Starting a Career in UX Design: Everything You Need To Know

Learn UX design

Have you ever found yourself hooked to a certain website or application without even realizing it in the first place? Or, how difficult it is to make a purchase via certain websites? So what makes these websites or applications stand out? Well, the answer to these questions is User Experience Design.

What Is UX Design?

User Experience (UX), as the name suggests, refers to the interaction a user has with a product. It is the process that enables users to navigate an application or a website with ease, ensure a smooth and seamless experience of the brand. User Experience integrates the elements of research, design, technology, psychology, and business to ensure that the user gets the best possible experience while navigating the website or the application.

How Does UX Design Work?

UX design covers different aspects of product development. A UX designer works through the entire process of product acquisition and integration, including other areas such as branding, design, and function. It’s an idea that can be conceived and shaped even before the product reaches the user’s hands.

Think of products that offer the best user experience. They are typically designed with consumption, usage, acquisition, ownership, and troubleshooting in mind. Besides product usability, user design centers around delivering other aspects of UX, such as fun to use, efficient and pleasing products.   

To this end, the work of a user designer covers the user’s end-to-end journey of interaction with a product. It also focuses on identifying new opportunities for product development and improving the overall user experience.

Given the scope of UX design, it’s understandable that as a UX designer, your job entails playing different roles depending on the company and the project. According to one survey, there are at least 200 additional jobs within the UX design concept plus several other responsibilities, including:

  • User research: User research centers around customer needs, behavior, and motivations. Designers often conduct user research to identify gaps in the market and opportunities to improve products and offer lasting solutions.
  • Persona development: UX designers use persona developments to understand user demographics, needs, and potential responses to a particular product. This way, companies can better understand their target market and create products that fill market gaps.
  • Product testing: UX design follows several processes, but product testing often comes last. It entails identifying the necessary changes that should be made before a product hits the market. The process allows users to interact with a prototype to confirm the final product’s intuitiveness, desirability, usability, and overall functionality.

How Does UX Design Help Businesses?

For every product a company develops, there’s always a gap in user expectations and response. Sometimes these expectations may be unrealistic, while other times, it’s a case of organizations not understanding user needs or how to meet those needs. But in today’s competitive business world, organizations must find ways to understand and meet user needs to stay in business. 

Businesses that invest in UX design are better placed to deliver quality products to their customers. From customer retention to improved brand reputation and better ROI, UX design can significantly benefit organizations. Here’s how UX design adds value to companies:

  • Customer satisfaction: Greater user experience and customer satisfaction are important for most businesses. It ensures loyal customers, improved brand loyalty, reputation, and longevity.
  • Improved brand image: Happy, satisfied customers will always have something positive to say about their favorite brand. Organizations that attain this level of customer satisfaction stand to benefit from positive online reviews and word-of-mouth advertising. This provides a chance to attract more customers.
  • Increased revenue: Customer attraction is one thing; customer acquisition and retention are yet another. Retaining such users becomes much easier when a company delivers products that solve user problems and make them happy.
  • High success rates: E-commerce is fast-changing consumer behavior in this digitally aligned world. More than half of mobile phone users in the US buy products online using mobile apps. An estimated 62% of companies reported increased sales after investing in mobile-friendly websites with excellent user design and quality performance. Companies who adopt this trend are highly likely to reap big from e-commerce customers.

Should You Learn UX Design?

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in UX design, you might be wondering if the industry is competitive and if the demand for qualified UX designers will last longer. If that’s the case, several factors prove that this industry is just evolving, and the need for the best UX designers will only keep growing, not diminishing.

As technology and the internet advance, social media will remain a significant and integral part of consumer purchasing power. It will also influence consumers’ expectations when interacting with products. As long as e-commerce is here, there will always be an increased need for UX designers who can create the best user experience that brings value to organizations and their customers.

High Demand For UX Designers

More and more companies are looking for qualified UX design experts to support their marketing and product development efforts. As of 2020, UX design was among the top five in-demand skills on LinkedIn. Glassdoor also included UX in its top 50 best jobs to pursue in 2021. 

This growing demand is primarily attributed to organizations’ understanding of UX design, how it impacts consumers’ purchasing decisions, and the value it brings to the business. According to CNN Money, the need for UX designers is set to grow by 18% between 2015 to 2025.

Furthermore, more and more businesses are investing in UX design to gain a competitive edge against similar industry players. In some places, the demand for high-quality UX design talent is higher than the rest. And since companies need to do everything to stand out in today’s tech-heavy market, the gap in qualified UX designers will always be high across the globe.

