Aquent Aquent

The great expectations of a UX hire

In the world of digital everyone (okay, not everyone but certainly a fair amount) is talking about it. The penny has finally dropped. Businesses are fully embracing the digital upturn as user data becomes the new oil and a seamless user journey, an engaging interface, and connectivity with social touch points become paramount in driving revenue and increasing user dwelling times.

With the pace of this digital change we, our clients, and other industry experts are aware of the digital skills gap, and to bridge the gap, various short courses, seminars, and forums have been created to address the need for newly qualified UX, UI, and FED professionals to become ready for work on live client projects. But there is confusion on what makes a good hire and how to pick the good from the bad.

Actual experience

Picture this. You’ve just qualified as a brain surgeon. Do you rock up to the theatre, scrub down, pop on surgical gloves, and proceed to perform your first open surgery without senior assistance? Or do you proceed to shadow senior and experienced surgeons until you have all the knowledge and practical experience required for such a feat? I’m guessing you would opt for the second option.

The same applies when seeking a job as a UX contractor. Just because you have acquired six months of experience in the Interaction Design field, that does not mean you can or should be considered for a Senior Interaction Designer role. Even if there is a huge skills gap, clients need the right talent for their business needs. Your CV, portfolio, work experience, and references all needs to clearly demonstrate exactly what you are actually capable of.

Here we give you the distinct differences between three disciplines from junior-to-senior level. We hope this can clarify both client and talent hiring expectations.

Internship or Graduate Interaction Designer

Experience:
Zero years or completed internship, giving some professional work experience. This might be a graduate's first role within the industry.

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight, and customer feedback. Takes direction from a Senior User Experience team member and requires close guidance to deliver design work effectively.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Design - Required (with guidance) to produce design artifacts such as design wireframes, sitemaps, user journeys, user flows, and prototypes.
  • Research methods - Actively attends lab sessions, recording notes for relevant projects.

  • Data interpretation - Required (with guidance) to document data from analytics sources.

  • Best practice and design consistency - Required (with guidance) to document feature sets, user journeys, and UI consistency and document design patterns and maintain pattern library.

  • Technical knowledge – Proficient in software packages such as Axure, Omnigraffle and Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator. Animation and motion graphics an advantage.

Behaviours:

  • Understands who key stakeholders are and how to display appropriate behaviour
  • Developing good working relationships with customers, suppliers and colleagues across all relevant departments.
  • Provides basic information in a clear and concise way.
  • Good written and verbal communication and presentation skills with attention to detail.
  • Expresses thoughts and opinions clearly and succinctly using appropriate language and grammar
.
  • Listens and understands key messages and responds appropriately.

  • Uses a range of communication vehicles.
  • Is aware of how personal style may impact on others.

Associate Interaction Designer

Experience:
Zero to 2 years related professional experience in design-related role

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight, and customer feedback. Takes direction from a Senior UE team member and requires close guidance to deliver design work effectively.

  • Key Technical Skills:
  • Design - Sketching, concept creation, and wire framing, producing sitemaps and user flows, creating clickable prototypes. Works with user research teams to plan usability testing sessions and delivers artifacts for testing. Uses user insight, analytics, best practice, and competitor analysis to inform design decisions.
  • Design Specification - Delivers the appropriate level of specification needed to ensure high-quality development on time.
  • Data interpretation - Required (with guidance) to document data from analytics sources.
  • Best practice and design consistency - Researching and sharing industry trends, competitors, and comparable experiences. Driving and documenting design standards and patterns across channels and products.
  • Technical knowledge - Proficient in key software packages such as Axure and Photoshop. Sound knowledge of web and mobile technologies.

Behaviours:

  • Develops an understanding of who key stakeholders are.
  • Develops good working relationships with customers, suppliers, and colleagues across all relevant locations.
  • Provides basic information in a clear and concise way.
  • Possess good written and verbal communication and presentation skills with attention to detail.
  • Listens and understands key messages and responds appropriately.

  • Uses a range of communication vehicles.
  • Is aware of how personal style may impact on others.

Interaction Designer

Experience:
2-5 years related professional experience, or master’s degree and 1+ years experience.

