In today’s world there is still a high demand for UX designers. A profession that didn’t exist in Poland several years ago, now is a dream come true for many people. In this situation, specialists with different knowledge are trying to climb on the UX victory ladder. In this article I wanted to help you to review UX skills which (of course from the perspective of my few years’ experience) are the basis to work as a designer, be effective and happy about this job. So it will be helpful both for the employers and for those who want to be employed.
Desire to explore
Designing is not just about producing a final project. In the case of UX design, the first step to deliver a great solution is to understand users. That is why exploration is needed. The consciousness of this is the most important distinguishing feature of a good designer. UX designers should eagerly conduct user research, such as interviews, behavioral analysis. Exploration also covers a topic of conducting usability testing to assess whether a product meets user expectations and identifying areas or improvement. Good explorer should understand basic principles of psychology, such as perception, behavior, and preferences, to better anticipate user reactions. The final result of exploration will be identification of their problems, needs, goals, and expectations.
It is so important that the project team sometimes has a separate position for the UX researcher.
Design decisions are not just the subjective imagination of the designer. Good specialist should use analytical data and user feedback to make informed design decisions. UX designers create interactions – I have in mind workflows, navigation etc. rather than stunning visual animations. People who work in this position should use possessed data, filter through their knowledge and have the courage to… balance.
Balance between obeying the rules and inventing the new ones
You can read all the guidelines about good UI practices anytime but the extremely important thing is to be humble enough to follow some patterns and at the same time have an open mind enough to propose something new if you assume that it would fit better. Good UX designers provide effective, user-friendly solutions. The best practitioners know how to spice it up with a bit of innovation when needed.
Collaboration, presentation – all related characteristics enabling clearly communicating ideas, presenting projects, and justifying design decisions. These skills should be used in any relation – both with team members, such as PO, UI designers, developers but also with business side (e.g. investors). Communication skills will help you to build the bridge between business goals and respecting user needs to achieve balanced solutions.
One more treat related more with designing UI:
Sense of aesthetic
I decided to mention it here because this is something hard to learn. In my opinion you just need to be born with it, otherwise designing clear interfaces will not give you as much pleasure but it can be a really hard nut to crack. Of course there are also a lot of ready-made components, libraries and theoretical knowledge to possess and use when you design anything e.g. typography, color schemes. However, it is hard for me to believe that the daily work of a designer based on forged skills without intuition would be satisfying and leads to the increase of the project (and of the designer).
People who are trying to join the market sometimes are focused too much on tools, which in my opinion are not very important. You can always learn how to move in any tool (which are developed and changing with time by the way). At the end UX should be able to create interactions between the user and a product or service with a positive and effective experience, not to create fully clickable prototypes. So not prototyping, not knowing guidelines by heart and not relying on creativity. Of course it is part of UX designers’ work but if you want to become a treasure or find it, please be focused on the above things.
If you are wondering what a UX designer should do when working in Scrum, read the linked article.