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10 UXperts talk essential UX designer skills for 2018 - everything you need from organizational skills to smart technology and interactive prototyping expertise

10 UXperts talk essential UX designer skills for 2018 – everything you need from organizational skills to smart technology and interactive prototyping expertise

We’re coming to the end of yet another incredible year for UX and UI design. Intuitive interfaces have come alive in 2017 with advances in conversational UX and augmented reality, and tailored experiences are everywhere. It’s only up from here for UX/UI design – so designers, take your positions.

Now, with 2017 coming to a close, it’s the time to look forward. Justinmind asked 10 UXperts what UX designer skills are going to be essential next year. Here’s the forecast for UX design success in 2018:

Lee Wells on combining UX design with project management

Lee is Lead Interaction Designer at Humana

I think the ability to be a Design Project Manager is essential for many business areas moving forward. One of the big issues I have seen with UX/UI specialists in the past is that they can’t let go of the 100% perfect picture and understand the company they are working for. Limitation such as time, money, legacy, are never good and always throw a wrench into things; but they are part of the process and need to be truly understood and accounted for.

So what are the essential skills for UX designers? Learn how to use these things to your advantage when planning and designing. A true Design Project Manager can see all aspects of a project and help to plan and design for the best outcome that the surrounding variables will allow.

Kenny Chen on building personalized user experiences

Kenny is Director of UX Design at Bankrate

Artificial intelligence is getting smarter and more powerful. Being able to understand and use the data to create a more personalized experience will be in high demand.

We are already seeing chatbots and invisible interfaces make its way into our lives. UX writing becomes that much more important in helping establish personality and brand. Designing for voice UI and conversational UX are other UX designer skills worth investing in.


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Tiago Marques on keeping UX design personal

Tiago is Senior UX Designer for Lloyds Banking Group

Put the skills bit aside for a second. What conversations would YOU like to be having next year, or in five years, ten years? What kind of places, projects and environments would you like to working in? With what kind of people? Answer these questions truthfully and you’ll surface the skills aligned with your aspirational self, the ones that you really crave to learn as well as the opportunities around you to develop them.

Since I was a kid I wanted to be a storyteller and inspire people. In my childhood and teens I did comics, illustration and animation, then fell in love with interactive media, usability and UX processes at university. Later eLearning, then mobile technology, and now financial services design and public speaking.  Make sure you learn something because it’s relevant to you, not just because you can or the market says you should. 

The skills and knowledge you need to acquire change, your calling doesn’t. Once you’ve found your calling, then you can start to think about the skills to become a great UI/UX designer.

Nick Babich on prototyping tools in UX design in 2018

Nick is a UX specialist and Editor-in-chief of UX Planet Medium publication

I believe the skill of using tools (such as tools for design and prototyping) will be essential for UX designers in 2018. Also, the UX designer skills of interaction with real users (especially for UX designers who want to move to product designer role).

Boris Iglesias says UX designers need to know about smart technology

Boris is a UX Consultant at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

With the convergence of Tesla Model 3, smartphone integration and driver-less cars, it’s an exciting space to monitor, UXers must learn to react quickly at spotting trends and user behavior.

Arun George on voice user interface design

Arun is a Voice UX Consultant at VoxGen

Conversational design dialog writing, user-centered design process for Voice, VR, AR, cross-channel integration are all important UX designer skills that will be sought after in coming years. In fact, I’m starting to see a lot of job postings with the title, UX Writer.

Read Arun’s Voice UX guest post on Justinmind’s blog here.

Siraj Salim on hat wearing in UX design

Siraj is Head of UX at Science Navigation Group

Being able to switch between the designer and product manager hat is going to be an essential skill moving forward. I am a hands-on product manager and UX designer and I experience this every day in my job every single day. As UX/UI designers, we need to understand the following aspects of the product (there is a massive overlap between UX & Product v UI & Product).

  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Time and cost implications of our designs on the product’s go-to-market strategy
  • Understand the product’s vision so that we can offer a scalable design which scales up with the product and its user base. (e.g. if there is a screen which, for first few months, will only have 5 items to display but will go up to 15 to 20 items in the next two years; the design should be able to accommodate that)
  • Understand personas and how they would impact the business. For example; I recently came across a product with 2 groups of personas (group A and group B). Group A served the 80% of our users for the MVP and Group B would become more relevant after MVP. This knowledge greatly impacted the UX of the product.

Understanding these & such aspects of the product even before sketching screens on the paper would really help us design better and scalable products.

There is a great deal of overlap between UX and Product management when it comes to understanding the users etc; but there is a big gap which could be filled here and this would help designers create great experiences.

Robert Skrobe on self-awareness in UX design

Robert is UX Manager at Sabre Airline Solutions

Short but sweet: know your strengths.

Read more about must-have UX designer skills here, including user empathy and communication skills.

Andrea Picchi talks about having the right blend of soft and hard skills in UX design

Andrea is Former Lead Experience Designer at Sony Mobile Communications

In 2018 UX Designers will need to be versed in the following:

  • Problem-solving which requires abductive thinking.
  • Emergent leadership to drive and support multidisciplinary teams stepping forward and backward when required.
  • Storytelling to communicate the design hypotheses and inspire the stakeholders.
  • Plus, basic knowledge of technology, and business to stand the multidisciplinary conversation and being able to form the holistic picture that every design solution required in order to be fully articulated.

Sergi Arevalo on augmented and VUI as the future of UX design

Sergi is the UX Design Lead at Justinmind

There’s a lot that can change in the future. Take UX design. User experience is still not fully developed – it has yet to go beyond computers and closed devices. Augmented reality and virtual reality technology, such as voice user interfaces (VUIs), show us that UX is a hot topic right now.

As for technology that can be applied soon, I’m more inclined to learn towards VUIs. VR tech is complicated, and still needs to be widely adapted. As it stands, VR devices are still uncomfortable and unnatural. These technologies have a long journey to go before they’ll form a part of our daily lives.

A quote from Greg Madison form FastCo. Design comes to mind when thinking about this situation:

“For me, laziness is the better way to predict what will happen in the future […] We haven’t replaced the mouse and keyboard in 30 years, because with minimal effort, you can do lots of things. In VR, we need to think, it’s not because we can, but [because we] need to do that.”

How I see it is that VUIs will advance sooner rather than later. We already know about Siri, OK Google, Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. Amazon, for example, has begun incorporating Alexa in their Fire TV and Echo products. In no time at all, we’ll no longer need to look for the TV remote or fiddle with our car system while driving – it will all be done with voice.

Another interesting aspect of future tech is Chatbots, especially when it comes to customer service online. In a not too distant future, we’ll be able to talk with a “real human being” and companies can use this to add value to their services and offerings.

Cassandra is Marketing Lead at Justinmind

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