UX designers play an important role in the development of new products. It’s an in-demand job in the tech space and can be highly rewarding for the right candidate. To be successful, you’ll need to be a blend of creativity paired with excellent technical and social skills.
If you think you have what it takes to design products that create a meaningful user experience, read on. We’ll look at several popular UX design roles, identify the skills required to excel, and finally go over the education options available.
Let’s start by examining UX design in more detail.
What is UX Design?
UX (or User Experience) design is the process of designing digital products with the sole purpose of providing end-users with a meaningful experience.
Often people confuse the terms UX and UI (User Interface) design. However, these are two distinct roles. UI focuses on the look and feel of a product while UX is about the entire experience. It covers all aspects including research, design, usability, accessibility, function, and branding.
What Does a UX Designer Do?
The UX design process starts with research. UX designers must fully understand what customers think about a certain product. They also research competing products and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
Once they understand consumer opinion, UX designers analyze their findings and identify friction points. They come up with ideas on how they can deal with any negative feedback.
Finally, UX designers communicate their solutions to company stakeholders and oversee the development process. Their aim is to create new products or improve the user experience of existing ones.
How to Become a UX Designer in 4 Steps
If you’re an aspiring designer with a passion for UX, you can get started in this field by following these 4 steps:
Step 1: Choose A Specialization
You’ve probably already heard of several job titles like UX designer, interaction designer, and visual designer. Let’s start by learning about each of these specializations. By learning about each role you’ll have a better understanding of your future career direction.
UX Designer: The UX designer position is a general role involved in all phases of UX design. From understanding user needs and designing solutions to prototyping and testing.
Visual Designer: This is a specialist role where the designer only works on the prototype phase of the design process. A visual designer’s sole responsibility is to produce pixel-perfect prototypes.
Motion Designer: Unlike a visual designer who’s responsible for static elements, a motion designer creates animations. They’re responsible for the transition effects that occur when a user touches the screen.
UX Researcher: This job title is usually found in large companies. A UX researcher creates surveys, questionnaires, and conducts interviews. As part of their job they analyze data and produce useful insights that are communicated to other teams.
Content Strategist: This specialized role is responsible for the architecture of content. They look at the bigger picture of how the content flows. They craft the user’s journey by developing the information architecture and task flow.
If you’re a beginner starting out in UX, it’s recommended to apply for a general role at first. This will provide you with experience in several different areas of UX. After a couple of years, you’ll be better equipped to choose the specialization that appeals to you.
Step 2: Understand the Skills Needed to Become a UX Designer
You’ll need both technical and soft skills to make it as a UX designer. Here are some of the specific abilities you should hone in order to launch a successful career.
Research: It’s one of the most crucial skills of a UX professional. Successful designers need insight into user opinion. This knowledge doesn’t come from intuition. It requires a structured approach and involves planning and conducting research, together with the analysis of data.
Collaboration: The UX design process requires more than just one person. It takes the collaboration of an entire team. To make it in this field you’ll need strong teamwork skills and have the ability to work with a range of different professionals.
Information Architecture: This is all about organizing information in a manner that is easily understood. It includes the structural design of shared information environments like websites, apps, and online resources.
Wireframing and Prototyping: Both these skills are critical for designers to convince users about their ideas. Wireframing is a blueprint of how things work. It demonstrates the key elements that will be used in the interface. Prototyping allows designers to test functionality before building the product. A UX designer usually creates several iterations of the prototype before settling on the final design.
Visual Communication: UX design relies heavily on visual elements. So it’s no surprise that UX designers must be competent in visual communication. It consists of design theory, color, typography, layout, icons, and images.
Inquisitive: A UX designer should be intrigued by what goes through a user’s mind. This helps them ask the right questions to create intuitive designs.
UX Writing: When a product is used, any messages must be clear and concise. UX writing is an important skill required to guide the user and avoid ambiguity.
Empathy: A big part of UX design is understanding and relating to user problems. By empathizing with the user you’ll be able to address friction points and create a better user experience.
Step 3: How to Learn UX Designer Skills
UX designers come from many different backgrounds and there’s no set way to become a UX professional. Different learning approaches will suit different people and each have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a list of the education options available:
Teach Yourself: One way to get started is to teach yourself. There are many free resources available online. You can study UX blogs, join UX communities, and subscribe to UX design YouTube channels. You might also be interested in reading UX design books for a more detailed insight into this field.
Bear in mind that free online courses may lack structure and some are not completely up-to-date. Self-learning also doesn’t provide you with experience working in teams, which many employers want to see.
Get a Degree: While a degree isn’t necessary for a career in UX, they can help you get your foot in the door. Most design-based bachelor’s degrees are a good option. You can also opt for a master’s degree if you’re looking to specialize in a particular area.
Enroll in a Bootcamp: UX bootcamps are intensive online learning programs designed to help you land a UX job, fast. They’re put together by experienced professionals from the UX space and focus only on the skills you actually need. Unlike a degree, they can be completed within months, at a fraction of the cost.
Enroll in our UX/UI bootcamp today to benefit from one-on-one mentoring and support from our expert team. We’ll also help you put together a professional portfolio and provide interview prep to help you fast-track your UX career.
Become an Intern: Internships and apprenticeships are extremely valuable. They allow you to work alongside industry experts and gain experience in the field. You’ll start off with a small salary, but the knowledge you learn will more than make up for it.
Step 4: Familiarize Yourself with the UX Career Path
A UX designer job provides you with the scope to develop your career in any direction you want. There are two ways to go about it. One is to advance down the technical path, and the other is to take the managerial path.
For aspiring UX designers more interested in a managerial role, you’ll also be able to progress up the career ladder and lead large teams. Starting with a UX manager, onto a UX director and finally the VP of user experience.
No matter where your interests lie, the UX career path allows you to follow your passion and choose the direction that best suits you.
A Bright Future in UX Design Awaits
If you’re creative and enjoy developing innovative solutions, a future in UX design is a great choice. You can expect a handsome compensation package, job security, and excellent job prospects. There’s also a wide range of roles available in the space to provide you with career flexibility.
To become a UX designer, you’ll need several specialized skills on both the technical and social side. Knowledge of the latest prototyping tools, UX techniques, and coding languages can help. Along with strong communication, presentation, and organization skills.
You can learn and develop these skills through self-teaching, degrees, bootcamps, or internships. The approach you decide to choose will depend on your individual circumstances. Perhaps a combination of different learning paths is the best option. If you have any questions why not schedule a call with our training team. We’ll be happy to provide you with further information on the bootcamps we offer.
Alternatively, if you have a thirst to learn more about careers in this field check out our UX/UI design blog.
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