What Does A User Experience Designer Do?

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A UX or user experience designer researches, analyzes and understands the needs of users to design solutions that add value to the customer, while being viable and profitable for the company. What does a user experience designer do?

Job Profile 

Traditionally, the most prominent apps are those that offer creative solutions to users’ problems through an intuitive and user-friendly experience. This trend has practically become a law for UX design, a discipline that has surpassed the precepts of usability and ergonomics.

User experience design is the process in which the designer works to create amazing user experiences that makes it easier for users to do what they want. For this, it is necessary to carry out a preliminary investigation and design the entire product integration process.

While it is common to find the expression “UX/UI designer”, it is not correct to assume that a UX designer can cover the responsibilities of a UI designer or vice versa.

The acronym UI comes from the English expression User Interface, which means User Interface.

Role Overview Of A User Experience Designer
Role Overview Of A User Experience Designer

In summary, the difference between UX design and UI design starts with the difference in breadth and complexity between the UI and the experience a person experiences when using a software solution.

A user interface is described in specific technical terms and may cover specific features and functionality.

Instead, the UX experience encompasses:

  • User interfaces, along with the context in which they are relevant
  • Key functionalities in the hands of the software development team
  • The relevance of certain processes and tasks
  • The characteristics of the user experience in their interaction with others in their journey as a customer of the company

The importance of UX design

If you have ever used a mobile application, software or even a web page that has left you fascinated, it is very likely that a UX designer is responsible.

UX design places the user at the centre. For this reason, a designer deals with offering solutions to users’ problems in a creative and practical way.

Not only that, through a conscientious investigation (UX research), the UX designer is in charge of taking care of the user experience as a whole, from the appearance to the features and functionalities.

Responsibilities

The UX designer is a role that has grown in popularity and complexity. Just a few years ago, a user experience designer could take on a complex and difficult-to-integrate set of tasks, ranging from market research to coordinating software testing.

Today, the role of the UX designer is more specialised. In the most ambitious projects or larger companies, you can find a user experience design team with specialised and complementary tasks that were initially taken on by a single expert.

Some profiles related to UX are:

  • UX researcher: Focused on research, they conduct interviews, A/B tests, heat maps, usability, etc.
  • UX writer: Works on the texts and copywriting of the product including buttons, links, menus, email marketing, etc.
  • IxD designer: Responsible for the navigation flows and interactions with the different interfaces.
  • UX designer: It is the profile that includes all of the above. Sometimes they will be in charge of carrying out all these tasks or if they have a team they will accompany them in the product design.
Responsibilities Of A User Experience Designer
Responsibilities Of A User Experience Designer

Regardless of the size of the team, the main role of the UX designer is to identify user problems, and come up with solutions and features to eliminate problems and provide a good user experience.

What are the responsibilities of a UX designer? 

  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative research to identify and understand the target user, their problems and the aspects they value
  • Study product features to understand their impact on the user experience
  • Define profiles of proto-personas or buyer personas
  • Coordinate concept, interaction, functionality and usability tests
  • Design prototypes, wireframes, and flowcharts, evaluation reports, and other deliverables
  • Create documentation to plan projects effectively
  • Work with the development team to communicate, co-create and test design ideas and concepts
  • Perform usability testing and auditing
  • Monitor industry trends and analyse competitors
  • Work with UI designers to see how to implement the designs

Find expert User Experience designers here

Skills

UX designers need notions of psychology and neuromarketing (to understand the user), design (to identify what elements the product needs so that the user can use it) and also computer science and programming (to see what technical implication their ideas are going to have).

The most important skill for a UX designer is their ability to identify and communicate the most relevant aspects of the user experience. 

They must be proficient with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript as well as with design software like UXPin. 

Skills Of A User Experience Designer
Skills Of A User Experience Designer

Additionally, a UX designer must possess strong creative, empathetic and practical skills. They must also have excellent self-development skills and the ability to keep up to date with fast-changing trends.

What skills does a UX designer need?

  • Experience in interaction design
  • Experience in managing software design projects and digital products
  • Management of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Knowledge of best practices and trends in usability, user interfaces and product design
  • Graphic design experience to create wireframes and prototypes
  • Mastery of design and prototyping tools such as: Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, Adobe XD, InVision, etc.
  • Strong design skills 
  • Knowledge to identify the needs of projects and their materialisation in Low-Fidelity or Hi-Fidelity wireframes
  • Mastery of user experience mapping techniques
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to solve complex problems
  • Knowledge in marketing, communication, digital product development and human behaviour
  • Basic HTML/CSS programming skills; Valuable JavaScript

Background

Do UX designers need a degree? There are currently no conventional academic training paths for a UX designer.

To start working as a UX designer, you need a combination of skills and knowledge in social sciences and digital product design, which are not yet part of the most recognized undergraduate university curricula.

However, continuing education and postgraduate programs in UX design are becoming more and more common.

There are ofcourse online courses you can refer to to boost your career and skills as a designer. Check out options for these down below:

Salary

Depending on the specific responsibilities and the experience required for the position, the salary of a UX designer can vary considerably. The size of the company, the industry and the scope of the position also influence the salary of a UX designer.

Generally though, a designer who’s just starting out can expect a salary of around $52,000 whereas a more senior designer can earn around $109,000. The average salary of a designer is $76,000.

In the UK, the salary range of a user experience designer is £24,000-£50,000 whereas in Germany, the range is €31,000-€61,000.

What is the salary range of user experience designers?

US $52,000 – $109,000
UK £24,000 – £50,000
Germany €31,000 – €61,000

How much does a freelance user experience designer earn? 

According to the freelancermap index, the average rate for a freelance UX designer is $86 per hour. If calculated based on an 8-hour work day, this would equate to a daily rate of around $688 (freelancermap Index May 2022).

Average Hourly Rate Of User Experience Designers
Average Hourly Rate Of User Experience Designers
Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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