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We, as a creative studio, creates designs that are user-friendly and theme-oriented, which promotes every single element of a brand or the business idea discussed by the client.
UX design is constantly evolving and searching for new ways to solve problems. Our Seasoned UX designers have likely been evolving their approach to the design process and will vary from one designer to another. In general, good UX designers with walk you through a specific process or ‘toolkit’ they follow when approaching a problem or project. This will likely be a set of steps they will take to solve user problems and create engaging experiences. Listen for both a clear process and specific actions they take to solve user problems and create engaging experiences.
Listen for both a transparent process, a deep curiosity, and a constant desire to learn.
One overarching theme should be around a user-centric approach to design and perhaps mention ‘design-thinking,’ which follows a thorough understanding of both user and business goals. In general, this is often an iterative design process that is constantly evolving. Key concepts or methods used to carry out this process may include but is not limited to:: competitive audits, stakeholder interviews, user research involving interviews and surveys, content audits, information architecture, user personas, business model canvases, mood boards, storyboards, empathy maps, use case scenarios and user flows, customer journeys, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes. They may also mention conducting user-testing —moderated or unmoderated, remote or in-person—multivariate testing, eye tracking, click-tracking heatmaps, and other quantitative analytics.
Apart from the above, listen for UX design techniques such as observing interaction design standards, best practices, conventions, and rules-of-thumb known as ‘heuristics.’
By applying these UX methodologies and learning directly from users, each of the techniques mentioned above can play an essential role in the creation of a product that users will love.
One attribute of a great designer is the ability to evaluate their work objectively. No matter what stage of their career, there will always be those challenges that every designer strives to overcome in a meaningful way.
Listen for answers that not only describe the challenges they may face but how they overcome them.
They may have a challenge justifying their design process to specific stakeholders—it may seem too costly and take too long. How do they overcome these obstacles?
For example,—convincing a company they need more in-depth user research before a product is designed or incorporating proper usability testing during a product design lifecycle can be difficult. How do they advocate for those above in making their case?
Another challenge may be conducting user research in innovative ways. This can prove to be especially tricky for designers who work remotely because direct access to their end-users is limited.
Gathering, analyzing, and translating both qualitative and quantitative user data into ‘actionable insights’ may pose another challenge. However, sound designers have a method of focusing on the most impactful elements and teasing out the most significant return on investment.
Listen for answers that include overcoming challenges of working with others with different agendas. A UX designer will always face challenges around collaborating with professionals from other disciplines, such as C-level executives, product managers, engineers, and visual designers.
First and foremost, user research is all about understanding your users. A good UX designer will help you design products that work well across a variety of use cases—from mobile to desktop, as well as a wide range of audiences.
A UX designer should be able to elaborate on how they think of and engage in user research. What ‘lenses’ do they use when conducting user research? These ‘lenses’ could be ethnographic studies, field studies and contextual observations, focus groups, surveys, and diary studies.
They should mention details of how they set goals for the research and came up with a research plan, how they approached the organizational aspect, the recruiting of representative users—what kind of research questions they asked, and how they analyzed the results. While there is more than one approach to facilitating user research, the designer should have a clear description of the method, the sample size required to gain a meaningful result, and speak to the interpretation of the data.
Look for a UX designer who understands how to measure appropriately by selecting the minimum number of subjects needed to gain a solid understanding of the research, and comprehends what they are testing and seeking to understand.
For usability testing, the designer should discuss the methodologies they used. Did they conduct structured, one-on-one interviews with users while they tried specific tasks with product prototypes? Listen to how they’d define a successful test, i.e., what key revelations were gathered, and how was the data distilled into practical, actionable insights? Did they use moderated or unmoderated usability testing? (Unmoderated testing examples may include eye-tracking, click tracking heatmaps, online card sorting exercises, etc.)
Listen to passion and knowledge. A good designer is going to be excited about this topic; the answer will help you understand where their current focus lies.
Also, listen for how a UX designer keeps up with the industry—such as following UX podcasts, reading UX blogs and books, attending webinars and online training courses for ongoing learning, etc.
A UX designer who thinks ahead will be an invaluable asset to your company. He may talk about new use cases beyond screens—or how designing for accessibility is an area of interest for him. He may discuss new prototyping tools that save developers and designers time by converting the design to code, or he may simply explain an evolving trend and how terrific it is to be at the forefront of technology. Whatever his answer, passion should shine through. Most of all, it’s not about technology; it’s about solving problems for users in new and efficient ways.
Ultimately, it’s not about ‘design fads.’ A great UX designer doesn’t follow them but designs products that have staying power and work well for end-users.
In a situation like this, a great UX designer exhibits thoughtful restraint. They will not take critique personally, but use it as an opportunity to dig deeper and uncover the real reasons why a client may not like a design. Great UX designers are objective; they rely on tried and true principles, past learnings, white papers and studies, best practices, standards, and design conventions that have been tested, studied, and validated. Accordingly, they should be able to back up their designs based on those above.
Typically, in these circumstances, a misalignment has occurred between what the client was looking for and what the designer was trying to achieve. A great designer would take a step back and ask smart questions to uncover the issues a client may have with the design. Is the client subjective as in, “I don’t like that color?” The designer would inquire why and make sure the client understands that design decisions are based on sound principles—color theory, for example—and not subjective opinion.
Also listen for examples of when the designer backed up design decisions based on analytics data and testing (staying objective), and how they presented facts and findings to make their case.
Some client feedback may be for compelling business reasons. For example, the client may feel that a simple solution misses valuable opportunities for revenue-generating ad placement. A good designer would listen patiently and incorporate the feedback into the next iteration, understanding that arriving at the optimal design is a balancing act between business needs, technical feasibility, and the designer’s desire to create the best UX.
User interface (UI) design is not the same as UX design. A seasoned UX design pro understands the vital difference and can articulate it clearly. Designing for the user interface often plays an essential role in the work of a UX designer, but it is not the only function.
Whereas UI design is concerned with the useful layout of visual elements on a user interface, UX design is ‘people first.’ It’s about what motivates them—how they think and behave.
A great UX designer should be able to demonstrate knowledge describing the differences, in particular how UI design is only one slice of the UX design process ‘pie,’ and only one of many different disciplines that reside under the UX banner. These include, but are not limited to: a user-centered design strategy, core user demographic definition, persona creation, user research, information architecture, content strategy, interaction design, visual design, and usability testing.
Listen to the UX designer to describe it as a user-centered design approach, a process. As Tim Brown, president, and CEO of IDEO, a famed global design consultancy explains it: “‘Design thinking’ is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
Design thinking is a method for the generation of solutions and a practical, creative resolution of problems. It’s about uncovering insights into the unmet needs of your target audience. It’s a form of solution-based or solution-focused thinking, with the intent of producing a constructive future result. Most of all, it’s a ‘people first’ approach—a design process mindset that designs products around people’s needs, motivations, and behaviors.
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