Also known as...
User Experience Architect; User Experience Consultant.
The role in brief...
User Experience (UX or UE) Designers use analysis, research, and testing to develop underlying structures for websites and a wide variety of applications to improve the user’s online experience. They lay the building blocks on which the rest of the team will develop innovative solutions to enhance user interaction with a site by organising and setting out information that’s easy to find and use. Work is often an iterative process conducted within a wider development team, collaborating with a range of disciplines.
- Internal: Digital Project Manager; Content teams; Developers; User Interaction Designers; Web and Graphic Designers; Web Developers.
- External: Client Marketing team; Members of the public, via research.
- User Experience Designers will usually report into someone more senior within the technical team or to the Head of Digital. Those in more senior roles themselves may also have management responsibility for more junior User Experience Designers.
- Advocating positive User Experience amongst the wider team.
- Working with clients to define objectives for website and application designs.
- Translating business requirements into positive user experiences and behaviours.
- Analysing websites and applications for content structure and functionality.
- Conducting research to understand users’ experience with websites or applications and developing insights that support improvements.
- Producing wireframes, prototypes, interactive designs and user flows for testing and presenting to clients.
- Refining designs, spotting new opportunities and suggesting changes before further development/implementation.
- Supporting designers and developers in creating the final site or application in line with the desired user experience, ensuring the UX principles are adhered to throughout the project
- Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of technological developments and awareness of client competitors’ activity.
Those who succeed are...
- Fascinated with how people interact with various forms of digital technology.
- Logical and analytical thinkers that enjoy problems solving.
- Inquisitive, with an experimental approach to using technology.
- Personable, and able to work effectively with a variety of different people.
- Highly competent with Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator and wireframe software used for prototyping. Also familiar with programming languages for building websites: HTML, CSS and DHTML, Axure or equivalent.
- Good knowledge of user testing and agile working methods.
- Able to conduct consumer research using a variety of methods, including direct observation of users interacting with websites and applications.
- Strong communicators, able to present technical and design solutions to nonspecialist audiences.
Where they come from, and where they go...
Many agencies will offer entry level UX Designer positions with on-the-job training. These may be offered to those with a good university level qualification, not necessarily in a technical subject, but often from Human Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Web Development, Graphics Design, Information and Communications or Psychology studies. Apprenticeships can offer another route into this area of work. Typically, each of these entry routes are taken up by those with an interest in layout, design, typography, prototyping, user flows or behavioural psychology. A portfolio of early project work demonstrating excellent design skills or successful user interfaces will help applicants stand out. After gaining some experience, UX Designers can progress to more senior UX roles, with some eventually becoming UX Director for their agency. Others may transition into a variety of related roles, including User Interaction Design or Digital Strategy.
IPA Qualifications: Foundation Certificate, Advanced Certificate
IPA Courses: Strategic Planning, Time Management, Digital Project Management