Experts agree -- all companies, regardless of industry, will soon have an in-house user experience designer. If you’re asking yourself how a seemingly niche position could become so prevalent, take a moment to think about everything user experience encompasses.

The User Experience Professional’s Organization has done a great job to define user experience design quite nicely:

“Every aspect of the user's interaction with a product, service, or company that make up the user's perceptions of the whole. User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UE works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users.”

By that definition, user experience is broad enough to be needed in every corner of every industry.

How to Hire a UX Designer

Depending on the pace and culture of your workplace, there are several considerations when hiring a user experience designer. For most, however, there are definitive red flags and game changers. Here are a couple that we consider to be patent for hiring a UX designer:

  • Portfolio: Generally, a solid portfolio is a sure sign of a valuable designer. You are the final arbiter, but modernity, complexity, and technical proficiency should all be reflected in a portfolio.
  • Work history: If the designer in question is new, they may have non-related work history listed on their resume. An experienced designer should have more history, and also more relevant experience.

Another consideration is how a designer works. The interview is an opportunity to put this to the test. If you’re a hiring manager, have a senior designer tag along to ask industry-specific questions. Encourage them to collaborate and get creative during the interview, giving you and the senior designer a chance to evaluate their general ability and style, willingness to collaborate, communication skills, and confidence levels.

Don’t Hire a UX/UI Designer

Not only are the job functions of user experience design and user interface design different, they would be watered down if lumped into a single posting. Keep them as separate but vital positions to alleviate confusion of job function as well as potential for product success.

So, what’s the difference? The UX designer will conduct user tests, perform field research, create user personas, prototype and wireframe layouts, and even hold interviews with users. This is all necessary to deliver a product that engages the user positively throughout all phases of the product’s use. By contrast, a UI designer is concerned with interface layout and design, user interaction, and all things visual.

With the separation of roles in mind, current experts in the field recommend hiring a UX designer first, and then bringing in a UI expert to ensure the longevity of your product. The UX designer can guide the initial phases of development, solidifying a vision for the product. Then, the UI designer fulfills that vision through the creation process.

Sarah Baker

Brian Russel Davis

Brian is a Full Stack Dev/Engineering professional with nearly 17 years of experience developing web media for global brands, and executing outside of the box thinking.