The UX industry has been receiving lots of attention in recent times. This is evident in how UX design has maintained a spot in the top five tech skills for about four years now.
The reason is simple. There has been an increase in how tech and non-tech companies alike are rolling out digital products to solve human problems, and there is a great need for experts who can conduct user research and design these products with users' perspectives in view.
Thus, there is a higher demand for UX designers than before, and this is matched by an increase in the number of UX designers. So, it is not out of place to desire to be a UX designer. In fact, it is a wise decision. But, before you start out, it is important you understand what you are getting into and how to get there.
UX design has quite a lot of processes. It is such a multidisciplinary field that requires analytical and creative thinking. It is a field that will tax your mind and bring out creativity in you. That is because, as a UX designer you are a problem solver, and problem-solving requires critical and in-depth thinking.
This article highlights what it means to have a UX career, what the UX designer's role includes, how to start a career in UX design, the requirements, and the career options available in UX design. This will be a delightful read for you if UX design is your dream job.
What does it mean to have a UX career?
A career in UX design is about creating usable products as solutions to human problems. A UX designer does not just design products, but he factors in the needs, pain points, and expectations of users when designing the products.
Choosing UX as a career path implies that you are interested in solving problems. UX designers solve problems by first conducting user research to understand how the product will benefit users.
This involves asking questions to determine users' needs and aspirations and using the results from this research to create a product that will be of benefit to users. So, a UX design career implies serving as the intermediary between products and users. He initiates human-computer interaction in a most relatable way.
As a UX designer, you are responsible for making sure users have a good interaction with your products. So, you must consider what is best for users. Apart from considering the user in your design, it is your responsibility to make sure that the design aligns with the company's goals and objectives.
You might have a thousand ideas on how to make the product user-centric, but you must also consider the vision of the organization. What problem is the organization trying to solve How do they intend to solve it? These questions will help you determine your target audience and how to help them solve their problems with your product.
So, UX designers follow an iterative and creative process called the design thinking process, to produce solutions and ensure that they are creating a product that meets users' needs.
UX designers also have meetings with key business stakeholders to explain the market demand for the product and how the product seeks to meet this demand. Some organizations differentiate this role as the role of a product designer, but it all starts with understanding the UX design methodologies. Most product designers start with a UX designer role.
From this explanation, it is obvious that a UX designer has many functions, and only a proper knowledge of each of these functions can guarantee you have a successful career in UX design.
Have you read " UX online training"?
Functions of a UX Designer
A UX designer role could mean different things to different companies depending on the responsibilities they want the designer to take. However, there are general functions that a UX designer is expected to carry out based on the UX design process.
Let's look at these functions.
1. Conducting user research
The first step to creating a product that resonates with users' needs is to carry out research on those that will use your product. This is the first step in the UX design process.
User research will let you know the problems your design should address. This is especially important because often, you might be tempted to design based on your personal wants and choices, but that can be misleading, as you might end up creating a product that you love but doesn't solve users' problems.
Thus, conducting user research is a basic thing you should pay attention to in your quest to become a UX designer.
Though, as you make progress in UX design, you can specialize in conducting research alone, there are some organizations that separate this role from the other responsibilities of a UX designer. So, you can specialize later in your career as a UX researcher.
2. Creating user personas
After conducting extensive user research, the next thing is to create a persona that fits the results of your user research. A persona gives your design project focus on what to do. A persona explains the problem of the user and what they like to do.
For example, a persona can read like "Chris, a 35-year-old busy businessman who makes financial transactions almost every day. Chris finds it hard to go to the bank as he has different meetings to attend during the day."
This persona description already tells us that Chris would need a product that can allow him to make his financial transactions without having to visit the bank physically.
3. Drawing user flows
Another important function of the UX designer is drawing user flow for the user's engagement with the product. A user flow is a flowchart that describes a user's journey when using a product, from the first interaction with the product to when they start using it to solve problems.
So, a UX designer must have foresight on how users are likely to interact with the product. This is easy to do when you have done solid research on your users.
4. Information architecture
Information architecture is the arrangement of content across a website or product in a way that will be easier for the end user to navigate and know the steps to follow for each action. This is another aspect of UX design.
Though, this will require UX designers to work together with UI designers since they oversee designing the user interface of the product. So, it is best to work with them to know the interface design that will suit each content arrangement. In fact, collaborating with UI designers is still part of the UX design process.
Wireframes provide an outline of a screen or a page. They are usually a two-dimensional illustration of the layout of a page.
Wireframes are used in the initial stages of the product design process to determine the structure before the content and visual design are added.
6. Prototyping and User testing
A prototype is a cheap version of your product, created for the sole purpose of testing it with users. Prototypes range from simple versions like paper prototypes to high fidelity prototypes that users can interact with before the real product is developed.
Testing your product on users helps you detect any flaws with the product before the final design is launched. You can conduct a series of user testing before you finally get the design right.
7. Visual design
Visual design is concerned with the user interface of the product. It is primarily the role of UI designers, but UX designers can also add it to their skills.
The visual design includes choosing the color schemes, the theme, the icons, the button style, and the final imagery of the product.
Visual design interprets the logic of the design in a way that users can understand, it is mostly concerned with the visual aspects of the product (software, mobile apps, or websites).
Skills needed by a UX designer
UX design is a mix of soft skills and technical skills. The technical skills are already spelt out in explaining the functions of a UX designer, so you can easily relate to them if you have read the functions of a UX designer.
Some of the technical skills are UX research, prototyping, wireframing, information architecture, usability testing, visual design, etc.
Soft skills needed are communication, empathy, curiosity, analytical thinking, collaboration, open-mindedness, active listening etc.
As you make progress in the UX field, you are likely to start specializing in certain skills. These specializations can lead you to focus on one of the careers in UX design.
There are different career options in UX design, and this is because UX designers work cut across different companies and industries.
Some of these career options are UX researcher, information architect, UX manager, UX strategist.
How to learn UX design
You might be wondering if you need a background in design before learning UX design. Statistics have shown that quite a few UX practitioners did not have a design background before making the decision to become a UX designer.
You can learn UX design from scratch and get familiar with the basics within a few months.
There are a few ways to learn UX design
Attending a Bootcamp
Earn a college degree
Check the Gocreate USA bootcamp here
Is UX design a good career?
User experience design has maintained a top spot in one of the in-demand careers in the year 2022. Hiring managers said they have recorded an increase in the number of UX designers they have hired in the past three years.
Also, about 700 UX designers gave a 5.4 rating on job satisfaction when asked if they love their job. There is satisfaction that comes with providing solutions for people. More so, As the demand for UX designers increases, the average UX designer salary also keeps increasing. UX design is rated as one of the careers with a high remuneration.
So, if you are considering a career change or are about to start out in the career world, UX design is a good consideration.
Becoming a UX designer is about considering what a user's experience will be when they interact with a product. So, a lot of thinking goes into the design process.
Starting a UX design career is easier when you have someone to guide you. You can get this by joining a community of UX designers or attending a Bootcamp where you will have access to professionals.
Check the Brave Achievers Gocreate website for opportunities for training and mentorship