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November 2019
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The concept of user experience design is a relatively new idea, and now it is an appropriate time to find a way of defining it, by identifying UX design skills and by looking at how these need to be put into practice.

In design terms, everything that goes into user experience can make UX a success.

User research and visual design aspects form part of process of creating an enhanced user experience which will result in greater loyalty and profitability.

Good UX designer skills can cover any or all of the aspects of the web design process, including interaction design, information architecture and usability testing[1].

How can you be a great UX designer?

How can you be a great UX designer

Anyone who is looking to find out how to become a UX designer, and every designer who is already involved in the practice, should put some thought into exactly what being a great UX designer really means and the precise qualities that are required.

A good understanding of the theory is important to start with, and the right UX designer skills need to be developed. Then the theory can be efficiently applied to any number of projects.

Ask for feedback and use it

Ask for feedback and use it

Image source[2]

Learning how to become a UX designer[3] is not difficult, but to advance beyond the stage of being considered it is important to appreciate that the requirement for UX designer skills goes far beyond the ability to wireframe. Being able to wireframe does not automatically make someone an expert in UX design.

Feedback is an important part of user experience design. The quality of design depends on adequate research, testing and the ability to act on feedback.

First it is necessary to get used to sketching out ideas on paper or by using a mockup or wireframing tool, such as Basalmiq. That way you will be taking your ideas beyond mere thought and turning them into something real.

The best results can be achieved by testing out your ideas on friends who will respond with helpful feedback, from the point of view of a user. You can then assess their reactions and focus on getting things to work better.

Understand that wireframes are only a part of the process

Understand that wireframes are only a part of the process

Image source[4]

Sketches and wireframes are very useful, but it is important to understand that there is more to designing than wireframing[5]. The process requires a framework as well as a wireframe. The right framework is one that is developed to work with technology, for the business and with people in mind. Keeping this in mind is what will make the difference between being a great UX designer and being regarded as an amateur.

User testing and additional research are just as important and will provide even better results. The finished product will benefit more from making improvements, based on additional research and user testing during the early stages of the design process.

Testing methods can involve a PowerPoint presentation that is shared with a design team, notes that are recorded during a screencast, or comments made about a prototype on paper. Some remote user testing will provide even more valuable feedback.

Learn to adapt

Learn to adapt

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Most of us are aware that new technology is constantly being developed and there are constant changes to the way people interconnect and make use of the Internet. This is why one of the most crucial UX designer skills you can learn is adaptability.

A good designer will understand and accept that technology and user actions are always going to be changing. Unless you are able and willing to adapt to those changes, you will never find yourself in the position of being a great UX designer.

Adaptability also applies to the way a designer works. Being a great designer involves more than just developing good UX design skills. In order to provide the best solutions, a designer also requires the ability to work with developers, business people and end users.

Being a great designer also means you are a good problem solver who can gain the trust of everyone involved in the project. In order to build the best solutions, it is important to be able to work alongside developers and to respond to anyone who is involved in testing the user experience.

Be a designer

Be a designer

Never forget when learning how to be a UX designer that you are basically an expert in web design. This means being accomplished in things like rapid prototyping and design sketching, as well as being able to make use of design tools.

To be proficient in UX design you need to have good knowledge of the principles and techniques[7] involved in designing products that will always deliver what they are intended for, whether interface users are interacting through desktop or mobile applications.

Be creative

Be creative

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UX design skills are inherently creative, particularly in the use of color, typography, images, layout and other visual aspects to the design of an interactive system, software package or website.

Interface appearance plays one of the most important roles in design. Being a great UX designer does not necessarily require experience in design, but it is necessary at least to be aware of the main principles of design.

It is far easier to present and sell a good looking design based on visual principles that are based on balance, alignment or the golden ratio. Even in their basic form, those designs are more likely to impress a client than something that is a visual mess.

Do thorough research

Do thorough research

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Some companies divide the functions of research and UX design into different teams, but being a great UX designer also requires some involvement in research. These two disciplines really need to be unified from the very start of the process to completion.

What this means is that it’s not enough just to learn how to be a UX designer without knowing how to be carry out some design-focused research. This does not require you to have advanced research skills, just some practical experience in gathering and handling information from analytics, card sorting, ethnography, usability testing and user interviews.

Test your ideas

Test your ideas

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When you are being paid to enhance the user experience, and at the same time create something that will be profitable, you must never rely on your own assumptions. User testing really is the most important part of the process.

Most people will be happy to get involved in the design process by testing something for you. All it takes is for you to ask a few team members, when they have a few minutes to spare, if they will try out your work-in-progress and let you know how easy or difficult it is to use. When designing a business-to-business product, you may find that the end user will want to test it personally, to check that it really is going to be easy to use.

Learn to evolve

Learn to evolve

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In your own mind you should never consider that a design is fully complete. You would not want to launch a design that has not evolved through a number of changes. When you still have the chance to make changes to your design, you will never reach that point where you consider that your work on the product is really done.

This does not only apply to the finished product. When using your UX design skills to create a product you are involved in repeatedly adapting the process with the aim of achieving the best possible result. It’s not always easy for a designer to continue to repeat this process, because you might be involved in a number of projects that could all do with some improvement. However, a top company or professional client will understand that there is always a need for some changes to be made, which will result in something even better.

This form of evolution is known in Japanese philosophy as Kaizen. It’s a concept that involves continuous changes and leads to improvement. By continuously looking at ways to improve a process, you will bring about an improvement in what the process is designed to do. Kaizen usually refers to the process of self-improvement, but it should be obvious how this can also be applied to the process of building a product.

Be dedicated to what you do

Be dedicated to what you do

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You might have heard of the 10,000 Hours Rule[13] which suggests that ten thousand hours of practice are required to master a discipline. Learning how to be a UX designer does not take that long, but when your goals are set for being a great UX designer, you will want to dedicate as much time as possible to practice and to learn more about the discipline.

Be dedicated to learning more about information architecture, software design and design. Any knowledge you gain about these disciplines will be of help in enhancing user experience.

Show dedication by learning from other people with UX design skills. Join forums, attend seminars and take part in online conferences.

Be dedicated to developing your UX design skills and using the best practices.

Dedication also means a willingness to share what you know and sharing your UX design skills with others.

Being a great UX designer does require dedication. Being dedicated is a quality that all good designers appear to have in common. It means being dedicated to all the disciplines involved, being dedicated to coming up with new ideas and to creating more excellent examples of user experience design.

References

  1. ^ usability testing (www.designyourway.net)
  2. ^ Image source (startupquotes.startupvitamins.com)
  3. ^ UX designer (www.designyourway.net)
  4. ^ Image source (generalassemb.ly)
  5. ^ wireframing (www.designyourway.net)
  6. ^ Image source (dribbble.com)
  7. ^ principles and techniques (www.designyourway.net)
  8. ^ Image source (dribbble.com)
  9. ^ Image source (dribbble.com)
  10. ^ Image source (dribbble.com)
  11. ^ Image source (dribbble.com)
  12. ^ Image source (dribbble.com)
  13. ^ 10,000 Hours Rule (www.businessinsider.com)

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