UX (user experience) designers measure and optimize applications (usually web based) to improve ease of use (usability), and create the best user experience by exploring many different approaches to solve end-users’ problems.
UX designers are involved in designing sites and software for specific target groups and end users. The purpose of your role is to ensure that the ‘user experience’ for individuals using websites or applications is as efficient as possible and makes sense to people, who are often from non-technical backgrounds.
In practice this means using a range of specialist software tools to create applications and sites that are usable, easy to navigate, aesthetically appealing and engaging, to the extent that the user wishes to repeat the experience by re-visiting the website.
A similar role is that of a UI (user interface) designer. However, UI designers focus more on designing the presentation and interactivity of a product. Some roles combine both UX and UI.
Employers of UX Designers
- Financial services organizations
- Manufacturing companies
- Educational institutions
- Specialist software development companies
- Consulting firms
- Telecommunications companies
- Public sector organizations
- Self-employment is also an option for UX designers
- considering existing applications and evaluating their UX (user experience) effectiveness
- considering the human-computer interaction (HCI) element of a design
- using online tools, such as screen readers, to aid their research
- running user testing of applications, software and websites
- defining interaction models, user task flows, and UI (user interface) specifications
- communicating scenarios (hypothetical users), end-to-end experiences, interaction models, and screen designs to other people working on a product
- working with creative directors and visual designers to incorporate a visual or brand identity into the finished product
- developing and maintaining design wire-frames (basic mock-ups of applications) and specifications
You will usually need a degree, as well as a keen interest in web and applications design. Graduates entering this work come from a range of disciplines including:
- computer science
- digital design /media
- digital marketing
- graphic design
- media technology.
To enter the profession without a degree, you could start out in another digital design role and specialize in UX when you have built up a portfolio of experience.
- Artistic eye for design
- Ability to think creatively
- Mathematical aptitude and strong problem-solving skills
- Excellent IT and programming skills
- Excellent organizational, time and project management skills
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- An understanding of the latest trends and their role in a commercial environment
- Self-development skills to keep up to date with fast-changing trends
- Professional approach to time, costs and deadlines