A UX designer works on websites, applications and other software to ensure that the user experience (how a user interacts with the system) is as smooth and efficient as possible, by analysing requirements of users and designing easy to navigate and user-friendly solutions. They are sometimes called UI (User Interface) Designers.
You could be:
creating user stories and journeys, for example how a particular person might expect to use an online payment system, to analyse user behaviour
using specialist wireframing software to design screen layouts and the most efficient steps users should take (user journey flows) to complete a given process
presenting design concepts and user journey flows to clients, management and other team members
conducting usability testing on design concepts and amending designs if necessary
working on designs for multiple channels, including smartphones, tablets and computers
working as part of a project team with other analysts and programmers.
There is sometimes overlap between the duties of a UX designer, web designer and front end developer. Some employers treat each as a separate role and others combine them.
The figures below are only a guide. Pay rates vary widely, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary can be in the range of £22,000 to £26,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to £35,000 a year and senior or lead UX designers can up to around £70,000 a year, sometimes more.
If you work freelance, your income will vary, depending on the contracts you get.
You will generally work normal office hours from Monday to Friday, but might sometimes have to work weekends or evenings to meet deadlines.
You might sometimes have to travel to visit clients and spend time away from home.
You will spend most of your time working at a computer.
Entrants usually have a degree (SCQF Levels 9-11) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in a subject such as graphic design, web design and development, digital media, interactive media or human computer interaction.
Although not necessary, some Scottish universities offer postgraduate (SCQF Level 11) courses specialising in user experience design and human computer interaction.
For entry to an HND course you normally require 1-2 Highers plus some subjects at National 5. For entry to a degree course you need 4-5 Highers.
Studying for a relevant Foundation Apprenticeship while in fifth and sixth year at school could count towards entry of a course. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually require some subjects at National 5 including English and Maths.
You may need to do a technical test as part of a job interview.
There are jobs in almost all industries, including retail, IT, education, the media, central and local government, finance, the communications industry and health care. Jobs are advertised in the press and on the internet.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
excellent analytical skills
strong problem solving skills
creativity for developing ideas
an excellent understanding of web technologies and standards
excellent communication and presentation skills
a good understanding of how people interact with websites and web applications
an aptitude for logical thinking.
You need to be able to:
listen to your client's ideas and interpret them
influence people and decisions
work accurately under pressure and meet tight deadlines
understand your client's business needs
work well as part of a team and individually
keep up to date with new developments and technologies.
Training can be on the job with part time study.
You would usually learn or update your skills in specialist software, for example, in UX design tools such as Axure and Balsamiq.
After gaining experience you can move into a senior role and then management, overseeing a team of analysts, designers and developers.