How To Become A UX Designer (With Duties And Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 December 2022

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

User experience (UX) designers focus on various aspects of product development, including design, usability, function, branding and marketing strategies. They consider the requirements and preferences of their target audience and create a website or application accordingly. Knowing the job duties, skills and steps required to become a UX designer can help you decide if this career is right for you. In this article, we discuss how to become a UX designer, outline their job duties and discuss what skills can help you succeed in this profession.

What Is A UX Designer?

UX designers are professionals who manage the entire process of designing a user-friendly experience for end-users on websites, applications and other digital experiences. They manage all the visual elements, interactive features, information architecture, usability and the overall interface between people and the computer or digital platform they use. These designers create products by keeping the product's consumption and the entire product cycle in mind. They develop usable products while focusing on other essential aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency and interest.

UX designers focus on the why, what and how of a product's use across the consumer spectrum. The why includes the users' motivation for adopting a product, what addresses the things they can do with that product and the how refers to the product's functional design in a user-accessible way. UX designers come from various backgrounds, including visual design, psychology, programming and interaction design. While these professionals have many responsibilities, they are typically responsible for user research, developing personas, designing wireframes, interactive prototypes and testing designs. Specific duties vary with organisations, but they consider user requirements throughout the development process.

Related: What Does A UI/UX Designer Do? (With Salary And Skills)

How To Become A UX Designer?

Follow these steps to know how to become a UX designer:

1. Do your research

Before starting a career in UX design, consider researching this domain and its history to familiarise yourself with the operations of UX design. This step can help you identify your specific area of interest in this field that you can then learn and improvise. Understanding the role of UX design in various industries and the duties of UX designers can enable you to learn about the typical work description of these professionals. Once you perform thorough research and analysis, you can better reflect on your skills and experiences to determine how they fit within the job role.

2. Learn the fundamentals

UX design is a vast domain. Consider learning the fundamentals of UX design, including the key elements, such as behaviour, strategy, usability and validation. You can enhance your skill set and knowledge of basic UX design by enrolling in online courses or certificate programmes. As an aspiring UX designer, you may require various technical skills such as user research and strategy, wireframing and prototyping, user interface and responsive web design. Also, proficiency in soft skills like project management, collaboration and interpersonal skills can enable you to perform your job efficiently.

Related: What Is A UI Developer And How To Become One In 3 Steps

3. Earn a formal education

Earning a formal education through a UX design degree course or a certificate programme is a great way to develop practical and learning skills. These skills can prepare you for the job market and ensure a foundational educational background to support your profession. A formal degree or training is not a prerequisite for most UX designing jobs, but it can enhance your prospects of getting a job in your preferred industry. Pursuing a degree or certificate programme can also introduce you to mentors who can guide and support you throughout your career.

4. Learn essential design tools

A UX designer's job requires thorough understanding and compatibility in using the essential design tools to predict a user's behaviour and analyse a product's journey. While your formal education may have introduced you to these crucial design tools, consider learning about these tools and practicing using mock prototypes. This practice can ensure that you know how to use these tools in the workplace that can positively influence your chances of getting hired. UX designers use various tools to design the user experience, such as Sketch, Illustrator or Adobe XD.

Related: 12 Popular Designer Tools You Can Use: A Comprehensive Guide

5. Work on projects

Start working on your projects, either as a freelance UX designer or under the guidance of your mentors. Executing your tasks can make you confident of your skills and help you develop a stellar portfolio to showcase to prospective employers. You can also look for volunteer work opportunities in this domain to help enhance your resume while working on exciting projects. This practice can enable you to have a list of professional references that you can use when applying for jobs. Consider developing various project types to boost your UX design skills in different areas.

6. Build a portfolio

Build a stunning UX design portfolio to highlight your experience and skills to potential employers. To enhance your chances of getting a particular job, consider doing background research on the company you target and its objectives. Make sure your portfolio includes at least five of your best user design pieces to make recruiters interested in your application.

7. Apply for jobs

Once you have gained relevant skills and professional qualifications, start searching for jobs on online job portals or company websites. Find relevant jobs and apply to them, depending on your area of interest. UX design offers a diverse range of job roles, so knowing what interests you and only applying for jobs that you want to do can be helpful. Since UX designers work across industries, they can pursue different types of job roles and titles, such as user researcher, UX researcher, usability tester or information architect. Applying to relevant jobs can also save you time and effort.

Related: Web Design Vs. Web Development: What Are The Differences?

Typical Duties Of A UX Designer

Typical duties of a UX designer include:

  • Evaluating existing system

  • A-B testing

  • Conducting user surveys

  • Wireframing

  • Prototyping

  • Designing user flows

  • Developing patterns

  • Creating personas

  • Devising content inventory

  • Executing style guides

  • Using analytics

  • Creating user reports

  • Communicating specifications

Related: 10 Essential UX Designer Skills (And How To Improve Them)

Essential Skills Of A UX Designer

Here are some common skills that UX designers may use to perform their job well:

Interaction design

A crucial component of a UX designer's job during the product development process is envisioning what a product may look like upon completion. Depending on the stage of development, you can do this by developing wireframes or creating low or high-fidelity prototypes, mockups or user flows to understand and analyse user behaviours. These are essential elements of interaction design that you can learn and improve with practice. Creating prototypes and mockups often requires special UX software, but you can get started with a free software option such as Origami Studio.

Related: What Is A Product Designer? (Duties And Skills)

Design software

UX designers are proficient in using design software and creating a product's visual elements that attract users. The aesthetic usability effect refers to users ignoring usability flaws in aesthetically pleasing and visually appealing products. An essential aspect of a UX designer's job is to implement the visual design using text, colours and images to enhance the overall design or interaction. These professionals rely on popular visual design software, such as Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator. UX designers are also skilled in using visual design best practices in typography, colour theory and general design theory.

Agile UX design

Agile refers to a set of project management practices widely popular in the software development domain. It takes an iterative and value-driven approach to project management. Understanding this popular project management approach can benefit UX designers in performing their job efficiently, as most software development teams use the agile method to deliver quality products. UX design and agile almost overlap in their functioning in product development teams. Learning and implementing the agile UX design method can help you enhance your CV.

Related: 37 Common Agile Interview Questions With Example Answers

Information architecture

Information architecture or IA effectively organises content and information within digital products. For example, when designers develop applications, they cohesively layout each screen to make it easier for users to find relevant information. When designed efficiently, IA can help find users with their desired information to complete a task. UX designers can facilitate this process by guiding the users about where they are, where they may find a particular product or information and what they can do next. You can start learning some standard website IA patterns to familiarise yourself with IA.

Related: How To Write Graphic Designer Resume (With Examples)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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