The most important trait of a UX designer

I’ve been a UX designer for about 7 years. I originally thought it was only the UX designer responsible for defining the experience as well as coming up with all of the ideas. It was about 2 years ago when I realized that these two things were important in the process, but not the most important trait a UX designer should possess.

If you are the smart creative on your project team it’s important to help define and supplement the team’s ideas, but not direct them entirely. Allow the conversation to take place with limited interruptions. Allow the team to discuss, argue, and kick around ideas on their own while making sure they stick to the topic at hand.

So, then, what is the UX designer doing? You should be listening! Actively listen to the conversation. Listen to what your team members are saying and keep a list of the best ideas. Allow the conversation to inform your design. Don’t get stuck in thinking your design must inform the conversation.

Try to keep everyone on the same page and to build a shared understanding of the conversation by providing visuals of the conversation along the way.  Ultimately, try and ensure the conversation and the design match as the team progresses through the requirements of the project.


Think of the conversation as the first draft of your design and help the team share your understanding of the conversation by providing them with visuals that illustrate how you see the conversation.





UX Design Process

User experience design is actually quite new and still being developed in the industry. Early computer interfaces were quite simple in their design. Many computer interfaces were simply structured text on the screen with a single text input.

In my opinion, the hard part isn’t following the user-centered design process. The hard part is incorporating it into the development life cycle and agile process.

The industry has come a long way since the early text-based interfaces and who knows where we’ll end up in the next decade or two?

User Centered Design

Many designers in the industry have adopted a process that focuses each phase on the end user. This is a powerful method and will ultimately help the team design a great product for the end user.

Below are the steps needed to focus the team and project on the end user and will give you that crisp, clean design the stakeholders are looking for and ultimately want to experience. These steps are not linear and decisions need to be made on when to transition from one step to another or when to transition back to an earlier step based on findings. The steps are an example of UX Design methods that will help you design a better interface.

User Research & Analysis

If you’re a UX Designer, then like me, you’re probably a creative person. The early stages of the process involve discovery & analysis of several forms of information as well as creating your own data and information via interviews, observations, and workshops.

Concept & Interaction Design

After analyzing the research materials the UX Designer and other creatives, maybe the visual designer, should start to develop a conceptual design and user flow or journey to illustrate the conversation as it is at that time.

The designer should create user journeys, storyboards, or other creative assets to best illustrate the conversation. These assets should be used to help keep the team on the same page with regard to the problem the team is trying to solve and what a possible solution may be.

Usability Testing

The UX Team and Business SMEs should try and collect feedback as early and as often as possible. Ultimately, you want to collect feedback in an unbiased way. This can prove to be quite difficult but is vital to collecting good feedback.

My advice is to allow for the users to explore and use the design without any interaction with the moderator or members of the team. Allow them to fail and to struggle for the solution. Also, make them think aloud. Don’t let them silently navigate your design. Make them talk, by asking questions or simply by reminding them to speak aloud as they use the prototype.

Visual Design

I’m not a graphic designer but love this stage of the process. It’s at this point in the process that the design starts to become real, in my opinion. Once the visual is applied the end user can really get a sense of the design.


Now the design is real! Working with the UX Developers apply interaction and transitions in a way that finishes the story of the page’s final design. Consider how you want to information to relay the story to the end user. Make the final design speak to the user