What Does a UX Designer Do?

Updated on: June 2023 · 10 min read

A UX designer doing a project

How would you describe a UX designer? Is he or she someone who designs websites? Or does he or she design apps and games?

If you’ve ever wondered what UX (User Experience) Design really means, then you’re not alone. The field has grown steadily over the years and now requires professionals who can create user-friendly interfaces using modern tools.



User experience is defined as the way a person feels when interacting with something. In other words, it’s the overall feeling they get from using a particular piece of software or device. The term was coined back in 1979 by Donald Norman. He said that user experience is how well a company has designed its product to meet the needs of the customer.

An effective UX design should always take into account the user's point of view. This means that companies must start thinking about their consumers before designing anything. If done properly, users will love your product and continue using it because they will want to spend time on it.

So What Exactly UX Design Is?

User experience design is the process of designing websites, apps, and other digital experiences for users. The goal of UX designers is to create interfaces that provide meaningful information and support intuitive interaction. UX designers work closely with product managers and developers to ensure that user needs are met while also considering the business objectives of the company.

What Is a UX Designer?

A user experience designer creates websites, mobile apps, and other digital experiences that are easy for users to navigate and understand. They focus on how the website looks and feels, rather than just what it says.

The job of a UX designer includes understanding what the user wants from the product or service, how they use the product or service, and how they feel about using it. From these insights, the UX designer creates wireframes, prototypes, personas, and other visual representations of the design.

Their goal is to create a positive user experience that makes customers want to come back again and again. Having a good user interface is important because it can increase your website’s conversions by up to 200%. Additionally, poor UX is the reason why 70% of customers abandon their purchases.

UX vs. UI Design

It can be easy to confuse the terms UX and UI design because they’re similar acronyms that both relate to improving user experience. However, they are two different processes.

What Does UI Design Mean?

The term "user interface" (or "UI design") refers to the process of developing and implementing the various parts of a product or service that the end user will interact with. This may take the form of visual design, such as sliders, buttons, or other forms of interactivity. UI designers focus on individual screens and features.

Is UX design the Same as UI Design?

While similar, UX and UI design does have some key distinctions. While UI design is concerned with the physical creation of a product's interface, UX design manages the user journey throughout their interaction with the product or service.

The first focuses on how the product works for the end user. The second looks at how well the application functions from a technical perspective. A website should be designed to work across all devices, but it doesn't mean the site needs to look great. Designers often focus too much on visual aesthetics and might forget about usability.

What Does a UI/UX Designer Do?

While a UX designer's day-to-day tasks might look quite different from one firm to the next (or even from one project to the next within the same organization), some everyday duties include:

  • Do user research. Research best practices, trends, and emerging technologies. They understand the user's actions, objectives, and requirements. Data may be gathered by UX teams in many ways, including interviewing users and other parties, the study of the competition, surveying users online, and forming groups. Quantitative and qualitative insights are derived from the data for use in policymaking.

  • Come up with an audience. Primarily, this involves figuring out your target audience and then building "personas" that accurately portray their characteristics and habits. Through the use of personas, various elements (a "typical day") may be created to illustrate the function of the product in the user's typical routine.

  • Personas example to guide decisions about user experience. These are fictional representations of typical end users. Figure out the information architecture of a digital product or the method of arranging information inside a digital product to instruct the user as they use it. You can use a website map or a bot that has some preprogrammed reactions that help users navigate your website.

  • Design wireframes and mockups. A user's path through a website or app, complete with user interface components like buttons and graphics, is shown in a wireframe. To simplify things, designers can use stand-ins to represent them.

  • Create prototypes based on research and insights gained during discovery sessions. The consumer should be able to try out the product's primary features. With today's prototyping software, designers may make videos of their creations to help customers learn how to utilize the features.

  • Testing in the real world. The first product version that meets the bare minimum criteria for release into the market is called a minimum viable product. Two types of product testing exist, structured and unstructured.

Key Technical Skills of a UX Designer

If you’re thinking about hiring an UX designer, you should make sure they have these skills.

1. User ResearchUser research is a must-have talent in UX design since it establishes the link between your product's focus on users, the market, and the company's goals. Comprehensive user identification, background research, product study of competitors, and other quantitative and qualitative research are all part of this skill set.

2. Information Architecture - UX designers need strong organizing abilities to prioritize large, heterogeneous data sets. After that, you may shape the data into a structure that makes the website/product easier to use. This post will teach you everything about UX information architecture and how to create one.

3. Wireframing - User experience product designers start by creating wireframes, essentially blueprints of the website's interface. These may range from simple, early-stage drawings to more complex, finalized mobile apps. This is a crucial talent in UX design utilized through the process to see any problems that may arise in the user interface.

4. Prototyping and Interaction Design - Rapid prototyping allows you to try out the system's functionality and navigation before developing the final product, delivering a seamless experience for the end user. UX designers make prototypes of websites at various stages, including early ones for basic usability testing and advanced ones for in-depth user experience exploration. This is meant by "interaction design," or the study of how a product's users engage with it.

5. Visual Communication - Designers adept in visual communication can convey information visually to end users by the cues they pick up.

  • It's important to employ layout design to show content correctly both digitally and in print.

  • Color is a critical tool to emphasize, aid in recognition, facilitate organization and evoke a response.

