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Think about the last time you used an app. Was it easy to use? Did you feel happy or frustrated afterwards? What was your overall impression?
Believe it or not, these questions make up at least one full-time job at many tech companies. In fact, large companies often dedicate an entire team to it. Welcome to the world of user experience design.
What is UX?
UX stands for “user experience” and includes everything the customer experiences when trying to do something in product. Though the term has only been around since the 1990s, it actually encompasses a user’s experience while interacting with any product––digital or not.
Imagine that you are ordering sushi on a food delivery app. How many screens do you have to view to place the order? Do you have to enter your information more than once? If you leave a screen and then return, is your information still there? Is ordering food easy to do? Is it clear once you’ve placed the order? Was it an easy experience, or frustrating? Would you use the app again?
These days, with so many competing applications in the market, it’s important for users to feel happy and satisfied when using an app. If they feel frustrated or think that tasks are too hard to accomplish, they will use a different app. Because of this, user experience is a critical part of the tech industry and jobs are in top demand.
What skills do UX Designers need?
UX Designers need a collection of skills to succeed in the industry.
They must be able to collect, understand, and process data. This is important for running experiments on the application’s flow to test different methods and understand how users interact with the app.
They must be able to work with and communicate clearly with a large number of teams. UX Designers work with Marketing and Customer Success to understand the needs of customers, Product teams to understand features, and Design (specifically UI Designers) to iterate on design flows.
They must have empathy for their customers. At the end of the day, UX Designers are in charge of making the customers feel at ease when using the product, or at the very least minimizing their frustration.
What job responsibilities do UX Designers have?
UX Designers are—in the most simple terms—in charge of giving the user a good experience when using a product. They can make their best guess at providing a good experience through intuition and experience, but a large part of the job is collecting and analyzing data to thoroughly understand the user.
Through examining both qualitative and quantitative data, as well as experimenting with different flows in user experience with A/B Testing, UX Designers work to get a clear understanding of their users. The data helps them identify pain points in the current design, which they then communicate to the team and iterate to make better.
UX Designers don’t create visual designs in detail, but instead create low fidelity (lo-fi) versions of applications using wireframes. These lo-fi designs are then sent to UI Designers to hash out the details. Note that UI Design and UX Design are very different roles and should not be confused.
What’s a typical UX Designer salary?
According to Paysa, the average pay for a UX Designer sits at around $93,000, though that can fluctuate significantly with factors such as location, company size, and years of experience. The lowest reported salaries on Stack Overflow were in the $70k range and the highest were over $130k according to Hired. All in all, Glassdoor confirms you can expect to make at least $80,000 at most places, with lots of room for salary growth.
How do I get a job as a UX Designer?
It’s very common for UX Designers to come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are former engineers, some are former designers, and some even come from sociology and psychology backgrounds. The important thing is that you are passionate about user experience and have some training to back it up.
Ready to make a career change into UX Design? Great news! You can start your training today with Udacity’s UX Designer Nanodegree program.