What Is UX Design?

UX design is a process that follows the entire journey of a product, from its beginnings to its initial release.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is UX Design?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Trent Victor | Aug 11, 2022

While UX designers often work on the product itself, they must also consider how consumers will view the product and their company. As a result, usability and branding are often areas that designers dabble in as well. Wearing many different hats requires UX designers to be flexible, especially as the field of UX design undergoes major changes.  


What does a UX designer do day-to-day?

Because UX design covers every aspect of the design process, a designer must juggle various responsibilities.

There is no routine day in the life of a UX designer, but all design roles share common traits. Before UX designers can finalize and release a product, they must first conduct thorough research. This phase involves painting a picture of ideal customers and refining product features based off of user testing results. 

However, UX designers must also be able to shift from an independent mentality to a collaborative attitude. A product moves between many teams, including developers and engineers. To scale a UX design process successfully, designers have to balance their own creative visions with the recommendations of others. Becoming a versatile professional is key for UX designers to excel at their positions.


What are the most important skills in a UX designer? 

Technical skills give UX designers a huge advantage, but a people-first approach is also crucial for crafting effective products. 

Bringing an idea to life means UX designers need to cultivate a strong background in technology. Experience with prototyping and interaction design enables designers to construct products with improved functionality and relevance for consumers. In addition, coding skills are an added bonus that will serve a UX designer well. 

Still, high-tech knowledge means little if a UX designer doesn’t demonstrate a concern for others. Topics like user death require a high degree of empathy and should drive which features are included in a product. Failing to consider real human needs could result in dissatisfied customers who feel a product doesn’t support them. It then becomes essential that UX designers supplement their tech foundation with a healthy dose of people skills.


How do I start a career in UX design?

UX design is a young design field that continues to evolve, so professionals have many options when pursuing a career in UX design.

UX designers come from various walks of life, ranging from web design to occupational therapy. Although it doesn’t hurt to have formal education in a related field, aspiring designers can build an impressive skill set on their own. Shadowing sessions, personal projects and internships are all excellent ways to gain a foothold in the design realm.  

Along the way, beginners should take care to branch out and nourish a diverse background. Blending technical expertise with a people-centered mindset will make for an even stronger portfolio that sets one apart in an applicant pool. In the end, relevant experience trumps any kind of schooling, so there’s no correct path for those seeking a career in UX design.

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