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Innovative Design Careers: How to Become a UX Designer

UX design, shorthand for user experience design, is embedded in our everyday lives. We experience it when we use computer programs, fill out an online subscription form, use smartwatches, and shop online. UX design influences how we experience products and applications.

UX designers develop a template for a phone app.

Yet UX design is nothing new. While innovative minds have been developing the principles of UX since the days of Henry Ford, a cognitive psychologist named Donald Norman coined the term while working for Apple in the 1990s as a catch-all for exploring the many aspects of user experience — from design and graphics to interface and physical interaction — according to UX Booth. Today, what UX designers do requires them to consider all aspects of how consumers will use a product or application, which involves research, modeling, testing, and even psychology.

Want to know more about how to become a UX designer and dive deep into product development and design? Read on.

What Does a UX Designer Do?

UX designers focus primarily on user experience in the digital realm. They imagine and research the ways potential customers will discover, familiarize themselves with, and purchase an item or take an action. To reach the end goal of the desired behavior, there are many moving parts. UX design looks at the entire process, beginning with acquiring and integrating a product or interface, and then optimizing elements of its branding, design, user interface, and function.

What UX designers do is work with a team of digital professionals, product designers, and marketing specialists to create great products that resonate with online audiences. The work of UX designers doesn’t end when a purchase is complete, however. Instead, UX designers ensure that customers have a positive experience overall and are able to troubleshoot issues that arise. Pleasure, efficiency, and fun are all important elements of what a UX designer works to ensure.

Ultimately, user experience is subjective. Different people come to a product with different needs and expectations. Generally, a successful design meets the needs of consumers in the specific contexts in which they use the product. An example of successful UX design is the iPhone, as a broad suite of products, which has become wildly popular for its functionality, features, and ease of use.

Steps for Becoming a UX Designer

The path for how to become a UX designer is not always the same. However, it generally involves developing a number of skills that all UX designers need, no matter what products they work with or their industry. A strong mind for research, the ability to collaborate effectively, and the willingness to listen to feedback and incorporate it into future designs are all essential to this role.

Pursue an Education

Jumping into the technical elements of UX design can be daunting, but pursuing an undergraduate degree can give students confidence to work with computer programs commonly used in the field, such as Sketch, and apply high-level design elements to interactive prototyping and research. A starting point for a career in UX design is earning an online bachelor’s in digital media from Maryville University. The study of digital media creates inroads to many industries, but aspiring UX designers will benefit from learning the core principles of aesthetics, product design, consumer research, and ongoing product development.

Apply Your Skills

Key to advancing a career in UX design, and the best way to deepen one’s understanding of what a UX designer does, is to gain experience in the field. That may take the form of an internship during undergraduate studies or entry-level work after graduation. No matter how designers might choose to acquire real-world experience, applying concepts of design and methods of collaboration to an actual prototype is a worthwhile and rewarding element of how to become a UX designer.

UX Designer Salary 

UX design is an increasingly important part of e-commerce and the countless digital marketing campaigns and products that populate our newsfeeds. Because of the importance of UX design to business success, the typical UX design salary tends to be competitive. According to PayScale, UX designers make an average of around $73,000 as of June 2019, while the average UX design salary for more experienced professionals is around $103,000 (though salary can vary depending upon geographic area and other factors).

Employment Outlook for UX Designers

UX design is an emergent field with increasing momentum and importance. According to Medium, UX designers have been some of the most in-demand design professionals in 2019, while a survey conducted by software firm Adobe indicates that user experience is a top business priority for 87% of managers across the country.

Increasingly, even companies without digital products are writing design thinking and user experience into their business goals. As more commerce moves toward the digital sphere, UX designers will continue to be a vital part of ensuring business success.

Learn More About Becoming a UX Designer

Requiring creativity, collaboration, communication, and technical know-how, UX design is a rewarding career for those with a talent for and interest in design. Looking to the future, UX designers will become increasingly important to businesses, both online and off. Want to know more about how to become a UX designer? Get all your questions answered and take the first steps toward designing the future by exploring Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in digital media.

Sources: 

Adobe Blog, “Hiring Trends in UX Design: The 6 Things You Need to Know About Tech’s Fastest Growing Field”

Cleverism, “Why the Apple Design Is So Successful”

Maryville University, “6 Exciting Digital Media Degree Jobs”

Maryville University, Online Bachelor’s in Digital Media

Medium, “10 Inspiring UX Design Portfolios and Why They Work” 

Medium, “2019’s UX Designer Salary and Contractor Forecast”

Nielsen Norman Group, “The Definition of User Experience (UX)”

PayScale, Average Entry-Level UX Design Salary

PayScale, Average Late-Career UX Design Salary

PayScale, Average UX Designer Salary

UX Booth, “Where UX Comes From”

UX Planet, “10 Must-Have Skills for UX Designers”