What Does a UX Designer Do?
User Experience (UX) Designers are responsible for the look and feel of a product, website, or app. They work with teams of product managers, UI designers, writers, and developers to create high-fidelity screens and prototypes that represent how the product will look and function once it's released to the public.
A few of the day to day tasks or projects you might work on as a UX designer include:
UX designers are grounded in data. This data is gathered when you conduct user research, where you collect data from your target audience and ideal product users and analyze it to empower your design decisions.
With this data, you can create user personas—or snapshots that profile user groups or types to help you quickly assess the wider needs of your users—as well as map out user journeys.
During these sessions, you can identify user needs and use it to help you create better designs.
A wireframe is a simplified version of an app or webpage, like a blueprint, that maps out where each design element will be placed on a page.
They're a quick sketch that allows you to look at structure, layout, flows, interactions, and more … easily shifting components around to arrive at a good decision before moving on.
The earliest part of any design process is to map out user flows and more.
Information Architecture (sometimes simply referred to as "IA") is the process of organizing, structuring, and labeling the content of a product to help users find information quickly and easily. In the context of product design, it involves creating a logical and meaningful structure for the content to help users navigate through the product in an intuitive and efficient manner.
UX designers incorporate the principles of information architecture early on in the UX design process to ensure that users can access the information they need, when they need it.
Learn more: UX Designer's Guide to Information Architecture
After the initial wireframes have been approved, the design then moves into a new phase: high-fidelity (or "hi-fi"). Here, the grayscale sketch comes to life with colors, typography, imagery, and interactions.
As a UX designer, it's typically assumed that you'll have the ability to create a high-fidelity design yourself, which is why UX Academy students learn how to take a concept from initial user research to final product, ready for handoff to a development team.
However, there are also specialized roles like UI Designer or Visual Designer that may take over this part of the process in companies with larger design teams.
Learn more: What Does a UI Designer Do?
Throughout the design process, a UX designer may turn the design into a prototype.
A prototype is a working model of a design that behaves similar to how it would when it's fully coded by a developer. It allows you to conduct usability testing without requiring coding skills, and is a helpful way to observe real user interactions.
Learn more: Best Prototyping Tools for UX/UI Designers
A UX designer plays a crucial role in usability testing, which is the process of evaluating how easy and efficient a product is to use. The UX designer is responsible for setting up the prototype, creating and implementing test plans, recruiting participants, moderating test sessions, and analyzing the results to identify areas for improvement.
Data Review and Analysis
We've already mentioned that product design is a data-driven process. As a UX designer, your goal is to collect meaningful data throughout the process, analyze it to extract insights, and then share these insights with your team to inform future design decisions.