Designers play a key role in almost every step of shaping and creating products. It’s essential to find someone who will fit in the scheme of things and understand both how the company functions on a daily basis and how we build apps in the long run. It’s no surprise then that the recruitment process can take some time – in our case, more than 3 months.
Having talked to many talented candidates throughout the recruitment process, we noticed that there’s a common misconception about the role of UX/UI designer. Many people seem to think that it’s all about expertise and knowledge. But what really glues all the parts of the design process together are the soft skills.
Make the chemistry work
Clear communication, the ability to give and receive feedback, and a good amount of patience – all this is crucial when you’re a part of an interdisciplinary team and work hand-in-hand with different stakeholders.
When it comes to building digital products, designers are right in the middle of the process: they bounce off ideas, analyze possible concepts, and mediate between different project team members. This often requires them to describe their proposed solutions from several perspectives and to fit them into different contexts.
In other words, as a UX/UI designer, you have to be prepared for explaining the same thing in many different ways.
This is especially true in terms of:
- Defining interaction models
- End-to-end testing and communicating different scenarios and screen designs to stakeholders
- Designing for accessibility, usability, and inclusion
- Conducting workshops for stakeholders
UX/UI is not for lone wolves
Shaping digital products from scratch requires keeping in touch with stakeholders and guiding them step-by-step through the design process. It’s a team effort.
Meanwhile, many designers are used to working alone (running iterations based on received feedback) or designing products in relatively small teams (e.g. one dev and one stakeholder). While it may work for small-scale projects, complex software development relies on good communication flow.
Email ping-pong simply won’t do here, especially in times of remote work.
Joining a bigger, more diverse team can give you a different perspective on your role as UX/UI designer. We’d go as far as to say that there’s no better way to learn about the technical nuances and the business side of product design than creating solutions in close cooperation with many different experts in the field.
This will also help you improve your communication skills, which will definitely prove helpful in shaping the product vision or facilitating UX workshops.
The F word
Giving and receiving feedback is the essence of every project. Each time you have to put your ego aside and patiently explain to the stakeholders why the solution you picked will be able to meet the specific user need or contribute to delivering a specific feature.
Let’s be honest here: it can sometimes get frustrating.
The art of giving feedback is packed with subtleties and requires a good amount of trust from both sides of the feedback loop. You always need to be ready to answer the hardest of questions: why?
Why do the screens look unbalanced, why the user may feel lost here, why this copy may be misleading?
Receiving feedback is a different beast altogether. You’re never sure if the stakeholders will provide useful insights, so it’s your job to ask the right questions and guide them. You can do that by:
- Pointing out the things they should focus on
- Limiting the number of people who will provide feedback
- Establishing the preferable form of feedback (e.g. in-person, by email, or as InVision/Figma comments)
- Describing timeframe
Keep UX and UI in balance
Of course, your expertise and knowledge matter, too. But when UX meets UI, it’s really important to keep things in harmony.
The holistic approach to user-centered design means that you’ll learn new things along the way – when researching solutions, creating user tests, adjusting new features to different personas, or working on the information architecture.
Visual design is also a part of the process. However, the key to creating a good digital product is not necessarily in what users see. It’s in what they need, how they interact with the product, and how it all contributes to the project’s goals.
To come up with a design strategy that brings visuals and interactions together, you need to take a harmonious approach.
Take your time
Mixing soft and hard skills is never easy, but if you want to find a good culture fit, you need to look for that right combination. We hope that our notes from the UX/UI recruitment will come in handy both for designers looking for a job and product managers composing their teams.
Sometimes long-lasting collaborations start with blog posts like this.
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