Top Skills You'll Need to Achieve Expert Status in UX Design

It’s a common pitfall for today’s UX designers: to be so mired in project management busywork that they fail to spend enough time on the creative aspects of design that make their job so vital to the development process. The key to great UX design is leveraging the behavioral preferences of the consumers that use your products every day, and applying the latest design thinking principles to create designs that those customers won’t be able to put down. To be a top designer, you must also begin to think more strategically about your role and be a contributor to the development organization’s bottom line.

To reach that pinnacle of the design trade, you’ll want to ensure your design teams are mastering these key skills and proficiencies.

1. Design Thinking

Design thinking is the advanced process of problem-solving that seeks to uncover and address customer needs on a deep level. Companies that engage in design thinking don’t only create better UI; they also set the stage to generate better business results for the development organization. Project teams that utilize design thinking principles are able to cut the time required for initial design by 75 percent, reduce development and testing time by 33 percent and bring products to market twice as fast. That’s what’s making design thinking such a hot topic in a hot market. Design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219 percent over a ten-year period, illustrating the important business benefits that the design function can bring to the table.

Design Thinking skills training provides an in-depth look at understanding and defining customer requirements, building a design plan with actionable goals, creating user personas, developing strong user empathy, and mastering ideation, experimentation, and prototyping. All with an eye on improving user engagement, conversion and retention rates that will help grow and scale the development organization. Seventy five percent of organizations say they are engaged in design thinking today.

2. User Experience (UX) Research

Designers know they must become more customer-centric to be successful. Knowing what motivates and piques the interests of your customers begins with conducting in-depth research to uncover what you otherwise might be guessing at. The tighter the bond you can develop with your customers, the better you’ll be able to create designs that keep them fully engaged. Almost half of all design leaders (46 percent) cite an emotional connection with customers as a defining characteristic of an advanced design practice.

UX Research skills training introduces designers to the vital process of researching user preference in a structured manner. The course provides an overview of UX research concepts and methodologies, why UX research is necessary in today’s digital world and how it can significantly impact business outcomes. Learners are empowered to know how to gather extensive information on user behavior, map user journeys and analyze competitive products to generate a compelling user experience. The ultimate goal is to better understand what users want, think, feel and say when they use your products.

3. UX Interaction Design

Once you’ve mastered researching and uncovering user preferences, the next task is to learn to build designs that leverage the perfect interaction between users and UI. Customers will choose a better interface every time: 86 percent of buyers will pay for a better customer experience, according to one report. When your customers are inclined to interact and engage with your products more frequently, you can improve your brand and enhance market growth.

UX Interaction Design teaches designers the customer-oriented and prototype-driven process of user interaction. Designers learn usability principles, how to meet user needs and design best practices that add more meaning to products. Interaction design is intended to enhance your product’s scope and accessibility, and teach you to accommodate many potential users’ needs and physical limitations.

4. Visual Design

Building the most compelling visual design includes enhancing the look and feel, improving general aesthetics, and mastering color, space, shapes, typography, and form to forge more impactful visual connections. That’s what Visual Design skills training is all about. Learners are trained on visual design principles, UI patterns and the concepts of visual hierarchy, techniques for sketching and Photoshop, and building more impactful storyboards.

Consumers are inclined to navigate their way through an app quickly and effortlessly, so designers must focus on time-saving design tactics such as using effective navigation patterns and information architecture; providing content and features that are relevant to the context of the user journey; and creating a linear user journey that’s easy to follow. If consumers like the design they’ll stay engaged longer. Average session length is 70 percent longer and bounce rates 35 percent lower with faster performing apps and sites.

Conclusion

Whether it’s leveraging the trends of bottom sheets or swipe up gestures in mobile apps, or developing an anticipatory design that predicts and meets user needs at just the right time, your designers can learn to stay ahead of the curve on design principles with these UX and design thinking learning paths.

About the Author

Stuart RauchStuart Rauch

Stuart Rauch is a 25-year product marketing veteran and president of ContentBox Marketing Inc. He has run marketing organizations at several enterprise software companies, including NetSuite, Oracle, PeopleSoft, EVault and Secure Computing. Stuart is a specialist in content development and brings a unique blend of creativity, linguistic acumen and product knowledge to his clients in the technology space.

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