User experience (UX) design is a term that can be exciting and confusing at the same time. It’s one of the essential parts of web design, but also, it’s hard to define it.
Being a UX designer isn’t an easy job. They need to know some skills in order to do their job properly. The UX designer skills are very diverse and they include many areas, like psychology, software engine, and visual design.
To understand why the UX designers need all these knowledge, first, we need to know about UX design itself. But it isn’t that simple, because this is a subjective concept.
The designers say that it’s basically the way that the users perceive the product and its final opinion of it. It’s what the users feel before, during, and after using a product.
An easier way to define UX design could be the elements relating to the user interaction that make a positive or negative perception of a product, service or gadget. It doesn’t depend just on designing things, it also depends on the emotions, feelings, branding and product reliability.
In the beginning, UX design was focused just on web design, although nowadays, it is applied to other fields. This is because when they’re guiding the user experience with a product, they start to modify it, increasing the client satisfaction.
UX design could be an improvement of the term usability. Its purposes aren’t just to improve the users yield in the interaction. It tries to solve the strategic problems of simplicity and usability, and the psychological ones of the pleasure and fun while using the product.
Here, it’s important to provide the function of the system to the user. This makes the interaction with the product much easier. Usually, people don’t know the purposes of things; they figure it out with just their intuition.
The first reference of UX design as we know it nowadays comes from 1976, when W. Hansen, in his book “User Engineering Principles for Interactive Systems“, made a list of the notions to design an interactive system. But UX as a field emerges with the internet and the use of websites.
When software design was growing up, and the websites became more complex, the functions were divided between designer and programmer. Then the front-end, meaning what people see, started to focus on user interface (UI) design, front-end development, and of course, UX design.
To do a correct UX design, it’s pretty necessary to follow some steps. The first one is to investigate and organize the information. The designer should know lots of things about the public that will be having access to the website or will use the product.
Then, they have to design a product that can be able to satisfy the necessities of the users and be adaptable to their capacities, expectations, and motivations. Finally, the designers should test the final product to make sure it accomplished its objectives.
UX Design, An Interdisciplinary Field
UX design involves many other fields, even the ones that aren’t related to designing itself, like psychology and sociology. Many designers say that UX is the marriage between software engineering and human mental function.
These designers should know about psychology and sociology, in order for them to predict the reaction or opinion that the consumers will have.
At the same time, they have to apply many techniques and tools related to other graphic design areas, such as marketing, usability, UI design, and many others.
These ones are the most important ones:
- Interaction design: it consists of making and evaluating systems, gadgets or products that fulfill their objectives and support the daily activities of their users.
- Information architecture: it’s to organize and structure all the website information.
- Information design: it’s to prepare the information, and make it easy to understand.
- UI design: is the one in charge of creating an interface that makes the interaction between the user and the machine easier and simpler.
- Web design: this means to, basically, use the programming languages like HTTM, CSS or HTML correctly. It will allow the clients to navigate through all the pages of the website.
UX Designer Skills
Designers need to focus on one UX design skill or application because no UX designer wants to be a jack of all trades and master of none.
Besides all the knowledge described before, there are many skills that every UX designer should have in order for the proper designing of the final product.
Some of those skills are really specific for each field, but these are the ones that everyone who wants to be a UX designer should have.
The first one, and also one of the most important, is user empathy. This is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Designers have to remember UX design is focused on the users. Not everyone thinks the same way, this skill is necessary to understand and satisfy the necessities of the users.
Another important skill is doing some good research. UX designers need to investigate the users, their characteristics and necessities, to make the perfect product for them. Here, analytics could be useful to understand the results and know how to apply them.
We can’t forget almost everything about this field is related to web design, that’s why an important applied skill for UX designers is wireframing and prototyping. This is basically to prove a website and its functionality.
Teamwork is an essential part of this job, and unless you know about marketing, web design, UI design, and many other fields, you will need to collaborate with a whole team to finish the job. They don’t incorporate just the team ideas for the design; they also have to listen to the developers’ and clients’ ideas.
Communication skills are very important for UX designers. Let’s suppose you have the best idea for a website, but you don’t know how to explain it to the client, it will turn out to be useless. They need to find the right words to make the clients fall in love with their ideas.
Not everything is about speaking communication. Visual communication is important for a UX designer too. This communication is the one the designer has with the users.
To transmit the message and make sure they fulfill the user’s necessities, the designers should know terms such as layout, colors influence, typography, and images.
UX designers always have to remember that UX design is focused on improving the user experience. The needs of your client are the user’s needs. So, when you think about satisfying your client’s necessities, you have to think about the users’ necessities too.
UX designers need to know some things about other fields like psychology, marketing, industrial design and, of course, web design.
The applied UX designer skills are quite varied, this field involves many others. The most important ones are wireframing, prototyping, and visual communication.
Without these simple skills, it is practically impossible to be a UX designer. If the designer doesn’t know these simple tools of web design or doesn’t know how to transmit the message, they won’t accomplish the objective.
The soft skills are as important as the applied ones. They need to express their ideas correctly, know about teamwork, and also know how to do research on their own to know more about the clients and the users.