10 Skills Every World-class UI/UX Designer Has4
It's all the rage now, especially in the tech industry. It's the difference between a product that has people confused about whether to swipe left or right and an app that a baby boomer can use without asking questions. It's the reason you enjoy the Droomwork interface so much- it's UI/UX design.
As a product owner, you most likely know how important UI/UX design is to your business' growth. You most likely also know how there are many wannabe UI/UX designers out there who are posing to be the real thing. In other words, it might get a few shades of tricky when you decide to get a UI/UX designer for your product.
Well, at Droomwork, we’ve done our research into the world's top UI/UX designers such as Chris Do, Jared Pool and Whitney Hess in a bid to know what skills give them their nano-thin edges in the industry. We’ve also had to interview several product designers around the world, (include names of people in our talent pool). What we’re about to give to you is highly specialized insight into the skills that all globally top-ranked product designers possess to guide you through your hiring process.
Let us quickly mention that, in case you need a world class UI/UX designer on the spot without going through all the hiring hassles, you could just turn to us. We have a long list for you to choose from. You’ll have your UI/UX designer working wonders on your project before 48 hours is over.
That said, let’s get to it: what makes a world class product designer?
What Makes a World Class Product Designer
From research, world-class product designers typically have 3 skill sets:
Soft Skills and
Their ability to grow strengths in this area help them not only to be talented but to manage their talents into productivity.
Let’s begin with the actual skills by which we can call anyone a UI/UX designer. Any candidate without these basic skills is a no-no.
Information Architecture: It is very important to organize information in a way that is understandable to anyone who reads it. In fact, Donna Spencer, who has practiced information architecture at the highest levels for more than two decades and taught innumerable workshops says it this way: “But good information architecture can do more than just help people find objects and information. It can empower people by making it easier for them to learn and make better decisions.” This is what information architecture is all about. In UI/UX it includes 4 systems: labeling, navigation, search functions and schemes/structures. World-class UI/UX designers know how to Apply this principle to any product from websites to apps, software, printed materials, and even physical spaces.
Prototyping, wireframing, user flows, mockups: These skills are responsible for the actual design of how your product will look and work effectively to produce an awesome user interface. Vamsi Batchu, the team leader at Experience Design, said,”People should be able to quickly scan the navigation and understand which links are primary, secondary, and tertiary navigation items.” It begins with Wireframing, a design of a product’s service at the structural level, showing the layout content and functionality based on user needs and journeys. It extends to Prototyping which is a sample/simulation of a final product generated to test and gather feedback. Then there is the Mockup: a realistic model of what your product will look like. Finally, we have the User flow, which is a diagram that maps out a user’s every step as they use a product or service. If a candidate can’t demonstrate these skills correctly, they aren’t even local-class and shouldn’t make it on your team.
UX Writing: While UI/UX design is largely visual, textual data also goes a long way to impact whether users would feel pushed around by a stranger or hand-led by a friend. The method of expressing error messages, instructions, CTAs and so on matters a great deal. If your UI/UX candidate doesn’t know how to use words and handle microcopy appropriately, you know what to do.
Usability testing: After developing prototypes, one will have to conduct user testing to decide whether his/her design choices need tweaking or scraping out all together. David Orr, the senior sound designer at Amazon disclosed that “Usability testing is the killing field of cherished notions." It unveils what should stay and what should not. Top UX/UI designers are able to kill their design babies.
It doesn’t matter how talented your UI/UX designer is, if he/she can’t get along well with the rest of the team, you’ll always be behind schedule. If he/she can’t communicate properly or handle stress and sudden changes, you’ll very frequently have to deal with headaches. Soft skills make an individual- whether freelancer, contractor or full time staff- easy to work with. 57% of recruiters say interpersonal skills will grow in demand over the next five years, and 69% list strong communication skills as a reason they are confident in hiring graduates. Here are 3 must-have soft skills for your UI/UX designer.
Communication: This one can’t be overemphasized. Your ideal person must know how to communicate on time, clearly and with consideration for other people. If this is in place, there’ll be less friction between team members even in the middle of challenging situations, not to mention speed dof operation and problem solving.
Presentation: Unfortunately, there’ll always be that class of people that know what they are doing but can’t explain it to others. Those kinds of people will cause problems as product designers, because one of the main responsibilities of product designers is to explain to the team why they have made their decisions and how it would affect the customer’s experience. Your ideal designer should be able to use the appropriate presentation software to clearly explain their choices..
Team Work: Most creatives are used to working indoors, and may find it a little difficult to blend with others within a real time situation. Therefore, your ideal designer must know how to accept suggestions, criticism and instruction the right way. He/she must know how to blend in with people in the team and manage conflict.
Mental skills refer to a designer's ability to gather data, analyze it and come up with relevant results. The exceptional product designer must be skilled at research, observation, analysis and strategic thinking. They must be highly emotionally intelligent also.
Research: UI/UX designers are burdened with the task of understanding how users will interact with different product features. They don’t do this by guesswork. It requires in-depth research into already existing data, not to mention carrying out experiments to generate specialized data for the project they are working on. Don Norman, Co-founder and Principal of Nielson Norman Group, puts it this way: “If you want to create a great product, you have to start by understanding the people who will use it.” This is really important. Therefore, your interview with product designers should explore their ability to gather data.
Observation: While most information will be gathered by research, simple observation and paying attention to details plays a great role in an awesome product design project. Details, a lot of times, are the difference between bland or erroneous designs and ones that stand out. A designer’s ability to pay attention to the details in already successful projects and come up with original, contextual ideas based on the patterns in the previous project will go a long way to save your company the time of always starting things from scratch.
Analysis and Strategic Thinking: However, o\bservation isn’t complete without analysis and strategic thinking. Strategic thinking allows one to get bright ideas from the most mundane things. It helps the top designers to make classic decisions with little or no information. When a designer is able to think critically, he/she is able to see ahead to factors that are less apparent. This way, you have a designer who is a problem solver and is not just in for the salary.
When scouting for UI/UX designers, look out for these skill sets and don’t stop for anything less. It might take a while to find; however, it’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run. Luckily, it doesn’t even have to take you any time. Droomwork makes it so easy for you: within 48 hours you can get a world-class UI/UX designer creating magic on your project. It’s all so easy to get them.
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