  • Moving or still, typography lays up text to gain an emotional response from the reader.

  • Icons are used for instantaneous symbolism, organizing, heightened engagement, and visual impact.

  • Images help the user understand what your website is about at a glance.

The truth is that no two days in the life of a user experience designer are the same. The typical day varies widely depending on the company's industry, the size of the UX team, the designer's specific role, and several other variables.

Essential Soft Skills a UX Designer Needs

UX designers also need soft skills in addition to design skills, some of which include:

  • Active listening - listening to understand the people you're designing for is key to a product designer.

  • Collaboration and teamwork - UX designers work with many people and are key team members. Being able to collaborate well and be a great team player is essential.

  • Ability to tell a story - Design can tell stories, and this is a soft skill that is frequently overlooked.

  • Being highly organized - Whenever a project starts, they're many moving parts. A UX designer must be organized enough to be on top of them.

  • Software proficiency/adaptability - Long gone are the days when being able to use Photoshop and other Adobe tools was the thing needed to excel in a UX designer job. Now many prototyping tools exist, like Figma, Adobe XD and Sketch, and a great Ui/UX designer should be able to use all of them.

UX Designer Tasks and Responsibilities

Any of the following might be part of a UX designer's daily routine, depending on where they are in the UX design process:

  • Connecting with key stakeholders to discuss the company's direction and plans

  • Creating a user experience strategy that serves the company's larger objectives

  • Organizing and leading user studies or requesting such studies to be done

  • Conducting research into user experience and synthesizing results into valuable, actionable insights

  • Holding workshops (for example, an ideation session)

  • Making deliverables like user personas, empathy maps, user flows, and UX documentation

  • Building prototypes, models, and wireframes

  • Several types of user testing (including A/B testing, tree testing, and usability testing) ensure that designs work as intended.

  • Collaborating with UI designers and developers to settle on the product's ultimate look, feel, and behavior. Developing and maintaining a style guide to create conventions and standards that should be adhered to throughout all UX projects.

Not all of a UX designer's duties can be enumerated in a single sentence. Different criteria determine the specific activities and responsibilities carried out by a UX designer.

UX Designer Salary

A UX Designer’s compensation expectations should rise in tandem with your level of expertise and competence, as is the case in any field. Glassdoor and Indeed have been used to compile this averaged list of salaries for various positions in the United States.

  • UX Design Intern: $60,864

  • Junior UX Designer: $100,334

  • UX Designer: $106,896

  • Senior UX Designer: $139,001

  • Senior UX Design Manager: $159,856

Glassdoor found that user experience design is the sixth-best entry-level career in terms of salary. This means that not only is compensation for UX designers quite attractive, but the demand for them is also very strong.

What Is the Role of a UX Designer within a Company?

At Startups

Since startups often have small teams and few resources, UXers are generally tasked with managing the whole lifecycle of a project.

They are in charge of directing the UX strategy and sometimes managing projects and products. Furthermore, they may frequently communicate with the company's founders and manager to set goals, assign resources, and define the product's features.

At Mid-Sized Companies

UX designers at medium-sized businesses are often "T-shaped," meaning they have both a broad base of knowledge and a more in-depth understanding of a specific subset of UX .

Depending on the situation, they can contribute to a wide variety of tasks while bringing fresh viewpoints to the table.

At Larger Companies

Specialist jobs and separate teams are expected in a UX design department at a big company. When working on many projects, designers often specialize in just one stage of the user experience design process.

Designers of varying degrees of experience often work in teams at large firms, creating greater opportunities for mentoring.

UX Design Roles Based on Career Stage

Let's take a look at how the duties and areas of expertise of a designer shift with their level of experience.

Entry-Level UX Designer

Beginner designers frequently start off doing a little of everything. Helping more experienced designers and junior UX specialists carry out assignments that have been assigned to them or are outlined in some way.

Designers at the entry-level might benefit from having seasoned professionals who can act as mentors as they gain experience on their team.

Mid-Level UX Designer

Many UX professionals at the mid-level have honed their skills in designing for a specific market or category of products. Mid-level designers look at design choices more broadly: the level of features or the whole project.

Mid-level designers are experts in design processes and technologies and take on more responsibility for User Experience (UX) initiatives.

Senior-Level UX Designer

Senior designers typically have around six years of experience or more and see projects from a broad, conceptual perspective. These experts realize that modifying any part of a system impacts the whole system.

Business models, product design, and human behavior are all intertwined in the eyes of senior designers, who consider designing for different devices and platforms as minor contextual changes.

The Takeaway

UX design is becoming more critical to small enterprises. The pace at which technology evolves makes it challenging for any organization to keep up with the times. Selecting the most competent UX designer is critical for ensuring product success and happy users.

We expect to see more use of AI, AR, and VR in UX design in the future. Companies may now provide immersive VR experiences thanks to UX design.

Adding a UX designer to your team may assist in developing AI goods that can foresee and meet the requirements of your clientele. The ROI on good UX is 9,900%, so it’s a worthwhile investment. One such product might suggest when a customer should restock a specific item.

As time goes on and new technologies emerge, the specific responsibilities of UX designers will shift. However, customer-centric design will continue to be essential in the foreseeable future.