This professional ensures that the interaction between people and digital products is optimal. To train as such, it is recommended to have notions of design and programming, but it is not essential
The interaction that human beings have on a daily basis with the existing information systems in computers, tablets, mobiles and various technological products has led to the fact that, in the world of technology, research, business and design, it is granted more and more importance to the call User Experience (UX) User Experience).
But what does this concept mean? There are various definitions, but most agree with that of Nielsen Norman Group. This American consultancy expert in UX describes in an article on the subject that “User Experience encompasses all aspects of the interaction of end users with the company, its services and its products”.
For its part, the report State of the Labor Market in Spain 2017, carried out by InfoJobs and ESADE, indicates that UX “refers to all those aspects related to interaction with the user (regardless of the device), and understands not only the design but also the visual aspect, the quality of the content, the factors related to emotions, feelings that build the brand, as well as the trustworthiness of it. “
Therefore, a User Experience Designer (UX Designer) is a professional who ensures that the perception and sensations that the use of a product or service leaves in people’s minds are optimal from any point of view: ergonomics, ease of use, efficiency, etc., he explains Eduardo Huerta, Director of the Master’s Degree in Interface Design and User Experience at the ESDi Higher School of Design – Ramon Llull University (Barcelona) in an article.
“It defines the means, processes and ways in which people interact with those objects or information systems. That is, UX refers to what, when, where, why and how a person uses an object, product, or accesses a service, so it can be said that the UX Designer is in charge of everything that affects the interaction or dialogue of a person with a system “, he details.
Today, companies are aware of the importance of putting the customer at the center of your strategy and therefore they need to have professionals in User Experience capable of aligning business objectives with the needs of their clients. So this is a multidisciplinary profession of great relevance for organizations at a strategic level.
The profile of the UX expert: curious, analytical and adaptable to change
Have interest in deepening and understanding problems from the root, and curious to find out why and how to solve them, constitute key characteristics of the student who wants to train in UX, thinks Yusef Hassan Montero, director of Master’s degree in User Experience Design from the International University of La Rioja.
“You must be curious to know why and how, for example, each design decision impacts people’s behavior and reaction; or for know which research methods to use at each moment of the creative process to anticipate the user himself and his needs “, he adds Hassan, who is also director of the digital magazine nosolousabilidad.com.
To specialize in the subject, it is not essential to know programming or design, but it is recommended, expresses Patricia merino, graphic designer, web designer and layout designer, and currently a UX student. “If you have experience in navigation it is better, it will be easier for you to understand everything. Programming and design is not necessary to know. It is better, but if you do not have it you can still get the title. It is being easier for me because I have experience in design and navigation. There are others who do not have it and it is costing them more. “
However, other interviewees consider that having some programming and design knowledge is necessary to be able to train in this branch. “As a UX one must be aware that good design guarantees an effective visual language. All the work implemented by development teams must be possible, so having basic programming knowledge will allow you to create viable iterations,” he says. Stacy Prendeville, UX design and research consultancy.
“It is difficult to design the experience of an application for mobile phones, for example, if you do not have basic knowledge of information display and interaction possibilities on these devices. Specifically, it is not necessary to know how to design them graphically or program them, but to know what is can and what cannot be done to choose between the options and suggest the optimal one based on the circumstances, “he explains. Luis Mario Baeza, User Experience consultant in Mexico.
People who want to dedicate themselves to UX also need to have “a calm and open mind for user research. Count on good communication skills it is also essential “, he adds Prendeville.
A user experience designer is characterized by having empathy, as well as the ability to assimilate that you will always design for others. In addition, a UX professional must be an expert in analyze and synthesize information structures.
“Additionally, you must have ability to adapt to change quickly since, when you design for people, circumstances and preferences are not permanent, “he adds. Baeza.
Skills and knowledge necessary to be a UX designer
The UX has 3 big “legs”: psychology (to understand people), design (to define the interface and product or service elements between the person and the computer or mobile device) and computing. Thus, the person who wants to dedicate himself to UX should know a little about the three aspects and, according to his knowledge and role, specialize in one or the other, according to the sources consulted.
Given that by definition UX refers to designing for people, it is important to study or acquire skills related to their knowledge, their context and their needs, such as, for example, research methods, information analysis, communication, psychology, among others, affirms Baeza, UX consultant from Mexico.
Also required “skills that allow translating those needs to the scope of the industry of products or services to which one is going to design. For example, process design, information architecture, taxonomies, graphic design, interaction design, evaluation methods, among others, “he adds.
“Design is UX, and UX is design. In fact, UX is the most important thing that has happened to design in recent years. It has meant a change in vision, but it has also provided a large number of conceptual and methodological tools to improve the practice of design, “he says. Huntsman.
In summary, UX experts should have the following skills or abilities, according to sources consulted, such as those interviewed for this report and articles by specialists on the subject, such as Essential and Desirable Skills for a UX Designer or the Capire.org blog. about UX:
Courses, masters and postgraduates to specialize in UX
In order to specialize in UX, there are currently specific courses, postgraduate or master’s degrees in the subject or related. Some of them are especially aimed at those who have experience or training in design, graphic design, audiovisual design, audiovisual communication, multimedia productions, communication Sciences or other related disciplines. Professionals in both sociological and technical areas, such as psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists, computer scientists and programmers.
However, there are courses for anyone who wants to train in UX, regardless of whether or not they have the aforementioned prior knowledge.
Since it is an emerging profession, people currently working in this field come from studies such as graphic design, psychology or computer science. In reality, the options for formally learning about User Experience are quite recent and many of the current professionals in the UX sector have acquired such knowledge in practice, the sources consulted agree.
“A good course or master’s degree in UX can help introduce you to the subject, the software, the methodology and the concepts. It is important to dedicate time to study UX and then you can continue learning in practice at work,” he says. Prendeville, who studied Graphic Design and Multimedia, but has been dedicated to UX Design for 10 years.
What job opportunities are there?
According to the report State of the Labor Market in Spain 2017, carried out by InfoJobs and ESADE, in the 2009 there were barely 154 vacant positions UX related, but this profession has maintained a growing demand, reaching its maximum in 2016 with 1,018 positions. In 2017 there were 859 vacancies in Spain, so it seems that the related offers are beginning to stabilize.
“The Professional demand in UX has not stopped growing. However, from my point of view, the reason that should lead someone to approach and train in this profession should be the vocation, passion and curiosity for this discipline, since that will really allow them to develop their talent and grow in this sector “, indicates Huntsman.
Although still UX professionals are asked to know a little about everything (user research, design, UX evaluation, etc.), there is a growing trend in seeking specialized people, either in the part of research and evaluation with users or in the design part of the product or service, explains the Infojobs report.
“At the beginning Interaction Designers and UX Consultants used to be requested. As of 2012 they are added UX / UI Designers, and already in 2016 include UX Front-end Developer, User Experience Manager, UX Researcher, etc. This year no new profiles appear to appear in this area, “the report details.
For this type of position, the level of competence of the candidates is low, that is, there are 21 registered per vacancy (1 more than in 2016) and their average gross salary is 33,992 …