What Do you Need to Be a UXer Today?

Let’s face it, there has been a sort of flood of ill-trained people claiming to be designers and experts in this industry. Most of the time we can spot the good from the not so great, but sometimes it’s difficult.

At the end of the day, having an excellent user experience is very important.

For example, “A common inquiry to Gartner is often phrased as: “Users complain that our website is hard to use. What design firms can make a better-looking site?” Or, they say: “Our CEO thinks our employee portal looks ugly. What do other organizations use as a user interface (UI) style?”

For those who are committed to becoming the best in UX, finding new ways to enhance your skills is integral. So how can you be sure that you have the right skills necessary to be a UXer today?

We’ve compiled 4 things that you need now, in order to be an amazing UXer.

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1. UXers have the right skills, background and education.

Great UX designers have varying backgrounds from a variety of disciplines. While many do come from a graphic design background or web development program, that doesn’t mean people without these particular credentials can’t become excellent UX designers. Really anyone can become a strong UX designer if they have access to the right training and tools and have taken the appropriate initiative to engage with critical research on what users need. That should be your focus.

2. UXers are Well-Researched & Understand the Value of User-Driven Design –

Not only are UXers extremely effective designers but they are also extremely committed to continuous rigorous research. They should be very well versed on ethnography, usability testing, user interviews, and on analytics. In order to respond to the ever changing user skills or experience, you’ll need to be able to gather all the information about your users in order to enhance your user-driven design. Being able to sift through user feedback and user metrics makes it possible to be the most effective UXer.

3. UXers Use a Creative and Multi-disciplinary Approach.

Sure you know a lot about design. But how are your skills in other areas? In order to be the most effective UXers, you need a multi-disciplinary understanding of UX. While UX is mostly a visual and aesthetic discipline, but cognitive psychology is a must as well. This helps the UXer better understand human behaviour and be a better predictor of a designs possible success. They also understand information architecture, service design, and project development. Don’t stop with solid design background. They must also know exactly what tools can assist in creating a solid UX.

4. UXers have exceptional Verbal and Visual Communication Skills.

While UX nearly always takes place in a business environment, designers must possess exceptional verbal and visual communication skills that they can use with a variety of business clients, colleagues and leadership. They must be comfortable chairing meetings, handling stakeholder engagement and writing memos and business communications and they must be wholly comfortable with collaboration, mentoring and and managing within a team. UXers are more than just managers. They work hard to develop solid leadership skills which help boost confidence of a team and drive forward a cohesive vision for the user experience company wide.

Overall, we know that UX is not about simple design. It’s about becoming a multidisciplinary professional who can connect to users in a meaningful way, and who is not afraid of change, training or new opportunities. Take a good look at your portfolio and decide what may be missing. If you’re always looking for more opportunities for training and improvement. Afterall, UX is always improving, it’s important that you do too.

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Megan Wilson
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com
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