Monday, 17 August 2015

5 Must Have Soft Skills For A UX Designer.

Let’s be honest and accept that 9 out of 10 times an article pertaining to UX will talk about design techniques, skills and tips. However, the hugely important people skills are most often least talked about.

User Experience Design, as the phrase suggests is after all, all about the ‘user’. Not some ambiguous hypothetical entity but normal people like you and me. 

UX Designers have a lot on their plate and those who miss out on these key skills find themselves under-prepared for the role of a Designer. But, don’t worry we have you covered!

In this blog post you will learn 5 must have soft skills that will not only make you a sought after UX designer but also guarantee career growth.

1.  Empathy:
Designing for users means that you must be able to immerse yourself in the life of a user. If you cannot understand and relate to a user and his problem then finding the right solution for him will be a neigh impossible task and is one of the reasons that so many products fail.
Soft skills for user experience designer
Image: Todd Hayen
Designers must as a core skill develop empathy to understand how users behave in a given situation. He should be able to see things from their perspective and this can be achieved when he steps into their shoes. 

Since human interaction is central to the UX design discipline, designers must be able to empathise with and understand people.

2. Communication:
Design is all about communication. Communicating ideas, beliefs and thoughts and so communication skills is another must have for all designers.
Soft skills for user experience designer communication
Image: http://goo.gl/QWxrv4
Too many people labour under the impression that designers are aloof and live in their own world. However, in today’s high-tech world where design is an integral part of all products this misconception must be dispelled.  

A UX designer talks to stakeholders, clients, engineers and users.

Good Communication is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of outstanding designers.

3.  Presentation:
The fact of the matter is (and we can have another blog to debate this point) that a designer must also be a sales guy. He needs to be able to stand up and showcase his designs, defend them and then take a buy in from the other stakeholders.
Presentation skills for user experience designer soft skill
Image: http://goo.gl/M1H70R
So it goes without saying that if you can present well then you will sell well. It is not enough to make brilliant designs, although in an ideal world it should be, a designer must also package and present his designs to a wider audience.

However, it is not all for show. The ability to create a well-structured, impactful and succinct presentation also reflects clarity of thought and professionalism towards work.

Plus how cool is it to wow a roomful of senior management with your amazing designs and presentation!

4. Good Listener:
Remember how we talked about empathy earlier? You will empathize when you listen. Listening to someone to know what they want to say and listening to someone to understand what they say are two very different things.

Read that again.
Soft skills for user experience designer
Image: http://goo.gl/XCQ8X6
Being a good listener is immeasurably more powerful than being a good talker. Being a good listener entails holding back your comments and judgments & giving your full attention to the person talking. 

You will be surprised at how much information you can gain by just sitting back and listening while someone else does the talking.

Besides, one of the biggest advantages of good listening is that it will save you a lot of guess work later on in the design process.

5. Storytelling:
No matter what anyone tells you, always remember that designers are story tellers. People who tell stories will generally possess all the above skills that we discussed. 

They listen to people, empathize with them, communicate freely and then present their stories to the world.

storytelling skills user experience designer
Image: http://goo.gl/SfYICF
A designer especially a UX designer does pretty much the same. He observes, listens, empathizes and weaves a user story, and then gives this story back to his users in the form of a product.

Final word:
Is this the coolest job in the world or what? On a more serious note though, soft skills are just as important as technical skills especially if you are a designer working in user experience industry. 

Mastering these 5 key skills will put you firmly on the path to being an outstanding and a successful UX Designer.

What other soft skills do you think a designer in UX field must have to succeed? Drop us a comment and we would be happy to read it.


6 comments:

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