Anna Hosie Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design User Experience

The UX skillset

Anna Hosie Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design User Experience

Clients vary hugely - from startups to large corporates – all with vastly different requirements. Therefore, a UX professional needs to be able to tailor their skillset to the client accordingly. But what is the ideal skillset to look for in a UX professional?

“A UX designer has to have all the skills of any designer, but also needs to focus on people - the users - not just on business goals, skills, or techniques.”

Personal qualities

The personal qualities of a UX professional are key to their success. If they can’t relate to and communicate with users how can they possible define the best user experience for them. Is important that a UX professional has empathy with the users, and also have the analytical skills to ask the right questions to really understand the problem. They should be confident conducting and facilitating interviews and/or workshops to gain insight into user goals, motivations and work patterns.

Research & documentation

A good UX professional also needs to conduct further research, including in depth competitor analysis, and use this to supplement the information they gain from users. They should then have the skills to document all they have discovered. Common forms of documentation are:

  • Customer journeys
  • Personas
  • Process flows
  • Story boards


Obviously another key part of the UX skillset is design. The UX professional must be able convert the information they have discovered into a solution and visualise through prototyping (and more) what the solution might look like. All possible scenarios that a user might take must be considered and solution designed to cater for all of them.

Design covers a number of areas including:

  • Information architecture – How information and content is structured on the site and how the user navigates around this information
  • Functional design - Design of the interactions and transitions of the website
  • Visual design - How the various components are visualised, and the balance between them and other components on the page.


Less obvious but still important skills for a UX professional are those that help ensure the success of a project. Being able to help the client with their strategic direction, as well as being able to manage the project scope and any stakeholders are useful UX skills. And don’t forget the value in being able to effectively communicate over email, phone and in person.


Lastly but definitely not least a good UX professional needs have sound technical skills. If they don’t understand technology, how can they possibly create an experience that is both good for the user, but feasible in terms of the budget and any technical constraints.

Common technical skills of a good UX professional are:

  • PowerPoint or Keynote for presentations
  • Visio, OmniGraffle or similar for diagrams
  • Balsamiq, Axure or similar for prototyping
  • Adobe Creative Suite for visual design
  • HTML/CSS for front end development

For more information refer to Essential and desirable skills for a UX designer