UX jobs require range of skills
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Published on March 9, 2015
When talking to those interested in working in the field of user experience, they often ask what skills are required for user experience (UX) jobs. When describing the field, they frequently surprised to learn the diversity of roles and functions across various UX positions. User experience jobs require many different skills because UX is not simply a single job. It is an entire field that involves many roles, each with varying responsibilities. Some user experience jobs are involved with research, determining what functions are needed and how users interact with an app or website. UX research is an entire field unto itself, and can be as involved as tracking eye movements of users, determining what is clicked, where users spend time, and even surveying users or prospective users.
Other UX jobs are involved with planning and creating information architecture. These roles determine what screens and options are needed, and the sequence in which they should occur. They work on making certain the user flow through and app or website meets the needs of the user as well as the business or organization.
The most common role that people associate with a user experience job is the field of user interface design. A common misconception is that user experience is limited to the visual appearance. While the aesthetics, brand identity, choice of colors, and overall aesthetics are indeed a part of user experience, they are only a small subset of the entire range of UX factors that are incorporated into a complete UX project.
User experience goes beyond the aesthetics and covers the complete set of interactions that a user has with an application or website. For an app this starts with the installation and registration process, and a website covers the first moment a visitor arrives on a page and starts looking to perform a task, whether that includes researching a service or buying a product. The UX considers everything through their entire engagement, all the way through to the time they leave the site or close the app. Skills used in these varying roles are can be learned on the job, or as part of UX courses, or a more complete user experience certificate program.
Those working in the field of user experience can anticipate different challenges with every project, which makes the work interesting, challenging, and rewarding. UX professionals get to work with users, product managers, business analysts, and developers while providing input across all stages of the product’s life cycle, from creation through updates. These varying responsibilities make working in UX a rewarding career.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.