A user experience designer or UX designer designs the look and feel of software, app, or website. They handle the graphical user interface (GUI) design.
This encompasses more than just how pretty the design appears and includes how it functions. Once the design goes from wireframe to functional code, it gets alpha, then beta tested with potential users. According to their feedback, the design receives improvements that make it more amenable to its potential users. Essentially, the UX designer’s job consists of making a product enjoyable for users, useful, and easy to use.
Specific Responsibilities of a User Experience Designer
While each company handles the implementation of the designers of user experience differently, every individual in this role has six main duties. These include the following duties.
- Researching Products: The designer researches the potential or implementation of the product they design or will design. This encompasses market research and user research. If they update existing products, they must research what existing users want, such as requests for a block button and methods for muting others. They obtain this data from user surveys and interviews, industry standards, competition analysis and focus groups. The designer then analyzes the qualitative and quantitative data amassed.
- Creates User Personas: Similar to those working in marketing, this position creates a fictionalized persona of their actual users and stakeholders as they actually are. A stakeholder is any person involved in the creation or use of the product. This fictional persona remains private to the company and functions as the design inspiration for the app, software or product. From this real-life information and fictional representation, the designer creates an ideal scenario of use. For example, a time management app might create a scenario that illustrated the user becoming more productive by using the app’s intuitive design to plan more work, but use less time to complete it.
- Information Architecture (IA) Sketching and Planning: The employee defines the structure of the site in this text. This design intuitively places user interactions such as buttons or links and organizes them in menus.
- Wireframe Creation: This role also sketches the wireframe of the GUI using the IA to develop the graphic design. This step of the job position typifies what UX designers have become best known for doing.
- Creating Prototypes: From the wireframe drawing, the designer creates a minimum viable product (MVP) of the design. This means it includes all the interactive buttons or actions. In reference to a video game, this means a not so rough draft of the game. It should include every aspect the final version would so it can be adequately alpha and beta tested. That means all users must be able to use the app as they would once it hits stores for sale. The UX design refers to the look, feel and placement (front-end) while computer coders create the back-end.
- Product Testing: The product testing aspect lets the designers and coders learn what worked and what did not. User feedback helps them find bugs or problems in the design and learn what the users did and did not like about the design. For example, when Facebook users ask for a quicker way to block fake accounts and its designers update the blocking mechanism, they have implemented user feedback to enhance the UX design. The testing process feeds back into their first job responsibility of information gathering and they go back through the next five responsibilities, too, constantly honing the product to keep all users happy.
How Much Does a Designer of UX Make?
While salaries vary across the globe, in the US, the average salary for this position is $74,191. The lowest salaried 10 percent of these designers earn $50,000 annually, while those paid at the 90th percentile and above earn $108,000 per year. Some positions also include profit-sharing options. This position offers many remote jobs since it does not require an office environment. You can work from home as a user experience designer.