User experience (UX) design is an extremely diverse field where designers and developers come together with varying backgrounds and skill sets. The aim of UX design is to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. If you’re working with a team of UX developers, you want to ensure that they have the right combination of technical skills and soft skills to be able to do just that. After all, you don’t just want a product that looks good; you want it to solve a real user problem, meet their needs and delight them in the process.
Types of UX Design Skills
UX designers use a combination of skills in their work; some of these are specific to the world of user experience, while others are more general. However, generally, the skills you need to look for fall into two main categories:
- Soft skills – personality traits, emotional intelligence and situational awareness. While non-technical – these skills are fundamental to a successful project.
- Technical skills – the nitty-gritty of UX design, your team needs to be adept at user testing, wireframing, prototyping and more.
Ultimately, you want to ensure that your UX designer has a range of both technical expertise and soft skills to ensure your project runs smoothly and that your product delivers an excellent customer experience.
Soft Skills Your UX Developers Need
While technical skills are vital, whatever product you are working on will be used by humans. It stands to reason that having excellent interpersonal skills makes your UX team better at relating to both you as the project owner and the end-user. Be on the lookout for the following traits and skills:
- Communication – interpersonal skills are vital when it comes to a development project. Your development team will need to interact and collaborate with various stakeholders within your business on a regular basis.
- Empathy – while you need to be able to trust your UX development team, you also want to know that they are willing to listen to your points of view. By showing empathy, your designer will understand any frustrations you have, listen to feedback and work with you to find meaningful solutions.
- Passion – the field of user experience design is always evolving, which means there are new trends, tools and techniques emerging all the time. By having a developer who is passionate about what they do, you’ll know that they will be continuously learning and adapting.
- Curiosity – your developer needs to be able to take problems and think critically about solutions. This means actively analysing, conceptualising and evaluating information. By being curious about all aspects of a project, your team will question basic assumptions and deliver new insights that can improve your product.
- Project Management – You want to be able to keep things on track and know where you are at all times during the UX design phase of your development project. Look for a team that is able to work in an agile way, continually iterate but also keep things to your schedule and budget.
- Business acumen – by understanding KPIs, profit margins and business strategy, your project will be more aligned with your business goals and overarching user experience strategy.
Technical Skills Your UX Developers Need
Equally as important as interpersonal skills is technical knowledge and expertise. The most important technical skills for UX design include:
- Researching – there are lots of decisions to be made when it comes to UX design, however, you don’t want these to be made on guesswork or gut instinct alone. Research and analysis of your target audience, similar products and industry are fundamental.
- Wireframing – this is a page layout for your webpage, app or system that is stripped of visual design. It is used to help prioritise page elements based on user needs and map out the user flow.
- Prototyping – a huge part of the development process is envisioning what a product will look like. Prototypes can be simple sketched samples or interactive simulations. Either way, they are vital to test and gather feedback and enable rapid iteration.
- UX Writing – UX isn’t just about images and graphics; the writing within your designs can greatly influence how easy a system is to use. This involves the way error messages, instructions, calls to action and captions are worded.
- Information Architecture – the ability to organise information in an understandable manner is critical. This may include systems like navigation and search functions and ensures that your product is intuitive.
- Coding – while your UX designers aren’t necessarily the ones doing the coding, being able to work alongside the development team and create development-friendly design helps to create more realistic expectations.
- Visual design – with knowledge of visual design best practices such as typography, colour theory and layouts, your designer can make things look clickable, establish effective hierarchy and help important elements stand out.
- User Testing – as your solution is being designed, it’s fundamental that your designer is able to test and validate their ideas. User testing creates a user-centric approach that lends itself to continual iteration and improvement of your product.
How to FInd a UX Developer For Your Next Project
Being a great UX designer takes a lot of expertise and both interpersonal skills and technical design skills are critical. To ensure your project is a success, you should place value on all these skills and make sure your team can master them.