What do you do as a UX designer?
UX (User Experience) designers create usable, evidence-based digital interfaces that solve specific business problems. As a UX designer, you can think of yourself as the “architect” for a digital product, such as a website, web application, native app, or other interface. This means it is your job to gather data on who you are designing for, understand the needs of your buyer, create blueprints (known as wireframes), and then work with developers to “build” and test the product. Specifically, you will be responsible for things like:
Gathering Business Requirements. Sitting down with your client or internal stakeholder (i.e. who is “paying” for the work) to carefully understand their needs and vision for the new work. For example, they may ask you to help re-design the existing website, and you’ll have to dive into the “why” behind this, as well as what the goals are.
Conduct User Research. In addition to understanding the business requirements, you’ll have to talk to actual users (hence the name user experience) to determine what their actual needs are. This research can take many forms, including 1-on-1 interviews, triads, surveys, contextual inquiry, diary studies, longitudinal studies, usability testing, and much more.
Create Wireframes. Once you have an evidence-based design direction, you will need to create wireframes to show your client the “outline” of what the new experience will look like. These may start as simple sketches, or “low-fidelity” designs that are black and white to get ideas across. You can then iterate on these based on team input.
Prototypes and Agile Releases. When your conceptual designs have been approved, you can move into detailed wireframes and information design. At this point depending on the type of technology you’re working with, you may create a prototype of the solution to test with users. If it’s a larger project working on a development release cycle, you may be responsible for creating a smaller set of designs for a specific component or part of the site that will then be released on an iterative basis.