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user experience designer (UX)

A user experience (UX) designer is typically a degree holding individual with a working knowledge and interest in web and application design. UX designers often enter the field from other disciplines including computer science, graphic design, digital design and marketing or digital media and communications technology.

User Experience Designer Checklist

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UX Designer Goals

The overall goal of the UX designer is to create products with the focus on providing the end-user—the individual who uses the product after it has been fully developed—with meaningful and personally relevant experiences. Designers are often tasked with creating software, mobile apps and internet sites for specific types of users and target groups.

A good UX designer ensures that the user experience is as efficient as possible and makes sense to the individuals using the website or application. Designers create products that require technology to use, but are actually used by individuals with non-technical backgrounds. For example, this could mean creating the interface for an ecommerce shop that will be accessed online by shoppers with little web and browsing experience.

User Experience (UX) Designer

User Experience Designer Job Description

A UX designer's job role is to use software tools and different types of media to produce usable, engaging and visually pleasing products that are easy for users to navigate. 

UX designers typically work with user interface (UI) designers who are in charge of designing each screen or page.  The designers ensure that the user interface visually communicates the path that the UX designer has laid out. Although the two careers are co-dependent, they are separate disciplines.

A successful UX designer will be strong in trouble-shooting and teamwork environments, and be willing to continuously research and stay abreast of technology and trends. Because a UX designer is expected to be able to encourage repeat visits by the end users with the design work regularly involves:

  • User research, surveys and interviews to translate into mockups
  • Creating wireframes, sitemaps, user flows, customer journey maps and prototypes
  • Developing user experiences for mobile phones, tablets and computers
  • Re-designing websites, mobile sites or apps
  • Ensuring online retail sites offer a memorable shopping experience

Although typically keeping regular hours in an office, UX designers, especially those working in freelance and contract situations, should be prepared to work evenings and weekends or odd hours to accommodate international clients.

Recommended Reading: Webopedia's Huge List of 65 Computer and IT Certifications.

How Do You Become a User Experience Designer?

Some employers will hire based on experience alone, however, most prefer that a job candidate hold a degree in design or computing and show experience and familiarity with app development or digital media and technology.

Preference is usually given to candidates who have expertise in standard UX software such as Axure, Balsamiq, Framer, InVision, OmniGraffle, Sketch or UXPin.  Having basic HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript skills is also desired.  Those will user-centered design (UCD) skills will also be a favorable job candidate.

Average Salary

The United States national average User Experience Designer salary is $97,460 (2018), or $8121 a month. Some larger companies pay in excess of $124,000 annually and smaller companies can pay approximately $66,000 annually.

Similar job titles including information architect (IA), usability tester, visual designer or UX researcher or analyst, have similar salaries.

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