UX Designer

Introduction

UX Designers control how a user interacts with a product or service through a website or app. Every step of a user journey through a website is the responsibility of the UX Designer. The ease of navigation, the look, the general 'feel' of the site, all of these things need to be designed and then implemented.

Also known as

  • UI Designer

Video: - Mustafa: UX Designer

Work Activities

Many of us now shop online and in order to be able to do this we need to use a website or app.

Have you ever noticed how easy, or maybe how hard it is to buy what you want in this way?

Your experience, as a customer, is dependent upon how well your user experience has been carefully planned.

UX Designers control how a user interacts with a product or service through a website or app. Every step of a user journey through a website is the responsibility of the UX Designer. The ease of navigation, the look, the general 'feel' of the site, all of these things need to be designed and then implemented.

As a UX Designer there are three main criteria that your design needs to fulfill. The system needs to be:

  • easy, fun and meaningful to the users
  • valuable and useful to the business - the company you work for
  • possible within the time and financial restrictions that may be placed on it.

In order to achieve these criteria, a UX Designer needs to:

  • understand fully your business or organisation. How exactly does and should it function? What are the expectations?
  • understand your users - how do their feelings affect their decisions and what are their expectations?
  • understand the technology that you will be using to create your system.

Once this groundwork has been successfully performed you can begin to work on your design process. This could include many different tasks, including:

  • designing a wide range of user experiences, including websites, mobile apps, in-store digital engagement services
  • creating design briefs, project plans, scenarios and storyboards, outlining the work which needs to be done and the overall, final vision
  • creating a prototype for test purposes
  • user testing - this involves getting users to sit in front of your website or app and asking them to perform tasks, while they think out loud, letting you know their feelings about the new system
  • measure the sucess of the design - how is it being used?

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

As a UX Designer, you'll need:

  • IT skills, including the use of design software, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Invision, After Effects, Premiere, Maya, Cinema 4D
  • great design skills
  • to be creative and enthusiastic.
  • methodical testing skills
  • experience with e-commerce and omnichannel design
  • the ability to work to strict deadlines
  • problem solving skills.

Personal skills - are you:

  • a great communicator? Are you able to explain technical and complex ideas clearly, so that non-technical people can understand?
  • an organised person? You may be asked to plan and carry-out several different tasks at the same time, and so you will need to prioritise.
  • a great team player? You will need to work carefully with people from differerent areas of the business, including management, design, production.

If any of these personal skills sound like you, then why not think about becoming a UX Designer!

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

Pay rates for UX Designers vary with the industry and responsibilities.

The pay rates given below are approximate.

Starting: £27,000 - £35,000

With experience: £55,500 - £60,000

High flyers: up to £80,000 a year

Hours of work

UX Designers usually work a basic 39-hour week, Monday to Friday. Working hours for self-employed designers may be irregular, depending on how much work they have. Late finishes and weekend work may be required from time to time, especially as deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Employers are large manufacturing companies and design consultancies.

Opportunities for product designers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced designers to work on a self-employed, freelance basis in consultancy and fixed-term contract work.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in design industry magazines/journals, on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.

It's a good idea to build up a network of relevant contacts, as not all UX design jobs are advertised. Making speculative job applications can also be effective.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

So, how do I become a UX Designer?

GCSEs

It is unlikely that you could become a UX Designer straight from school with just GCSEs. However, you could consider getting a lower level job with an IT or design company, and training on-the-job. You might be able to get onto the following apprenticeships:

  • Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media
  • Higher Level Apprenticeship in Interactive Design and Development.

See the subjects section, for a list of relevant GCSE subjects, that could help you to get in.

Or you could decide to move on to study A levels. In order to study A levels, you will usually need five GCSEs (A*-C or 9-4), or equivalent. If you intend to study A levels, then start to think about which subjects you would like to study. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd.

If you intend to leave education, once you have completed your GCSEs, you will need to start looking for suitable job vacancies. If you are under 18, you will need to find a job that includes training, part-time study, or apply for an apprenticeship.

A levels

If you have completed at least two A levels, including one in a relevant subject, then you will be able to start work as a Junior UX Designer. See the subjects section, for a list of relevant A level subjects, that could help you to get in.

Or you could choose to go onto university, to study a relevant degree. At university you will learn some of the skills, techniques and technologies, that employers need.

You could also choose to study for a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Interactive Design and Development, which is equivalent to an HND or Foundation Degree.

You will need to start carefully planning which A levels you are going to study. IT and Design based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd. Then once you are studying for your A levels, you will need to start looking for suitable job vacancies, or applying to universities through UCAS.

Degree

Many employers ask for a degree for this career. so now is a great time to start planning your route through to university. IT and Design based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd.

Progression

Experienced designers might become team leaders and then design or project managers.

Qualifications

Many entrants are graduates.

For entry to a relevant degree course, the usual academic requirements are:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4or above in 2/3 other subjects
  • English and Maths at GCSE.

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC Level 3 Qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

The BTEC Level 3 qualifications 'Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals' and 'Media, Design for Games and ICT' will help you to stand out from the crowd. See if a college close to you offers these qualifications.

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and Maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

A relevant background could include multimedia design and programming, computer arts and graphics, or website design and development.

Some business management skills are also an advantage. Skills gained in the advertising industry, for example, as a graphic designer, can be useful.

Access courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course, for example, Access to IT/Computing, could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Distance learning

Distance learning in web design, development and management is widely available.

The Open University (OU) offers a degree in Computing and IT, with Design.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Bring IT On

Irish enquiries

Website: www.bringitonni.info

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Tech Partnership

Email: info@thetechpartnership.com

Website: www.thetechpartnership.com/

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