Join Drew Bridewell for an in-depth discussion in this video What skills do people really need for UX?, part of Practical UX Weekly.
- Every experience starts with an idea that an individual, or a group believes in and has an intense desire for it to come to life. If you often have ideas and urges to fix things as well as wanting to make everything better then you might find that user experience design is the right path for you. Hi, I'm Drew Bridewell, I'm a lead user experience designer at LinkedIn in San Francisco. Over the years I met many UX professionals that had different educational backgrounds that aren't directly tied to design. Not all UX designers start in human computer interaction or even the common path of a graphic designer jumping into web design.
You don't have to attend a world-class design school to become a user experience designer. I've met designers with engineering, psychology, or even English backgrounds. The truth is, it doesn't matter where you come from. What you do need is a mindset to learn new things. This is one common thread I see over and over from all designers. A core task for any designer is to explore the depth of the problem they're trying to solve. This is what user experience is all about. Learning about the problems so you can solve the right one. A user experience designer can possess many skills.
But the most valuable skill a designer can have is to know how to learn. This skill isn't talked about, but it's crucial to your success and responsibility you will have day in and day out. Asking questions and investigating the who, the what, the why, when and where will become second nature as you grow and develop your UX skills. This leads to the next skill in UX communication. The art of communication is a daily activity you'll be responsible to take part in. This consists of talking to key stakeholders, presenting your work, interviewing your customers, having debates with product managers, engineers and even designers.
You won't necessarily learn how to communicate effectively in school, but this is something where practice does actually make a difference. The more you do it, the easier it gets. How you communicate can help you set the right tone for your conversations. I've noticed while working at LinkedIn being able to facilitate meetings with a lot of different personalities can be the differentiator to your team's success, morale, and overall passion to do great work. The next skill a UX professional is expected to master is interaction design.
Interaction design is the logic and interaction between users, and your products. These designed interactions help guide your user to accomplish their task. A product that has good interaction design can cover a bad visual design. But bad interaction design can straight up make your product unusable. Following interaction design, we have interface design. This is also referred to as visual design. This is the look and feel of your product through the use of color, and typography, grids, space, and balance the visual side of products can help give the perception of higher quality and value.
As important as it is to master your visual skills information design is just as important as they play hand in hand. Information design consists of truly understanding the content you have. Or the content you will need in order to solve your business problems. It's really easy for a designer to just use whatever a marketing manager or a copywriter gives them to use for the page. Taking it a step further, a UX designer should understand the content and be the voice of the user to make sure that the content is relevant, tells a story, works well with the structure of the page, and isn't a waste to user interface.
Another stellar skill for a UX designer is to master research techniques. Often a designer will be approached with a problem that may require a different approach to solving, and discovering a solution. Research skills take time to master but with the right core, do's and don'ts you can be on your way to fast, unbiased learnings that will help your organization and the members you're designing for. The last skill I want to call out that is crucial for every UX professional is design thinking.
Design thinking is a method used by designers to solve complex problems. And depending on your problem, a UX designer will use different techniques to make and validate the solution. Design thinking also expands into cross-functional roles. For example, you might make a strategic decision during your design process to not include a specific feature because you don't have enough developer resources to build it. However, because you've been thinking about the long-term design strategy you can design your system to support the growth of this feature down the road.
You can also understand the complexity of validating these features so you design the right feature. These are the seven skill sets that I believe anybody in, or thinking about starting a career in UX should dig deeper into. If you'd like to continue the conversation feel free to share your top seven skills on our Practical UX Lessons from the Trenches LinkedIn group. This will help our UX community benefit from seeing other perspectives on this topic.
To continue the conversation started in this course, with Drew and other user experience professionals, join Drew's Practical UX: Lessons from the Trenches LinkedIn group.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q. Where can I ask the author questions about practical UX?
A. To continue the conversation started in Practical UX Weekly with Drew and other user experience professionals, join the LinkedIn group at https://www.linkedin.com/