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight.
Delivers design work on programs of any size with minimal oversight.
Effectively negotiates trade-offs with product management and engineering.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Design - Sketching, concept creation, and wireframing user experiences, producing sitemaps and user flows, creating clickable prototypes.
  • Shares work to get feedback and iterates thinking with continual review.
  • Works with user research teams to plan usability testing
.
  • Design Specification - Delivers appropriate level of specification needed to ensure high-quality development.
  • Collaborates as appropriate on creating user stories to define development tasks.
  • Planning - Plans own work executing against deadlines.
  • Finds ways to maximise the efficiency in an agile process.
  • Working in a team - Collaborates with visual designers, developers, product owners, marketing and content managers to define product experience and champion the user.
  • Best practice and design consistency - Researches and shares industry trends, competitors, and comparable experiences.
  • Driving and documenting design standards and patterns across channels and products.
  • Technical Knowledge - Proficient in key software packages Axure and Photoshop.
  • Sound knowledge of web and mobile technologies.

Behaviours:

  • Groups key stakeholder in terms of their interest and influence.
  • Manages them accordingly to negotiate win outcomes.
  • Is strongly focused on building relationships across the organisation.
  • Facilitates meetings to achieve rapid mutual understanding and agreement.
  • Translates complex information into simple language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • Possesses excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills, using appropriate business and technical language.
  • Is able to communicate opinions of the team within various contexts.

Senior Interaction Designer – Mid Weight

Experience:
5-10 years related professional experience, master’s degree and /or Ph.D. and + 3 years experience.

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight, and customer feedback. Leads design work on major programs, doing some of the design work themselves and providing oversight/direction to other designers on the program. Effectively negotiates trade-offs with product management and engineering.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Design - Sketching, concept creation, and wireframing user experiences, producing sitemaps and 
user flows, and creating clickable prototypes. Overviews work, giving feedback, and iterates their thinking with continual review. Works with user research teams to plan usability testing.
  • Design Specification - Delivers appropriate level of specification needed to ensure high-quality development. Collaborates as appropriate on creating user stories to define development tasks.
  • Planning and mentoring the work of other interaction designers.
  • Finding ways to maximise the efficiency of workflow between development and design in an agile process.

  • Working in a team - Collaborating with visual designers, developers, product owners, and marketing and content managers to define product experience and champion the user.

  • Best practice and design consistency - Researching and sharing industry trends, competitors, and comparable experiences.
  • Driving and documenting design standards and patterns across channels and products.

  • Technical knowledge - Proficient in key software packages such as Axure and Photoshop. Sound knowledge of web and mobile technologies.

Behaviours:

  • Groups key stakeholders in terms of their interest and influence.
  • Manages them accordingly to negotiate win outcomes.
  • Is strongly focused on building relationships across the organisation.
  • Facilitates meetings to achieve rapid mutual understanding and agreement.
  • Translates complex information into simple language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • Possesses excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills using appropriate business and technical language.
  • Is able to communicate opinions of team within various contexts.

Associate/Junior Visual Designer

Experience:
Zero to 1.5 years related professional experience

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight and customer feedback. Takes direction from a Senior UE team member and requires close guidance to deliver design work effectively.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Good skills in using
 Adobe Creative Suite packages, mainly Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Skills in motion graphics using After Effects are desirable.
  • Strong sensibility of best design practices for production delivery across platforms, i.e, desktop and mobile.
  • Knowledge of interaction architecture practices in UX and the ability to take wireframes through to well executed visual designs with supporting annotations.

Behaviours:

  • Develops an understanding of key stakeholders needs.
  • Develops good working relationships with customers, suppliers, and colleagues across all relevant locations.
  • Provides basic information in a clear and concise way.
  • Possesses good written and verbal communication and presentation skills with attention to detail.

  • Listens to and understands key messages and responds appropriately.

  • Uses a range of communication vehicles.
  • Is aware of how personal style may impact on others.

Visual Designer

Experience:
2-4 years related professional experience, or masters degree and 1+ years experience.

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight, customer feedback.
 Delivers design work on programs of any size with minimal oversight.
Effectively negotiates trade-offs with product management and engineering.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Highly competent in using
 Adobe Creative Suite packages.
  • Skills in motion graphics using After Effects are desirable.
  • Full understanding of best design practices for production delivery across platforms, i.e., desktop and mobile.
  • Well versed in IA practices across UX and possesses the ability to take wireframes through to well crafted visual designs with supporting annotations.
  • Ability to prototype designs using Axure and/or HTML/motion graphics

Behaviours:

  • Groups key stakeholder in terms of their interest and influence.
  • Manages them accordingly to negotiate win outcomes.
  • Is strongly focused on building relationships across the organisation.
  • Facilitates meetings to achieve rapid mutual understanding and agreement.
  • Translates complex information into simple language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • Excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills, using appropriate business and technical language.
  • Is able to communicate opinions of team within various contexts.

