User experience design is becoming more and more popular, and there is a massive demand in the industry for such designers. If you want to pursue your career as a UX designer, then you have first to make sure that you possess the essential skills that a recruiter might look in you. If you are serious about it, then first you have to believe that no serious UX designer is a ‘Jack of all trades.’ You have to be a master in one.
However, to master the art of UX design and to get hold of an excellent UX job, there are a number of specific skills sets within UX design that you must have to achieve success. This involves everything from:
- Knowing how to use a prototyping tool to
- Understanding the nuances in behavioral psychology.
This is a diverse industry that may need your specialization in different competencies. If you are just getting started out in UX design here is what you should do for a great start:
- UX research: You will need to ramp up your skills in UX research on everything from computer science to cognitive psychology if you want to be considered seriously.
- Collaboration: You must work in different areas of the designing process by collaborating with others so that you know about coding, managing projects, marketing, and understand products.
Research can only take you far, but proper collaboration will take you higher up in the success ladder.
Soft skills required
Apart from your hard skills, a user experience recruitment agency will also want you to possess some soft skills as well. These skills are actually a combination of the personal attributes of a UX designer and communication and social skills.
Your soft skills will help you to make the best and most impact when you have to work on cross-functional products with cross-teams.
Some of the most critical soft skills that a recruiter will look in you are:
- Communication skills: It can be written, verbal, or visual, but should be articulate. You must also be a good listener.
- Empathy: This will help you to advocate for the users, understand their pain points, goals, and others to ensure better design decisions and results.
- Organization: This will help you and your team to deal with a large number of design deliverables and documents such as the design briefs, research findings, wireframes, prototypes, interview results, and design specifications.
These skills are, however, very hard to identify and more so to measure as compared to your hard or technical skills. However, the importance of soft skills cannot be overlooked in such a workplace.
Wireframing and UX writing
It is your wireframing and UI prototyping skills that will help you to convince your clients, users, and recruiters about your UX acumen. These skills in you will help your employers to understand:
- The critical functionality of your design
- The idea of the direction your design may be going and
- The impact on investment as well.
They can test the assumptions in your user research and validate these with consequent user testing. Most importantly, it will allow them to identify the mistakes, if any, to prevent things from going south and spend a whole lot of money unnecessarily to fix them with expensive coding.
UX writing is another skill required in a UX designer. Proper UX writing will ensure better and brilliant user experiences. You must:
- Know those well-crafted words to use
- Have adequate knowledge of microcopy along with its hacks and tricks
- Know about the information architecture
- Determine the order in which your content will be displayed and
- Know how to create a copy that will speak to the users.
These skills will allow you to judge the different mental models and, at the same time, help you to understand the product better.
Software development skill
You must know a lot about both agile and lean software in order to be a better UX designer and to deal with any challenges that are commonly associated with a UX job. With these skills, you will be a design facilitator rather than a mere UX designer enabling you to conduct quick and rapid research as and when required to brace up for the new agile setting. You should also look for masters in product design. The varied skills needed for this aspect are:
- User Advocacy: This will help you to focus on the user and their needs, expectations, perception, and behavior. You will be able to get feedback about their likes or dislikes and tackle the root cause of any issues effectively.
- Participatory Design: This will open up your project to several interested and concerned parties who play an active and essential role in the design process.
- Persuasion: Persuasive design is now required more than designing an app that is good to view and easy to use. You must be skilled in using psychological techniques such as reciprocity, social proofing, and scarcity so that users perform the desired action.
- Business Skills: This will help you to attend tactical business meetings, write business cases, and deliver presentations.
- Revising Skills: This will help you to grow and mature as a UX designer through proper communication and testing and gaining feedback.
- Crowd-Sourced Design: To leverage participatory design, you must know how to use the internet to collect and collate inputs and ideas through usability testing.
Lastly, responsive design skill is a must for every success-crazy UX designer. This will help you to create modular designs and deal with the intricate technicalities of app development, such as CSS media queries and breakpoints.
Improve your UX design skills
If you have these skills in you, you are fit for the UX industry. However, if you want to sustain in this highly competitive industry, you must continually improve the skills you possess. There are several options available that will help you to gain an edge in the industry, such as:
- Considering an online degree program
- Following UX experts and most importantly
- Read a lot.
Also, build and work with a network of other UX professionals to find out better opportunities.
We hope the information in this article will help you. Stay tuned to our Programming section to get regular updates.