The UX designer – it really does sound mysterious. Especially if you’re new to the IT field, but apparently, not only then. There are many people who work in IT and they react the same way when they hear that someone is a UX designer – by asking: so what is it that you actually do? Although it’s not entirely a new thing, you probably noticed that you’ve been hearing it more and more these days. You see job ads for UX designers or you have friends who decided to change their career path. There’s a high demand right now and it’s not so difficult to get a diploma if you’re genuinely interested in the topic; thanks to companies like Career Foundry, you can get a valuable degree quicker while gaining much-needed skills and experience on the way.
Do you wonder if you could become a UX designer? Or maybe you think your company could use one but you’re not sure? Or you’re simply curious what’s the fuss all about? You’ve come to the right place then.
What’s UX design?
The design is about how a product looks or appears to a customer. It used to be about the look of it – how it looks when you display it – but with the development of technology, we changed the way we’re thinking about products and design too. Creators and designers started to wonder about the experience of using a product – and what it should be. UX design is short of user experience design and that’s what UX designers focus on – how it feels to use something, especially in the digital world.
What does a UX designer do?
The job of a UX designer is to make the experience of using the product as easy, useful, enjoyable and satisfying as possible. What does that mean exactly? The responsibilities of a UX designer may be different in various companies or even depend on a specific project, but there are some general aspects that they focus on.
- Product research
That’s where every project should start and there’s already a role for a UX designer here. Thorough product research allows designers to gather all necessary information in order to create something useful without making any assumptions. It helps them learn how users behave, what they want and what they need but it also provides a company with information about the competition and industry standards. Research can be conducted through personal interviews, focus groups, online surveys or competitive analysis.
Thanks to the research, a UX designer is able to create a persona and scenarios, that is, a target user and their daily life to design a product that will meet their needs and fit into their routine. The process of information architecture consists of three stages: structuring, labelling and wireframing (an illustration of a final product).
That’s where a UX designer prepares the first version of a product, but there’s still room for changes, improvements, looking for errors and fixing them. When it’s done, a draft od a product is shared with the rest of a team, and then check if it functions well.
Designers may launch a test version of a product and observe the customers in order to see what kind of problems arise. Sometimes they decide to present people with several versions of a product to see which is the most useful. It’s not rare to ask users to take part in surveys and fill in questionnaires.
- Keeping an eye on a product
The work never really ends. Even when a product is finally officially released, designers continue to observe how users react – there will always be something to improve, not only because of arising problems but also because of the constant change in customers’ need.
What about the job?
Just like in the case of different professions, UX designers may specialize in various things, so their job titles can vary depending on their field of expertise.
UX designers are often called experience designers, interaction designers or information architects. Similarly to the role of an architect, they design the experience. In smaller companies, a UX designer will take care of the whole process, from the start to the very end. However, in the case of bigger businesses, responsibilities may be split; that’s how we can find job offers for positions like UX strategist, UX analyst, UX product manager or UX architect.
When it comes to UX designers who are more interested in the visual side of a product, they can become visual designers, UI designers, digital designers or UI artists.
In the field of research and usability, we have UX researchers and usability researchers. They focus solely on finding an idea for a product that would be useful for people.
It’s also possible to be a UX designer whose main task is coding, bringing the design into life, or a content strategy specialist (UX content strategist, UX copywriter).
Now you should know at least a little bit more about UX design and what a UX designer does for a living. As you can see, it’s a complex career path that can lead a person to many different directions. But it certainly has a very bright future.