Few fields offer more growth opportunity than user experience (UX). User experience roles are considered to be some of the best jobs in America, according to CNN. Entering this promising industry requires the right training and skills to meet rising business demands.
Defining UX Design
UX describes all interactions a customer has with a company, its services, and its products, the Nielsen Norman Group explains. Designers who specialize in UX work to ensure all points of contact, from the opening of a product’s box to the layout of its digital interfaces, are easy and enjoyable to navigate. The UX skills that designers need are varied, stemming from areas such as graphic design, psychology, engineering, and marketing. UX designers must cultivate a wheelhouse of both applied and soft skills to excel.
Applied Skills for UX Designers
When students possess an applied skill, they have knowledge of a specific competency. This might, for example, mean gaining familiarity with UX tools such as Adobe Creative Suite.
UX designers can benefit from mastering the five applied skills listed below.
To effectively perform their jobs, UX designers must understand what their audiences want and how they view the world. This means mastering the ability to plan, conduct, and analyze findings from a variety of research methods, UXmatters explains. Aptitudes in user testing and analytical research are particularly helpful.
Information architecture involves organizing information in an understandable manner. Applicable to websites, apps, software, printed materials, and even physical spaces, information architecture may include systems like labeling, navigation, and search functions.
A wireframe is a blueprint for each screen of an interface. Its main purpose is to show how something works, not how it looks. Wireframing defines the elements that need to be present from page to page. It includes all the interface components that are needed for all possible interactions and is generally designed in gray scale, using boxes and lines.
Prototypes allow designers to test functionality. They help designers to ensure there is a match between a system and its users before construction on the final product begins. Prototypes allow designers to test both page functionality and overall navigation. As problems are identified, the UX designer may go through several iterations before landing on a design that meets both business and user goals. UX designers should have the ability to prototype quickly and effectively.
Because design is highly graphic in nature, UX designers need to be competent in visual language. Proficiency in visual communication includes an understanding of concepts like:
- Design theory
The UX designer skill set goes beyond applied skills, however. UX professionals also need soft skills for success.