Skills Every Budding UX Designer Should Have

UX design is a field that’s always changing — the tools and softwares used, the guidelines for effective design, needs of consumers and clients — so in order for designers to build the best user experience, their “skill Rolodex” constantly needs to be up-to-date. Here are the current top skills all designers should know or be learning:


Nearly a third of designers already have engineering experience, but as the lines continue to blur, it may be beneficial to continue learning different coding languages. For front-end development, some examples are HTML, jQuery, CSS and Javascript. Thinking of design from a more technical/engineering perspective will also make the “designer-developer handoff” a smoother process. Research even shows that the intersection of UX design and coding may lead to a new field: computational design. 

Designing for Non-Traditional Devices

As technology continues to advance, be prepared to design as much for watches, eyewear and devices such as Nests and Rings, as laptops, monitors and phones. These devices require an entirely different set of UX principles. For example, designing for Google Glass would involve planning for the field of vision, new design patterns, sensors and other physical interactions. While this may not be part of the scope of your current job, it’s likely to in the near future. 

Voice User Interface

Voice-controlled devices, such as Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, are being used by nearly one out of every 10 Americans, and are already powering nearly 50% of searches, with both numbers only expected to grow in the near future. The UX of VUI includes keeping communication simple, adding verbal confirmations, planning for errors and heightening security. If VUI is something you don’t currently work with, you should start by learning about the “anatomy of a voice command” and the objectives of this different kind of UX experience.

Soft Skills

As different departments in companies become more integrated, and designers work more closely with the marketing, development and communication teams, it’s important not just to have the technical design skills down pat, but also the soft skills. Empathizing with the end-user, pitching design strategies, communicating with clients and stakeholders, teaching non-designers about UX, all require soft skills and are integral to the success of the product. 

UX Writing

This one might seem counterintuitive, but the best user experiences are crafted with a combination of writing and design. Even for designers, it’s important to understand how copy is translated between the writer and end-user, especially when you’re phrasing messages like app or onboarding instructions, error messages and calls to action. Strong copy and microcopy will increase conversions and continue bringing users back to your product.