Job descriptions and industry overviews

UX designer: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:40

UX designers make websites, apps and other products easy and enjoyable for customers to use.

The picture shows UX design on a website

What does a UX designer do? Salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Skills

UX (user experience) designers measure and optimise applications (usually web based) to improve ease of use (usability), and create the best user experience by exploring many different approaches to solve end-users’ problems - conducting in-person user tests to observe behaviour, for example. They then refine apps, software and websites with the aim of creating products that people find easy to use and that meet the company’s goals.

A similar role is that of a UI (user interface) designer. However, UI designers focus more on designing the presentation and interactivity of a product. Some roles combine both UX and UI.

For a UX designer, typical duties include:

  • evaluating existing sites and products for usability
  • working with clients and colleagues to plan and implement new UX projects
  • carrying out research into users’ needs
  • developing personas, user stories and other resources that capture users’ needs
  • using specialist software to create mock-ups and prototypes
  • organising and running user testing
  • making recommendations and planning changes based on user feedback
  • exploring and implementing other ways to gather and incorporate users’ feedback

Graduate salaries

According to the UX Design Institute (which analysed salary data from Payscale and Glassdoor in London, Manchester and Edinburgh) salaries for junior UX designers start from around £30,000. Earnings can rapidly increase as you gain experience: in London, for example, an experienced designer can earn between £37,000 and £65,000. This can increase to around £96,000 in some senior positions. Salaries will vary depending on location and experience.

Typical employers of UX designers

  • UX consultancies.
  • Financial services organisations.
  • Manufacturing companies.
  • Educational institutions.
  • Publishers.
  • Banks.
  • Specialist software development companies.
  • Consulting firms.
  • Telecommunications companies.
  • Public sector organisations.
  • Utility providers.

Self-employment is also an option for UX designers.

UX design jobs are advertised by careers services and by specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into UX design for both graduates and school leavers. Some UX jobs advertised ask for a bachelors or masters degree in a related subject, such as human computer interaction. However, other UX-related subjects are also valuable – for example, psychology, or graphic or product design.

To enter the profession without a degree, you could start out in another digital design role and specialise in UX when you have built up a portfolio of experience. Alternatively you could start by seeking a apprenticeships .

However you plan to enter this profession, work experience and a portfolio will give you insights into the work and a way to demonstrate your skills. Formal work experience opportunities are one option, but these may well not be advertised widely so you’ll need to make speculative applications . Look for online bootcamps and challenges, and consider voluntary work (it’s likely you’ll need to make speculative applications for this too).

Key skills for UX designers

  • Excellent written communication skills.
  • The ability to listen to and communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds, including other professionals, senior colleagues and users.
  • A logical approach.
  • The ability to think creatively.
  • Strong problem-solving skills.
  • The ability to work in a team alongside professionals with different areas of expertise.
  • Excellent coding skills.
  • Excellent organisational, time and project management skills.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Self-development skills to keep up to date with fast-changing trends.
  • Professional approach to time, costs and deadlines.
  • Willingness to learn continually and to apply what you’ve learned.

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