Guest Blogpost by Diane Domeyer,
Executive Director, The Creative Group
It’s no surprise user experience (UX) designers and user interface (UI) developers are in demand, given that the mobile and web development boom shows no signs of slowing. In recent years, UX and UI roles have risen to the top of nearly every list of most sought after creative positions.
While UX and UI are bandied about today as often as “web designer” was 10 years ago, you may not have a strong handle on what professionals in this space actually do. To help, here’s a look at these coveted roles and some essential skills.
What UX and UI Professionals Do
While job descriptions can vary, in essence, UX designers are responsible for how a product or website feels. These individuals create satisfying or compelling experiences for users of a product, often drawing on results from user research and workflow analysis. Areas of focus may include functional requirements for mobile and web products, packaging, content, controls, visual design, customer/technical support, branding and other aspects of user experience. UX designers are also responsible for producing personas, usage scenarios, site maps, taxonomies, wireframes and prototypes. UI designers work hand in hand with UX researchers and designers to construct the wireframes and prototypes, while UI developers build the interfaces that connect the users of an application to its back-end processes and data. These individuals often work closely with a back-end development team to create and improve interactive applications and web pages.
Hard Skills in Demand
Generally, UX and UI professionals need to possess strong creative, technical, problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Specifically, they must have the following experience.
UX Designer: A UX designer must have an expert understanding of graphic design and web technologies, and of wireframing tools such as Axure RP and Balsamiq.
Soft Skills in Demand
Communication: Both roles require excellent verbal, written, visual and interpersonal communication skills. UX and UI professionals work closely with various internal and external teams, so they must be able to present complex ideas in clear and simple terms that non-creatives can understand. There is also a significant component of psychology and understanding of human behavior involved, especially in UX.
Collaboration: According to research for Creative Team of the Future, cross-departmental collaboration is on the rise. UX and UI professionals must take an active role in partnering with IT, marketing and PR colleagues to successfully execute digital strategies and tackle new business challenges.
Self-Direction and Time Management: Although the nature of UX and UI work is collaborative, when it comes to driving initiatives forward and bringing them to completion, professionals must be self-directed. Time management is also critical to a creative’s success in these roles.
Attention to Detail: Any job that’s instrumental in the functional and aesthetic satisfaction of an end user requires a keen eye. The wide scope of UX and UI roles requires commitment to project details from start to finish, from consulting with clients and conducting user interviews to analyzing data, creating prototypes and performing usability testing.
Leadership: Successful UX and UI professionals know how to cultivate a culture of trust. As a result, people seek these individuals out for their expertise and enjoy working alongside them. UX and UI positions are complex, requiring an impressive package of hard and soft skills. In a market where highly skilled job seekers have the upper hand, those who take the time to develop both will be poised to secure the best opportunities — and the most impressive salaries.
The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms.