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Keeping up with children’s career options

As a parent you might be wondering what some of the newly formed careers are. Head of Future Pathways Andrew Bray explores one of them, a career in UX Design... 

The world is changing at a fast pace and with change, comes opportunities that we may not even know exist. 

Mixed and augmented reality design is often achieved thorough specialist headsets or glasses, and in the future possibly contact lens type systems. This is an exciting area being explored by many of the larger tech companies, and offers opportunities not only for UX designers, but also those interested in the connected technologies such as gesture recognition and possibly neurologic implants. 

What does UX Design do? 

A career in user experience (UX) looks at evidence-based decisions that help to improve the customer journey and all interactions with a product or service. It investigates how potential and existing customers shop and engage with a brand, with the aim of improving the experience for the customer.  

With the increase in data-driven decisions being made across a broad range of sectors, businesses are always looking at how they can use data to improve their targeting, customer journey, and communication. This has made new career pathways available, and in turn, the demand for UX designers has increased. 

What skills do UX designers need and what will they be doing? 

1. Visual design and design software – Designing isn’t new, however the more sophisticated our understanding becomes of what customers are looking for in an online journey, is where individuals can add huge benefits to a business. A UX design agency will look at what colours, shapes images, etc resonate better with certain customers and tailor the journey where possible to the customer’s needs and wants. 

2. Research and usability testing – UX designers will research what customers want, but the advantage they have over more traditional methods is they can run an A/B test in real-time, e.g., driving 50% of online traffic to one creative and 50% to the existing creative. This allows them to conduct testing instantly and gain feedback in real-time. Gone are the days when you had to wait weeks or months for results. 

3. Prototyping, wireframing, user flows, mock-ups – A huge part of the product development process is envisioning what a product will look like. Depending on the stage of development, you might do this by creating wireframes, low or high-fidelity prototypes, mock-ups, or user flows. 

What do some of these words mean? 
Wireframe: A web page layout stripped of visual design used to prioritise page elements based on user needs. 
Online prototype: Allows businesses and UX design teams to run simulated user experiences before they have to build the final product or service so they can tweak, adjust, and amend in the development phase. 
User flows -diagrams: Help UX and product teams map out the logical path a user should take when interacting with a website or an app.  

4. Information architecture (IA) – involves effectively organising and structuring content. When designed well, IA helps users find the information they’re looking for or complete their tasks. UX designers can facilitate this by making it easy for users to understand where they are, where they need to go, and what’s next. 

5. Basic understanding of code and language – this isn’t essential; however it helps when talking with developers 

6. Teamwork, collaboration, communication, and presentation – these skills aren’t new, but they are still paramount in a job. 

7. Prioritisation and time management – Companies are often looking for UX designers who can manage their time and prioritise tasks to address the most critical needs first. You might be working on multiple projects (or multiple parts of the same project) over the course of a day. Practise staying organised and flexible in your current tasks, and you’ll set yourself up for success in the world of UX design.     

So how do I get into a career in UX design? 

Normally a degree in one of the fields below is desirable but not always essential:

  • digital design/media 
  • marketing
  • computer science 
  • graphic design 
  • web design 

With the increase in businesses offering degree apprenticeships, this will be an alternative route into this pathway.