The 5 W’s Of Being A UX Designer
The Who, What, Where, When, Why (& How) Of A UX Design Job
If you’ve ever watched CSI or Line of Duty, you’ve probably noticed how a police officer's line of questioning tends to follow the same trusted format. It’s a technique commonly used by journalists too. In fact, it’s relevant to any person or business that wants to gather information about a certain topic or get to the root of a problem. What on earth are we talking about? The 5 W’s, of course. It answers the who, what, where, when, why and how of a story, providing the full lay of the land. Today, we’re using this approach to understand the nitty-gritty of a UX designer job and grasp everything there is to know about working in this world. So, if a career in UX design beckons and you consider yourself somewhat of a sleuth, read on to uncover all you need to know about being a UX designer.
1) Who Can Become A UX Designer?
UX Designer Requirements, Qualifications & Skills
UX designers come from all walks of life and there are no hard and fast rules about who can become one. That said, having a creative flair and analytical brain will certainly serve you well. UX designers are typically educated to degree level too, but it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker as to whether you will succeed. If you are self-taught and able to demonstrate a keen interest and knack for web and app design in other ways, then you’re likely to get your foot in the door. If you are concerned about possessing relevant UX designer qualifications, computer science, digital design, graphic design and web design degrees or short courses are all acceptable. Other top skills a UX designer must possess include good communication, problem-solving, an eye for detail and, of course, a decent knowledge of coding and design principles.
2) What Does A UX Designer Do?
UX Designer Responsibilities
A UX designer creates websites and apps that are pleasant, easy and efficient to use. On a day to day basis, they handle a user's impression and interaction with a brand. Depending on the size and type of company a UX designer works for, however, their routine responsibilities may vary. Nonetheless, the following are fairly common duties across the board for a UX designer:
- Liaising with clients to gather information about their goals, objectives, vision and requirements
- Sketching out visual concepts on both paper and using software applications
- Creating user stories, personas and storyboards
- Translating concepts into wireframes, prototypes and user flows using specialist tools
- Developing user experience across various platforms and devices including mobile, tablet and desktops
- Collaborating with other designers, development teams, business analysts, engineers and project managers
- Conducting user research, usability testing and competitor analysis
- Regularly holding meetings to review progress on a project
- Writing reports and communicating the results of their work
- Keeping up to date on innovations within the industry including tools and software
- A senior UX designer will take ownership of a design project and mentor more junior colleagues
3) Where Do UX Designers Work?
The Best Companies To Work As A UX Designer
As a UX designer, there is scope to work across multiple industries including private companies, public bodies or not for profit organisations. These can range from large, global enterprises right down to smaller, up and coming companies. Sectors where it is possible to work in-house include:
- Banking and finance
- Public bodies
- Publishing, media and broadcasting
- Retail and sales
Alternatively, you could work for a software or web development agency. This is generally better suited to people who prefer to dip their toes in multiple design projects and enjoy learning about various industries, as opposed to working solely for one sector. Indeed, an agency will typically have a range of clients on their books, meaning you rarely have a dull day! Some of the local companies that frequently recruit with us include BestAtDigital, UnitedUs and Bamboo Nine. Going freelance is an option too but, while the day rates associated with this can certainly be attractive, it is generally associated with a feast-famine approach and can mean unpredictable work and income.
4) When Do UX Designers Work?
A UX designer has a pretty generic work schedule of 9-5, Monday to Friday and you’ll be working in an office environment. It is possible that if you have a deadline looming for a large project then you’ll have to put in some overtime, occasionally working on the weekend or in the evenings.
H2: Why Become A UX Designer?
Is UX Design Stressful?
Let’s get practical for a moment, no job is without its stresses neither are they all sunshine and roses. That’s just not realistic. However, there are multiple benefits associated with being a UX designer. First, it’s a role that will always be in demand. More than ever, companies are aware of just how valuable user experience is and the business impact it has. This seeps into financial stability and security too which, let’s face it, most of us strive for. At present, the average UX designer salary in the UK is £38k - not too bad, hey? Not only that but, as a UX designer, you’ll work at the frontier of digital innovation and genuinely make an impact on people's lives. After all, user experience design exists for people who use a product - they are at the heart of everything UX designers do. Just think about how Uber transformed the taxi industry or Tinder revolutionised the dating scene. They did so because they considered the problems people have with ordering a taxi or meeting partners from the perspective of a user. No one day will be the same!
How To Become A UX Designer
If becoming a UX designer appeals to you, there are so many things you can do to get the ball rolling. A great starting point is simply to immerse yourself in as much content aimed at beginners as possible. Be it books, blogs, podcasts or Facebook communities, there’s heaps of information out there for you to soak up. Develop a broad understanding of the field and, if you remain fascinated and hungry to know more then it's time to ‘learn by doing’. As a rule of thumb, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and Udemy offer some brilliant and practical UX design courses, which help you produce a UX designer portfolio - vital if you want to gain employment in this field. Better yet, they’re typically courses that can be digested in bite-sized chunks, meaning if time and flexibility is an issue, you can learn at your own leisure. We particularly recommend The Beginner UX Design Course (UX Academy) and User Experience Design Fundamentals (Udemy).
So, there you have it - the 5 w’s of being a UX designer. Are you a UX designer in training or newly qualified? At Wired Sussex, we connect talented job seekers with incredible companies across the county. Why not check out the current UX designer jobs available on our jobs board?