two terms often overlap and people get confused.
It is true that both have a close relationship with product design. However, the two processes are very much different. UI is how things look while UX is how things work. UI is the very product that needs to be delivered e, while UX is a process behind it. However, for the final product to be successful, the two processes have to be done in tandem.
What is a UX Designer?
After determining the difference between the terms, we need to talk about the differences between duties and roles. The aim of the UX designer is to ensure that the product is appealing to the user. They are responsible for creating paths that follow each other up logically. The role of a UI designer is to ensure that each page visually communicates the given path to the user.
What to Expect From a UX Designer?
One thing that you need to understand is that UX does not include visual design. UX designers are only designers by name, so don’t expect them to do the job of a graphic or a visual designer.
Their thing is creating something that is appealing and functional in the mind of the user. UX designers achieve that by analyzing various factors that will eventually determine the end product.
Visuals are something that UI designers do. Their duty includes taking relying on all the research and information given by a UX designer and deciding how to end product will look.
Does UX Design Require Coding?
A recurring question. Being able to code but coding as a requirement is an advantage but it’s not necessary at all.
However, if a person does have certain coding skills, it can help stand out among competitors.
What is a UX Designer Portfolio?
A UX designer’s portfolio is not the same as a UI one nor a visual designer’s portfolio. A UX portfolio will include all the projects worked on, user research, wireframing, user flows, user-testing, prototypes, etch. Don’t expect to see visual examples in this type of portfolio.
If you feel like you are being analyzed by an app next time you use it, don’t feel uncomfortable. Relax and enjoy it. That is exactly what UX designer jobs description is and it shows that they are doing a good job.
The aim is making everything appealing, interesting to browse, amusing to use and to provide users with a pleasant overall experience when using apps and sites.
There is nothing to fear as UX designers are modern psychologists. The job does require entering the users’ minds but not tampering with them.
If you find this interesting then UX designer jobs might just be the perfect career opportunity for you.
Creating an interaction design does not have to be difficult and you don’t have to be a real psychologist nor an architect to do it. You just need logical thinking, common sense and a little bit of hard work.
Hope you found all the info useful!
Now go on and bravely take the steps forward the magical world of UX design.
Q: What does a UX Designer do?
A: A UX designer’s role is to improve the end user’s main needs by producing an end product that will make them happy. They combine traditional human-computer interaction (HCI) design with an eye-catching appearance in order to improve all areas of user experience.
User experience design basically deals with the Why, What, and How of the product use.
Q: Are UX Designers in demand?
A: The hunger for UX designers is only growing. The development of technology and the advance of both computer devices and smartphones are the reason being that. There’s an obvious need for people who are able to make the apps and websites user-friendly, interesting to use, appealing, and generally useful.
Q: What is a UX Designer’s salary?
A: Generally speaking, the salary for UX designers depends on various factors. UX designer jobs entry level do not pay the same as senior-level ones. A person can start at a base salary of around $70,000 a year and advance to around $120,000 when having reached the top. The salary will be different depending on the general location and years of experience.
Q: How to become a UX Designer?
A: Becoming a user experience design intern is a great way to start as it will give you an insight into how everything works. It will also allow you to acquire the necessary skills and experience needed.
The rest is up to developing your skills and learning. Taking a course in UX may also expand your knowledge. The end goal has to be creating a suitable portfolio. All of this will eventually help you land your first job.
Q: What are the 3 most important skills in a UX Designer?
A: All UX designer jobs come with a certain skill set requirement. However, the most important ones have to be communication, empathy and user research. Technical skills information architecture, wireframing and prototyping are equally necessary for a good designer. Having those or being capable of doing them will allow you to do the job well and fulfill all the required tasks.