“UX” stands for “User Experience”, and this job function is becoming more important than ever before. Google Trends shows a steady increase in web searches for “UX designer” and "user experience designer" from about 2010 onwards, with interest in the field continuing to grow over time. The profession was also listed by Glassdoor as one of the best jobs in America for 2020. But what exactly is a UX designer? In sum, a UX designer’s job is to make products easy to use. They do this by speaking with users, conducting research, and creating design prototypes (among other things). In theory, UX methods can be applied to any product, from a can opener to the door to a building. But in practice, “UX” is often used to talk about digital products. You may be wondering what the difference is between a “UX Designer” and a “UI Designer”. While these terms are often used interchangeably, “UI” refers to a digital “User Interface”, so UI designers concentrate mainly on digital prod
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a UX Designer?
The Nielsen Norman Group, founded by UX pioneers Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman, is a leading voice in the UX and interaction design today. According to them, UX designers may have a wide range of responsibilities. Some of these include:
UX designers often create product prototypes or website wireframes (an outline of a prospective webpage). A UX designer should have strong design skills and be familiar with a variety of software packages.
Some UX designer roles also include research responsibilities. UX research involves testing products and gathering user feedback. Common methods for usability testing and research include surveys, interviews, focus groups, eye-tracking studies, and exercises like card sorting.
Creating Design Documentation and Visuals
Another common responsibility for UX designers is to create visualizations that help companies better understand user needs. Some examples are user journey maps and personas. These visual tools can be used to inform product development and marketing.
What Are the Skills Needed to Be a UX Designer?
UX designers need a variety of skills to succeed in a UX design role. These include both hard skills (i.e. competence with specific technologies), and soft skills (general business and communication abilities).
Some technical skills UX designers might need are:
- Graphic design, mockup, and coding skills
- Knowledge of design/ wireframing/prototyping software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Figma, and others
- Ability to collaborate with front-end, back-end developers, and product managers
- Ability to conduct user testing and analyze user needs
Some soft skills UX designers might need are:
- Communication and problem-solving skills
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Collaborative design process
- The ability to take criticism with design solutions
- Motivation to meet business goals
What Are the Most Popular Skills Needed by a UX Designer?
The specific skills a UX designer will need depends on the type of design role they are taking on. To figure out what the most popular skills needed by a UX designer are, we had a look at job postings for UX designers worldwide. Here are some of the skills that were most frequently mentioned:
- Software: Sketch, Adobe Creative Suite, InVision
- Soft skills: Communication, passion for design, understanding of UI design and UX best practices
How Are UX Designers Part of the Product and Design Teams?
Of course, UX designers don’t work in a vacuum—they make up part of a greater whole. If you’re hiring a UX designer for the first time, you may be wondering where they belong on your org chart. The answer is… it depends. Some companies hire a standalone UX designer or consultant, while others have a designated UX design team with junior and senior members. Still, others will integrate UX designers into an existing product or development team. What’s right for your business will depend on your budget, expectations, and current structure.
UX Designer Job Description Template
Once you decide to hire a UX designer, you may be wondering what a UX designer job description looks like. For your convenience, we’ve created a fictional job description below. Please copy and customize it for your own business needs.
Here at (Company), we’re proud to have created a number of award-winning software products, such as (product), (product), (product), and (product). These industry-leading solutions allow our customers to (results). Our products support (X amount of) users worldwide.
An important part of our company culture is (X). Our office is located in (X, or remote), and we offer perks such as (X, Y, and Z).
We are searching for a proactive and innovative UX Designer to join our team at (Company). In this role, you’ll develop and execute a design vision for our (X product). You will have the opportunity to take complete charge of the creative process, and shape the user’s experience throughout their journey.
You’ll be joining a focused and passionate UX team, with lots of opportunities to grow and learn. You’ll report directly to our Head of UX, and will work closely with our developers and product managers.
- Conduct user research and A/B testing
- Use the insights gained from user research to guide product design
- Create wireframes, prototypes, and mockups for new products
- Identify and troubleshoot UX problems
- Organize work and present it to the product team, management, and other key stakeholders
- Add other relevant responsibilities here
Skills and Qualifications
- 3-5 years of experience working in the UX field, or equivalent
- A professional portfolio showing a variety of well-executed UX design work
- Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite, InVision, Sketch, (insert other relevant software)
- Knowledge of HTML, CSS (insert other relevant markup languages or tech skills)
- Experience in creating clear, concise, and actionable design documentation
- Understanding of UX research methods, including surveys, focus groups, and A/B testing
- The ability to balance UX concerns with business concerns
- The ability to self-direct work and meet deadlines
- Communication skills, and proficiency in working as part of a team
- Visual design skills, including a proven understanding of design fundamentals
- Education in digital design, UX design, or a related subject
- Add other skills and qualifications as needed