A UX designer is one of the most in-demand careers in the creative industry right now. If you want to enter this field, you should focus on developing these fundamental skills that every UX designer should have.
To design for User Experience is to consider the comfort and the ability of a product to maintain customers and audiences. UX makes users feel comfortable about a website, a web service, and eCommerce shop, or a mobile app. Thus, UX designers need to have a combination of technical, analytical and soft skills like empathy and kindness.
Skills Every UX Designer Must Have
– Applied Skills
Applied skills refer to knowledge of a specific competency. For UX design, this means gaining familiarity with UX tools such as Adobe Creative Suite.
UX designer skills that designers can benefit from mastering a few applied skills like Research, Information Architecture, Wireframing, Prototyping and Visual Communication.
Since user experience design requires a lot of credible information, knowing how to effectively conduct research is a very important skill for UX designers to have. They need to be able to plan and conduct several user surveys, and then analyse the data into useful findings using a variety of different research methods. Thus having a knowledge and aptitude in user testing and analytical research are particularly useful for a UX designer to have. While a formal course is not required, stay up to date with new research methodologies and be tuned into what users want from a product.
2. Information Architecture
Being skilled in Information Architecture means to be able to organise large amounts of information in a way that can be easily understood. This is applied to websites, apps, software, printed materials and even physical spaces. This skill includes developing processes and systems like labelling, navigation and search functions.
A wireframe refers to a blueprint for each screen of an interface. The main purpose of a wireframe is to demonstrate to other stakeholders how something works. It defines all the different elements that need to be present on every page. All UX designers should be technically adept in creating wireframes.
Prototypes are a way by which designers can test how functional their product is from the user’s point of view. This ensures that before organisations spend lots of money on building the final product, designers can test page functionality and overall navigation. As they identify problems, the designers can make iterations to find a design that meets both business and user goals. For this reason, prototyping is an essential skill for any UX designer that is also based in research.
5. Visual Communication
A competency in design is highly important to be a UX designer. This includes a thorough understanding of visual design and design software and concepts like layout, colour, typography, icons, images and design theory. A formal training in these would be better but these can also be self taught.
– Soft Skills
Good UX design cannot be achieved in isolation. A UX Designer needs to be able to incorporate ideas of developers, clients, and other team members. Healthy ways of collaboration like being able to effectively give and receive feedback, explore solutions and incorporate the expertise and needs of everyone involved is the best way to create the best products possible. Working with a team is essential, especially in big projects. Collaborating ensures that you get different perspectives and learn from different skillsets that other team members may have.
Having a curious mind leads to asking insightful questions, active listening and engaging more deeply with problems. Since UI/UX design is a constantly evolving field, developing curiosity can be helpful to stay up to date with the latest UI/UX trends and news in the field of User Experience.
UX design seeks to empathise with the user and assume the role of the user and the client. Designers need to be able to visualise the structure of web or app pages and imagine the possible challenges that users may encounter in the future. As User Experience emphasises a positive customer experience, UX designers should have a deep understanding of their end customers and take the time and inclination to learn about people.
Designers need to be able to convey product ideas, explain their thought process behind a design and also work with larger teams. This requires a strong communication skill and an element of storytelling. Effective communication skills help designers create, collaborate, adapt and improve products and systems with ease.
How Can Designers Develop These Skills?
There are many ways to learn UX design and develop these fundamental skills required for good UX design. These include an online or in person degree program. This gives you an edge over other UX designers. Online degree programs provide you with groundwork to base your career on. The digital format of online programs offers invaluable hands-on training. Earning higher education credentials also provides a boost in your job search. If you are seriously considering UX design, then consider a long term program.
Another way to learn UI UX design is to read blogs and educate yourself by following UX experts like UX Matters, UX Magazine and blogs by the Nielsen Norman Group.