how to become a great UX designer
Have you also noticed how great the demand is for good UX designers? And we are not just talking about the usual e-commerce players like bol.com and wehkamp.nl. It’s clear that government websites, services and even NASA have now also discovered the power of a good User Experience. How easy is it to get on board this booming market?
what does a UX designer do?
The terms User Experience and User Interface are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably, despite there being very clear differences. A UX designer is at the intersection of the look and feel of a website and its usability: does it look appealing, is the interaction pleasant and does it function as it should? The UI designer focuses mainly on the interface, meaning that it can be seen as part of UX. If the interface * is agreeable, this really increases the overall UX.
Don’t be confused by the ‘designer’ part of the job title: extensive knowledge of Photoshop or being able to draw beautifully is not a requirement for a good UX designer. All the more important is the ability to outline the path the user follows. To know how the user navigates the website and when and where to position a call-to-action. Make sure you can create a wireframe, perform A / B tests and correctly interpret the data behind the website as well as customer feedback. This way you always know what works best for any given website and it will allow you to keep improving and innovating.
UX in practice
In short, it is a broad field in which many disciplines intersect. Take a look at how the roles of a UX designer differ between these clients. To illustrate, we’ll compare the B2B, Service and E-tail branches:
B2b: within a complex IT landscape, the UX designer is the torch bearer of the first Shared Service centre for this internationally oriented and authentic club!
Service: How do you combine innovation in products and services into a novel proposition within a new segment? All products and all devices are within your domain.
E-tail: The customer journey in its full splendour. From warehouse to delivery. From check out and cash register to customer service. And you… take it all on. An optimal combination of pragmatics, smart and production is expected.
It’s easy to describe in broad strokes what a UX designer can or should be able to do, but the differences are countless when you really look at the content of the required skills and context. Let’s look at the common denominator. Simply because that’s the starting point; there’s much to be learned from there.
top characteristics of UX designer
Can anyone become a UX designer? Certainly. Can anyone become a great UX designer? Absolutely not. As with any profession, as a UX designer, there are certain characteristics you must possess in order to be truly successful. These are not things that can be learned.
- Being passionate about the job. Whether you are a UX designer or a chimney sweep, the key to your success lies in how passionate you are about your trade. How do you describe passion? ‘It’s not a job, it’s your calling’. When you’re passionate about something, staying on top of the latest developments in your field is never a chore. You research new technologies, you are aware of the latest research on the online behaviour of users and you know how to apply it. Additionally, it’s important that you proactively seek out the means to acquire knowledge. Read blogs and follow webinars and courses so that you always stay up to date.
- A large capacity for empathy. Chances are that you work for an employer or customer who offers a product or service that you personally have little affinity with. Being able to empathise with the user and their environment is crucial. Not only to provide the best UX, but also to champion the user’s experiences internally. This means being resilient to criticism is also part of the job. It’s likely that both users and internal stakeholders will have something to say about your work (after all, this is where it really becomes visible!), take it in stride and learn from it. Listen carefully to criticism, convert it into a concrete problem and facilitate solutions.
- Adaptive: the test of time is forcing UX to master multiple facets of the digital domain. Within this role, data and creation converge with increasing frequency as well as depth. With the agile way of working, speed and accuracy are expected from every discipline. As a UX designer, if you are able to look beyond your own purview to make small adjustments and come up with proposals, you are worth your weight in gold!
what other skills are needed?
Opinions can be divided, but to become a great UX designer, you should at least have basic knowledge of:
- HTML and CSS. Sometimes it can be useful if you are able to write a simple program yourself so you can test certain features. To do so, you need basic knowledge of HTML. It will also help you to gain insight into the feasibility of certain ideas and make consulting with the web designer a lot easier.
- Adobe Creative Suite. Knowing your way around Photoshop and InDesign doesn’t make you a UX designer, but if you want to be a good UX designer, knowledge of the creative programs does help. Making quick adjustments to photos and images to make them more appealing to your target group, is a valuable skill to have. Provided you know your target group well, of course.
- Learn from others. If UX design is your calling, you see everything from that perspective. You might very well end up on a website with a noticeably good UX set-up. Try to find out how this feeling affects you and implement it in your own projects. A/B testing can pinpoint which elements and techniques are the most effective, allowing you to implement continuous improvements.
your new career?
If you’re looking to begin a career as a UX designer, you’ve got to be prepared to give it your all. Simply adopting the title because there’s a high demand is not sustainable in the long run. You must show that you live and breathe UX, for example by creating an interactive resume .
There will always be people who enjoy tweaking the HTML and creating visually appealing posters, but your role is to entice the user to perform certain actions. Be clear about what your goals are, experiment with different methodologies to achieve them and refine them as you go along. Stay sharp and aim for the best result.
Looking to become a UX designer and want to know what employers value? What skills are they recruiting for and what gives you the best chance? Make an appointment with BrandPit! We know the market and can prepare you for this new challenge!
Click here for our current vacancies.