Design comes in many different forms and applies to everything we own and use. Design makes products and services more usable for the general public or makes them look and feel more innovative in comparison to the things of the past. Everything has a designer behind it.
For most startups, having a good Web site is necessary for their survival. These Web sites can help startups to determine their ideal customer base, learn how to interest their target clients, and keep their customers engaged. Personal engagement can also increase customers’ loyalty to the company and ensure an open-minded space in which the company can continue improving.
So, what is UX design exactly? It is the creation of products, services, or solutions by taking a human-centered approach to innovating the look, feel, and composition of its user experience. UX design centers on creating the experience that individuals have when using a product. In this article, I’ll focus specifically on landing a job as a UX designer or Web-site designer.
UX Design Criteria
There are four design criteria that designers need to meet in creating a successful UX design: impression, value, function, and usability. Function focuses on whether the product works well, while the focus of usability is on whether it is easy to use. Impression reflects how pleasant the product to use, while value is about the value the product delivers to the user.
How User Experience Began
Don Norman, the founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, coined the term user experience in the early 1990s. The user experience determines what users feel and think about a product or service, and customer satisfaction is the key goal for UX design.
Users might react negatively to new things or changes in the products they use. Changes to an experience can take some getting used to, but if they’re good changes, users will get used to them through continued use. Context is the next important factor for UX design. If something is designed without keeping its context of use in mind, it is bound to flop. Where an object is used can be just as important as how it is used.
What UX and UI Designers Do
UX designers design for the user experience rather than just designing a product directly. Naturally, designers cannot create the experience itself, but they design the product or service that provides that experience. In today’s world, digital user experiences are everywhere—thanks to their versatility. People who work on digital products develop transferable skills that they can easily use to find success in UX design. People who are seeking careers in UX design also need to pay attention to designing their portfolios and communicating their prior achievements when trying to find jobs.
UX designers must consider more than the four design criteria that I mentioned earlier. Remember: just because a product is easy to use, that doesn’t guarantee its success in the marketplace. There is a clear difference between UX designers, who design the functionality and ensure the usability of a product, and UI designers who design how a product looks and feels. Both are important in designing product experiences.
Having established these differences between UX designers and UI designers, let’s consider how you can get yourself a job as a UX designer.
Getting a Good Education
Getting started in UX design can be difficult on your own, which is why there are countless resources that can help you begin your journey into UX design.
Although this industry relies on experience to fully develop the professionalism that is necessary to become a high-achieving UX designer, there are countless curricula, conferences, and extracurricular activities that are available to help you learn how to do UX design.
There is a huge amount of curated content from the many experts who are selling or teaching UX design. However, because these information sources aren’t sufficiently extensive on their own, attending a university that offers degrees in User Experience or its related disciplines is your most reliable option for coursework, information, and continuous learning.
The question of whether you actually need a university degree to be a UX designer frequently arises. The answer to that question is no. A self-taught UX designer can become successful in the field. However, getting started in User Experience would then take more dedication and coordination, as well as a strong focus on proving yourself through volunteer work, creating an impressive portfolio, and providing proof that you are capable successfully doing UX design.
Finding a Mentor
Beyond learning, you’ll need practice, which is when finding a mentor will help you. You must get hands-on experience in the field you have chosen. A mentor can help you connect with opportunities and give you solid advice for your future. The hardest aspects of UX design are problem-solving and career management. The advice of a mentor on these topics can help you overcome these difficulties.
You can also ask your mentor to review your portfolio and resume and provide guidance on how to improve them. Plus, having someone who is more skilled in UX design edit your portfolio and resume can make or break your success in landing a job in this field.
Focusing on Developing Your Portfolio and Experience
During your studies, your professors or instructors will likely push you to focus on developing your portfolio. Your future employers will look at not only what projects you’ve successfully completed but also the efficiency and effectiveness of your design process from start to finish. They’ll also want to see some examples of your problem-solving ability when it comes to UX design.
Employers want to know how honest you are, so describe not only your positive accomplishments but also the difficulties you encountered and how you went about solving design problems. As your career and experience progress, be sure to expand your portfolio to match your current skills.
Try presenting your portfolio in the form of case studies, covering both the UX research you have conducted and your design solutions for unique problems. This approach lets you portray your problem-solving skills to potential employers and teams. Try to make your portfolio visually pleasing, not just to please prospective employers but also because you are trying to find your footing in a design discipline.
Networking with the UX Community
Building a stable network of supporters is essential to establishing a successful UX career. Connecting with alumni or UX professionals from other firms is important to your career growth. Helping out others in your field and doing volunteer work can also be beneficial, and the latter can expand the scope of your portfolio. Coaching other UX professionals who are preparing for interviews could lead to their returning the favor, which could be helpful to you down the line.
Always Being Open to Learning Something New
UX design is a constantly evolving industry. Users’ demands change over time, as do design trends. Working on new projects is always a must, but try things that seem challenging or would require you to develop new skills to further evolve your expertise. Advancing your knowledge increases your ability to reliably grow your career, as well as the likelihood that you’ll find a good position when you need one.
Since you are ready to learn, you should also get ready to teach. Once you feel confident enough in your abilities, teaching can greatly increase your knowledge on a certain topic while also giving you credibility in the field. There’s a saying that “you don’t really know something until you can teach it.” This rings true in almost all industries.
This career path might seem somewhat unstable—especially given how often technology and design trends change. The ability to adapt to such changes is essential to sustaining a career in User Experience. But, rest assured, with the right preparation, you can find success in UX design thanks to companies’ high demand for UX designers. This career will keep you on your toes and allow your creativity to take flight.
Gergo created Lensa, a startup that offers a technological solution to the crisis that is the career marketplace. He has been a founder in the startup space for two decades, starting with Profession.hu, Hungary’s leading recruitment platform, which sold to SanomaMedia in 2005—the largest transaction of the kind in Hungary up to that time. Read More