Senior Visual Designer

Experience:
5-8 years related professional experience, masters and 3+ years experience

Responsibilities:
Executing design work consistent with design and brand standards, analytics insight, and customer feedback.
Leads design work on major programs, doing some of the design work themselves and providing oversight/direction to other designers on the program.
Effectively negotiates trade-offs with product management and engineering.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Expert using Adobe Creative Suite packages.
  • Skills in motion graphics using After Effects desirable.
  • Complete understanding of best design practices for production delivery across platforms, ie., desktop & mobile.

  • Solid foundation of best IA practices across UX and the ability to take wireframes through to perfectly crafted visual designs with supporting annotations.

  • Ability to prototype designs using Axure and/or HTML/motion graphics.
  • Wider knowledge of new interactive technologies and techniques across platforms and industries to draw from to influence approach.
  • Good working use of PowerPoint or similar tools for crafting presentations up to board level, communicating ideas through visual design, prototypes, and motion graphics.

Behaviours:

  • Groups key stakeholder in terms of their interest and influence.
  • Manages them accordingly to negotiate win outcomes
  • Is strongly focused on building relationships across the organisation.
  • Facilitates meetings to achieve rapid mutual understanding and agreement.

  • Translates complex information into simple language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • Possesses excellent written, verbal and presentation skills using appropriate business and technical language.
  • Is able to communicate opinions of the team within various contexts.

Associate User Researcher

Experience:
Zero to 3 years related professional experience.

Responsibilities:
Building on previous knowledge with continued on-the-job training to begin assisting in running research sessions.
Writing up research notes, performing competitor analysis.

Takes direction from senior UE team.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Methodologies: Experienced in research methods - usability testing (lab), phone interview, focus groups.
  • Familiar with contextual/ethnographical study, remote study (online), card sorting, diary study, eye tracking, intercept surveys, participatory design, A/B MVT testing.
  • Software
- PowerPoint, Word, Excel.
 Familiar with Photoshop, Morae, UserZoom.

Behaviours:

  • Develops an understanding of key stakeholders needs.
  • Develops good working relationships with customers, suppliers, and colleagues across all relevant locations.
  • Provides basic information in a clear and concise way.
  • Possesses good written and verbal communication and presentation skills with attention to detail.

  • Listens to and understands key messages and responds appropriately.

  • Uses a range of communication vehicles.
  • Aware of how personal style may impact on others.

User Researcher

Experience:
3-6 years related professional experience, or masters degree and 1+ years experience

Responsibilities:
Planning and executing smaller-scale research projects, and drawing on research from various areas of the business: analytics, customer insight, help desk. Possesses good presentation skills and is able to present to senior stakeholders: has good stakeholder management skills.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Methodologies: Experienced in research methods - usability testing (lab), phone interview, focus groups. Familiar with - contextual/ ethnographical study, remote study (online), card sorting, diary study, eye tracking, intercept surveys, participatory design, A/B MVT testing.

  • Software: PowerPoint, Word, Excel. 
Familiar with Excel, Photoshop, Morae, UserZoom, Final Cut Pro, Tobii eye tracking, Axure, InDesign

Behaviours:

  • Groups key stakeholder in terms of their interest and influence.
  • Manages them accordingly to negotiate win outcomes.
  • Is strongly focused on building relationships across the organisation.
  • Facilitates meetings to achieve rapid mutual understanding and agreement.
  • Translates complex information into simple language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • Possesses excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills, using appropriate business and technical language.
  • Is able to communicate opinions of team within various contexts.

Senior User Researcher

Experience:
6-10 years related professional experience, masters and 3+ or Ph.D. and 1+ years experience.

Responsibilities:
Planning and executing any scale of research project, drawing on research from various areas of the business: analytics, customer insight, help desk.
Senior stakeholder management and presentation to the business at all levels, including board level.

Key Technical Skills:

  • Methodologies: Experienced in research methods - usability testing (lab), phone interview, focus groups.
  • Familiar with contextual/ ethnographical study, remote study (online), card sorting, diary study, eye tracking, intercept surveys, participatory design, A/B MVT testing.
  • Software:
 PowerPoint, Word, Excel.
 Familiar with Excel, Photoshop, Morae, UserZoom, Final Cut Pro, Tobii eye tracking, Axure, InDesign

Behaviours:

  • Groups key stakeholders in terms of their interest and influence.
  • Manages them accordingly to negotiate win outcomes.
  • Is strongly focused on building relationships across the organisation.
  • Facilitates meetings to achieve rapid mutual understanding and agreement.

  • Translates complex information into simple language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • Possess excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills, using appropriate business and technical language.
  • Is able to communicate opinions of the team within various contexts.

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