Competitive Salary

As we have seen, talented UX designers are in high demand, and companies from different parts of the world are ready to pay premium salaries for quality design staff. Here are some of the top countries with the highest demand for qualified UX designers and average annual salaries for this job:

  • United States: US$69,600 – US$114,300
  • Canada:CA$50,00 – CA$101,800
  • Germany: €34,500 – €70,000
  • China: ¥126,000 – ¥297,000
  • United Kingdom: £30,600 – £65,700
  • Australia: AU$59,500 – AU$115,600

What It Takes To Become A UX Designer

With the above factors in place, the overall outlook for a UX design job appears very promising. However, despite the increased need for UX design professionals, some interpersonal skills are required more than others. So if you’re thinking to pursue a career in UX design, the following highly sought-after skills can help you gauge if you belong in this industry:

    • Specialist roles: Ux design focuses on various aspects of product development and user experience. You’ll need to take on one or two specialty roles such as a UX researcher, writer, information architect, front-end developer, and usability analyst.
    • Business acumen: Having the ability to work outside the creative landscape and employ business techniques in your design process is highly desirable in the UX design job market. The ability to tie UX design to actionable business objectives is a great plus.
    • Remote working: The world is rapidly shifting towards remote and hybrid working approaches. Organizations are putting more emphasis on high-quality talent than employee location. Therefore your ability to work remotely can be a significant advantage.
    • Relevant auxiliary skills: As a UX designer, having a background in research, marketing, coding, or psychology is a plus. These attributes and abilities make you a well-rounded UX design professional any company would want to onboard.

Top UX career paths

It is not uncommon for most folks to confuse different UX roles and job titles. This is primarily because most people mistake UX for a single career. However, it is important to understand that UX is an umbrella term that refers to a host of specific careers. Here are some of the most common career paths you are likely to take in UX.

UX Designer

A UX designer understands what the customer is looking for and tailors the product to suit these needs. The main goal is to enhance the user experience by taking into account the consumers’ emotions and attitudes about the product. After this, the UX designer must aim to establish the product’s logical flow.

UI Designer

The job of a user interface (UI) designer can be a little bit confusing. While the UI roles sometimes overlap with the UX roles, it is important to understand that these are two separate roles. UI designers basically focus on the product’s interface. This could be the computer’s screen or visual and audio outputs. The UI designer is responsible for creating an easy-to-use and understand interface.

Visual Designer

A visual designer is a creative artist that focuses on the aesthetics of the product. Basically, they focus on elements such as color, typography, effects, graphics, and layout.

Interaction Designer

Interaction designers focus on how the user interacts with the product’s screen. This includes the menu, the transition between the pages and how user interaction changes the button’s appearance.  

Motion designer

Animations play major roles in creating lasting user experiences. While the visual designers focus on the static elements, motion designs pay attention to the dynamic experience. These professionals create animated effects when users interact with screens.

UX Researcher

UX researchers focus on gaining a full understanding of users’ wants and needs. They are responsible for researching and gaining an understanding of the consumers’ mindsets.

Top online UX courses

UX Designer Nanodegree from Udacity

This online UX designer course teach learners how to create digital user experience that is ready for deployment. The key topics covered in this nanodegree include:

·         UX Fundamentals & Design Research

·         Concept to Low-Fidelity Prototyping

·         High-Fidelity Prototyping to Post-Launch Analysis

·         CAPSTONE – UX Portfolio Design

UX Research and Design

Facilitated by the University of Michigan, this top-rated online UX course will teach you how to study and understand user needs in order to create great products. You will gain hands-on experience with taking a product right from the initial formation through to user research, ideation and refinement, formal analysis, prototyping all the way to user testing. You will learn how to apply perspectives and methods to ensure a greater user experience.

Introduction to user experience

This beginner course is facilitated by HEC Montreal and is designed to introduce learners to the fundamentals of UX practice. From software to mobile as well as web applications, learners are introduced to how to design professional interfaces that offer an outstanding experience.

UX/UI Bootcamp

Facilitated by Georgia Tech, this online UX/UI Bootcamp provides learners with hands-on training in user-focused design research, design things, visual prototyping and wireframing among other aspects of UX design.

Foundations of User Experience

Offered by Google, this is the first of the 7 courses that equip learners with skills they need to apply for entry-level roles in UX design.

Starting a career in UX design: Final thoughts

UX designers in demand across all industries, there is no doubt that a career in UX design is filled with a ton of possibilities. And with the shortage of UX skills around the world, high salaries and generally low barriers to entry, coupled with the freedom to work from any location, there is no better time than now to explore this career path. And, you do not have to worry if you do not have a design background of a degree in information systems, there are several online UX courses and resources that you can use to kick-start your career in UX design.

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