A recruiter is no stranger to acronyms. We rarely go through a day without hearing or using a signifier like KPI, ROI, PM, and SDET. In the tech industry’s design world, it’s UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) design. When someone refers to the UX of a product or the UI of an app, what do they mean? And why has it suddenly become the "cool" job to have at a company? Here’s a guide to help navigate this colorful, creative and competitive world from a recruiting perspective.
USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN
Think of the literal meaning of "user experience." A UX Designer is responsible for how a product is perceived by a user. Does interaction with it bring enjoyment and satisfaction? The primary concern for UX designers is how the product makes the user feel.
If you’re on the hunt for great UX Designers, how can you tell if they’re any good? What should we look for in the profile, portfolio, or resume?
What to Look For
Background. Alot of Designers (not all) have a background and/or degree in Fine Art, Graphic Design, Photography, or other artistic outlet. The arts focus on emotion and feeling, making them especially prone to user-centered design. This is true for both UX and UI Design.
A strong portfolio. I think portfolios give a much clearer picture of a designer than a resume. There is freedom of expression and a greater opportunity to showcase actual work. Their personal websites or portfolios should be easy to navigate and highlight their approaches and abilities.
The UX Process
1. Discovery or User Research: This assessment period is the most important part of a designer’s job. Interviews, analysis, and requirements are gathered for the product/project. Great communication skills are needed here!
2. Design and Architecture: Creation of site maps, wireframes, and prototypes. There are different tools and technologies to use when defining the structure. Axure, Balsalmiq, Flinto, and Origami are a few common tools.
3. Development and Interviews: Most designers don’t code, but still play an important role in development. They are always available and involved in this part of the process.
USER INTERFACE DESIGN
If User Experience is how the product feels, User Interface is how the product is laid out. It’s what makes the app or website ‘pretty’. UI designers create a visual language that takes the users on a journey, regardless of the platform. Here are the important points to focus on when looking for UI Designers. You’ll notice many of the responsibilities overlap and mirror that of a UX Designer.
What to Look For
Portfolios are equally as important, and should be very similar to that of a UX Designer. User Interface responsibilities often blend with those of a UX colleague.
The UI Process
1. Design and Architecture: Working closely with the UX team, comfort developing (or translating) wireframes, prototypes, and Style Guides. Common tools used are Photoshop, Sketch, and InVision.
2. Development: working closely with a Development team to communicate goals. Knowledge of Front End technologies and some coding should be highlighted. UI Designers should be comfortable in an agile environment and with responsive design.
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