So you want to be a UX designer? Awesome! For someone starting out as a UX designer, learning new processes, terminology, and memorizing guidelines can all be a little overwhelming. But doing all of that only lays the foundation you need to be a designer. To become a great UX designer, there are a few characteristics and skills you must have and continually work hard at to master.
1. Problem Solving
Solving problems is what the design industry is all about. Every single project you ever work on will have a problem that needs solving. It can be a simple problem, such as what color a button should be and where it should be placed to attract the most attention. Or it can be a more complex problem, like how to cut call times in half for call center agents by redesigning the interface they use. In some cases, you may not even know the problem you need to solve. The problem might seem like it’s one thing initially, but as you delve deeper you may find out the true culprit causing user frustration is an entirely different problem altogether. Either way, critical thinking is a must to solve the problem at hand.
Being a great designer isn’t just about solving problems and making something look awesome. Part of the job is pitching your designs to the rest of your UX team, other people in your company, and most importantly, the clients you work with. When reviewing your designs with others, don’t just point out that the Sign In button is in the top right, or that the banner image is at the top of the screen. In order to successfully communicate and justify your design decisions, you need to tell the story of how a user would interact with these features to accomplish specific tasks.
All great designers have an extreme sense of curiosity. They don’t just learn the requirements from a client, design an interface, and call it a day. They take the time to learn who users are, and get inside their heads so they can develop a deep understanding of what users really need. Great designers are also curious about how a user might interact with an interface, and how that user might accomplish their goals.
Last but certainly not least, a great designer must have empathy for users. You must be able to put yourself in their shoes to truly understand their thoughts, emotions, motivations, and viewpoints when they are using your product. You can never assume that a user will take the same approach as you when trying to solve a problem. Everybody thinks differently. It’s your job to understand that, and to make your product as easy to use as possible for every potential user.
As always, WillowTree is looking for great UX Designers to join us in our Charlottesville, VA or Research Triangle, NC office. If you think you have the characteristics and skills listed above, apply today at http://willowtreeapps.com/careers/!