UX design is the fad amongst aspiring designers, so if you are intrigued by the intersection of users, experiences, and designs — then you’re onto something great.
Truth be told, the need for UX designers is increasing at an incredible pace. More and more brands need experts to turn bland products and technology into functional, enjoyable, and accessible experiences for humans.
With technology becoming more and more advanced, the potential for what UX designers can do is endless. They will continue to play a vital role in improving the user experience of various products and services, and will only become more in demand as time goes on.
Statistics show it too!
- According to a survey by adobe, 87% of hiring managers prioritise UX designers for hire.
- The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that jobs for UX designers will grow at 8%—much faster than average.
- Lastly, UXDesignInstitute.com cites the Mind the Gap: A Report on the U.K. ‘s Technology Skills Landscape, produced by Hired.com, which shows a “289% increase in requests for UX interviews” (Source).
In this article we talk through 8 steps to become a rockstar UX designer!
1. Take a UX design course.
To be a good UX designer, you must first understand the craft.
As good advice, it is best to take courses in UX design as it solidifies your basics. If you think about it, the role of UX designers is to get into the shoes of users and understand their needs before creating products.
By taking a course, you will have a deeper understanding of the user, and make the user’s experience more enjoyable and accessible, no matter what you are designing — websites, apps, or other products.
Today, you can access a chock full of online courses taught by UX experts from top brands. Some of the popular courses are offered by Uxcel, Lynda, Edx, Udacity, and Coursera.
Simply dedicating a few weeks to learning the basics of UX will give you a strong foundation to start your journey as a UX designer — providing you with an edge over others. In addition, courses can give you the opportunity to network with other designers and learn from their experiences. Typically a good UX design course covers the following;
- UX design foundations
- UI components
- Common design patterns
- Design accessibility
- Mobile design
- UX writing, and UX research.
Adobe suggests the top 5 skills that UX designers should have; they are frontend development, voice design, writing microcopy, user interface (UI) design skills, and understanding data.
2. Inculcate design thinking
World of UX design is constantly evolving and dynamic. However, cultivating design thinking can be of incredible help. The best way to do that is by learning and incorporating design thinking into your workflow. Put simply, design thinking is a solution-based approach to problem-solving that can be applied in various situations. It is mainly used by designers to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. Here are the five steps of design thinking:
- Empathise — Get to know your users and understand their needs.
- Define — Define the problem you want to solve.
- Ideate — Generate creative solutions to the problem.
- Prototype — Create a prototype of the solution.
- Test — Test the solution with users.
3. Create a solid portfolio.
A well-curated portfolio can make all the difference when you’re applying for UX design jobs or internships. After all, your portfolio is a reflection of your work and showcases your skills and experience to potential employers. When creating your portfolio, remember to keep the following in mind:
- Include your best work — Choose projects that you’re most proud of and that showcase your skills in the best light.
- Be clear and concise — Use clear and concise language to describe your process and what you learned from each project.
- Use visuals — Use visuals to break up the text and add interest to your portfolio.
- Include case studies — Include case studies for each project that include your role, the problem you were solving, your process, and the results.
- Make it mobile-friendly — Make sure your portfolio can be viewed on mobile devices
Behance and Dribbble are good platforms to showcase and create a portfolio.
Get creative with your portfolio too. If you find that your portfolio is light on content, don’t worry; there are plenty of other ways to show off your UX skills.
For example, you can design a simple app or website from scratch to show off your skills in wireframing, prototyping, and design. Another example is, choosing an existing app or website and redesigning it to show off your skills in redesigning and improving existing products.
4. Get involved in the design community, and network.
Want to get inspired, learn new techniques, and meet other designers? In this digital era, you can find plenty of design events, meetups, and conferences that you can attend to get involved in the design community – it’s thrilling to have all UX designers in one space.
In addition, you can join online design communities, such as Dribbble and Behance, to network with other designers and get feedback on your work. Linkedin is a great place to network with clients from dream companies.
Events page by UI UX Trends has a curated list of all upcoming events.
5. Learn how to use storytelling in products.
Every product or story you see has one thing in common – a story behind it.
Storytelling is like a magnet and can be applied in varied ways to attract users and make products more unforgettable. Think along the lines about how to incorporate stories to make the user experience more delightful and useful.
Use stories to introduce users to your product in an inventive way, help users understand the features and benefits of your product, engage users, teach users about the product’s history, and so much more. Incorporating stories into the user experience might sound like a tough task initially, but once you understand the process, it gets easier.
For example, you can use stories to; design the user interface, create engaging content, develop marketing materials, build prototypes, and create user flows. Think about how you can use stories to improve the user experience of your product.
6. Understand inclusivity.
The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as: “ The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible … without the need for special adaptation or specialised design”.
Inclusivity is a significant facet of UX design. And being an inclusive designer will give you an edge over others. Any UX designer must be well versed with the rules of inclusivity, as it is their duty to design products that can be used by everyone – regardless of their abilities. So whether you are designing for people with different disabilities, such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, or physical disabilities, you need to ensure everyone gets an equivalent experience.
When designing for inclusivity, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as; using clear and concise language, colour contrasts, fonts, avoiding personal bias, and so much more.
7. Apply to jobs and internships
After you have a good understanding of UX design, have taken up courses, got a solid portfolio, the next step is to gain some experience. Job boards, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are good to start. In addition, you can pitch or cold email the lead designers of companies directly and inquire about open positions or internships.
Be a rockstar UX designer, and create magical products.
As per Forrester Research, it was revealed that a well-conceived, frictionless UX design could potentially raise customer conversion rates up to 400%. As a UX designer, your role is extremely vital. UX designers are in high demand, and the field is only going to grow in the years to come.
To recap — take up a good course, build a portfolio, apply to jobs and internships, learn about inclusivity, design thinking, and storytelling, and lastly — network, and go to events to engage with fellow designers.
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