The Day-to-Day as a User Experience Designer
UX stands for User Experience, which is the feeling that interfacing with a website, web application, desktop software, or mobile app fosters for a user. A UX Designer is tasked with continually researching, measuring, and improving the functionality and user-friendliness of a product for its users.
The UX Designer job description varies dramatically from employer to employer since it is a nascent position. On a day-to-day basis, UX Designers are typically managing the process of making a product, service, website, or app enjoyable and practical for a target end-user group by conducting user interviews, conducting surveys, creating end-user avatars or personas, creating an information architecture, using card sorting, wireframing, conducting usability tests, and practicing iterations.
Most UX Designers will work on a team with UI Designers, Developers, and sometimes Project Managers. The UX Designer will do the research and design of the flow and feel of the application and then hand it off to the UI designer who will make it look and function properly. The UI Designer and UX Designer will either work separately or together to inform the Developers on their team how to code and deploy the application.
What Skills Should User Experience Designers Have?
Soft skills are an extremely important part of a UX Designer’s toolbox. Without empathy, a UX Designer cannot design a product that fits the needs of an end-user because they can’t predict or understand how and why an end-user needs a certain function. Problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking will also be used daily in this career path.
A UX Designer should have a basic understanding of coding languages as well as the lifecycle of an application even though they will most likely not be programming daily. This is because UX Designers work closely with computer programmers who will build the actual product or service under the advice of the UX Designer. They should have a solid understanding of the lifecycle of an application and how to develop and test prototypes. UX Designers will need to know the basics of product development. They should be proficient in commonly used applications like Illustrator and Photoshop, Sketch, Adobe XD, or InVision.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a User Experience Designer
UX Design stands for User Experience Design which is the practice of designing software and other applications with the user in mind. This means researching, testing, and designing a product using empathy and end-user avatars.
Sketch is a design platform used to create, share, and collaborate prototypes and wireframes.
XD is an Adobe application that facilitates user experience design for web and mobile applications. XD stands for Experience Design.
User Experience Designer Salaries
A User Experience Designer in the United States makes, on average, $94,821 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for User Experience Designers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some User Experience Designer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $94K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
- U.S. Average $94K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a User Experience Designer
There are no higher educational requirements for UX Designers but some UX Designers do have four-year degrees in things like psychology, computer science, or marketing. There are also no required certifications.
Searching for User Experience Designer Jobs
A UX Designer might work for an agency, a specific digital product or service, a startup, or even as an independent contractor. UX Designers can also upskill and learn User Interface (UI) Design. Being able to perform both functions will boost the career of a Designer to allow for a higher salary, more employment opportunities, and higher-level positions.
You can find jobs on sites like:
Tips to Become a User Experience Designer
UX Designers will benefit from putting together a well-rounded portfolio that includes designing the user experience of an application from start to finish, their thought process and methods behind the design, and even an interactive low fidelity prototype if one has been made. UX Designers often create a blog to showcase their portfolio projects in a case study format on a public platform where potential employers can view their work. Often, recruiters will be looking for the Designer’s thought process more prominently than the actual designs.
Utilizing LinkedIn to network with individuals at companies where they’ve applied or are interested in working might also give UX Designers a leg up on the competition. It may also help to find mentors through meetups and social media to guide your career but also to provide you with industry connections.
What Job Titles Would a User Experience Designer Hold?
UX Designers can apply for a wide variety of positions which may be narrowed down based on industry, skills, interests, location, and desired employer. Here are a few options you might be qualified for as a User Experience Designer:
- User Experience Designer / UX Designer
- User Experience Coordinator
- User Experience Lead
- UX Architect
- UX Strategist
- User Experience Specialist
- UX Consultant
- Digital Experience Architect
- UX Writer
UX Designers could also upskill into a position like UI Designer or a combined UX/UI role. UX and UI go hand in hand and you’ll find many startups and small companies use the terms interchangeably or in combination as one position. UI Designers focus more on the interface than the experience. They’ll spend more time communicating with Developers, using tools like InVision, and using the research from UX Researchers or Designers to create an interface that is functional and practical. To upskill into UI Design, a UX Designer.
Salary Comparison to User Experience Designer
Graphic designers work with both digital and physical media to create art that communicates and inspires. Using graphics, text, colors, and animations, graphics designers develop media assets for branding, advertising, and messaging. Graphics designers can work for agencies or themselves. They create a wide variety of design elements, such as brochures, infographics, marketing material layouts, and design elements for print, video, or web use.Learn about becoming a Graphic Designer
User experience researchers analyze customer and client data to improve interactions. They design and lead focus groups in order to collect usability data, and then report their findings to inform future development and iterations. With a focus on improving brand loyalty and user satisfaction, user experience researchers share their insights with user experience developers to assist with future design efforts.Learn about becoming a UX Researcher
User interface (UI) designers are responsible for how an application or web page looks and feels. Using colors, fonts, patterns, textures, icons, and buttons, user interface designers work with user experience designers to improve websites. Some user interface designers may also touch on user experience design (UX) issues and use prototyping and user testing to analyze the effectiveness of messaging and ease of use.Learn about becoming a UI Designer
Visual designers focus on what users see on their screens—banners, menus, graphics, navigation, and more. They use their knowledge of best practices to design digital elements such as page designs, banner ads, icons, and overlays. Working for platforms such as websites, apps, movies, games, and wearables, visual designers strive to provide beautiful user interface. Visual designers often work with software such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop, and more.Learn about becoming a Visual Designer