Sussing Out The UX Consultant Role
If you’ve ever been dubbed a dab hand, specialist or expert in the workplace, there’s no denying the warm fuzz and sense of achievement it produces. And, rightly so! After all, it’s a reflection of your hard work, immense effort and relentless drive to know your job inside out. In the world of design, a job title that packs a particularly authoritative punch is that of ‘consultant’. Indeed many UX designers grind away for years, diligently and persistently, before they can establish themselves as a UX consultant. As such, here at Wired Sussex, we wanted to learn a bit more about this role. Join us as we suss out precisely what it entails, who can become one and how much you can earn.
What Is A User Experience Consultant?
UX Consultant Vs UX Designer
In recent years, the field of UX design has experienced tremendous growth. With that, various new jobs have begun to emerge, one of which is the UX consultant role. But what exactly does that mean and how does it differ from your average UX designer? In essence, a UX consultant blends UX design skills with sharp business acumen. The focus of their attention isn’t solely the design of a product or service, as is the case for a designer, but rather the entire ecosystem of a business. They take into account a global and holistic view of a product. A UX consultant is only able to bring the perspective they do to a business following years of experience in the UX field. On the whole, they advise businesses and organisations on how to better their user experience using a wealth of wisdom and know-how.
What Does A UX Consultant Actually Do On A Daily Basis?
In some industries, the term ‘consultant’ can conjure up images of professional advice-givers who delegate a bunch of suggestions for improvement but never quite roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty. In actual fact, UX consultants aren’t merely ‘ideas people’. Their findings and recommendations are summarised in reports and they often oversee the design or redesign of a product or service. Other specific task and responsibilities include:
- Helping companies to better understand their target audience. They do this by collating information and data from surveys, user interviews, analytics platforms and conversations with key members of staff.
- Auditing websites or apps to identify areas of improvement that will increase user satisfaction and conversion. This audit can occur at any stage of the design process.
- Building prototypes and testing better experiences. Usually, there are no black and white answers for issues identified in a UX audit. Therefore, a UX consultant will test various approaches using a prototype, which is an early sample or revision of a product/service. This process of prototyping, testing and iteration is a common cycle a UX consultant will encounter.
- Drawing up UX strategies is a crucial part of the long term duties of a UX consultant. Creating a brilliant user experience for a company is not an overnight achievement, after all. A UX consultant will do plenty of research, meet with stakeholders and understand their business objectives before drawing up a long term vision and roadmap for their UX.
- Working with clients as an ongoing mentor, implementing changes or addressing user experience issues that arise.
- Educating and inspiring company employees via workshops, presentations and self-learning resources. As many digital disciplines struggle with, not all people in a company necessarily understand the benefits or impact of UX. It is the responsibility of a UX consultant to win their hearts and minds.
Can Anyone Be A UX Consultant?
Well, not quite. Obviously, to be a UX consultant you must be familiar with UX design basics such as information architecture, usability testing and content creation. However, UX consultants generally come from various walks of life and disciplines, including web development or business roles. In terms of qualifications or certificates, the most important thing that trumps both is real-life experience, passion and knowledge. If you can demonstrate that, then you’re on to a winner.
What Is A Typical UX Consultant Hourly Rate Or Salary?
There comes a point when most UX professionals will tussle with whether or not to work in-house as a UX designer, focusing on the needs of one company, or work across multiple clients and projects for a consultancy agency. When it comes to the latter, the average UX consultant salary in the UK is roughly £39k. Meanwhile, a senior UX consultant salary is in the region of £49k. Alternatively, some choose to go it alone and follow the freelance route. However, before you consider this, it’s worth bearing in mind that consultancy is not a steady paycheck initially. It relies on building a network and proving yourself as a consultant, which takes time. Typically though, a freelance UX consultant can look to earn a day rate of around £300-450, which works out at a rate of £40-60 per hour. Naturally, this will vary according to many factors, including the precise project a UX consultant has been hired to complete and the scope of the job.
Are you seeking a user experience consultant job, based in Sussex? At Wired Sussex, we frequently post UX consultancy jobs available across the county via our jobs board. Why not check them out now?