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.
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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.
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.
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