Developers: 5 Traits to Look for to Hire the UX Designer Your Product Needs

Posted by Sara, on January 3, 2018

You have the background and skills needed to tackle any back-end or front-end development job, but when it comes to the product’s design and user experience, it’s not your specialty.

To produce a product with a look and feel that will wow prospective clients, you know you need to hire an expert that can fill gaps in expertise, and help you deliver a high-quality digital solution.

But with next to no expertise in design and user experience, how can you comb through the talent pool and separate ok UX designers from those candidates who stand above the rest? We recommend you look for these 5 traits.

1. A Passion for Problem-Solving

Your product is a solution for something, and the best designers will have a natural curiosity that makes them crave to understand your product from every angle—what problem you are solving, why it’s important, and who the solution is for—before making any critical design decisions.

This is because they understand that a product should never be developed based on opinion. Rather, it should be developed to meet a specific target audience’s wants or needs. It should be developed to provide value clearly and quickly, every time.

Ask the job candidate:

Have him or her walk you through their typical design process. How do they approach a new project? What are the first steps that they take? Do they start with sketches and design elements, or do they first start by clarifying or redefining the problem the product solves and its intended audience?

2.  Analytical, Driven by Data and Research

You know the passion is there—they definitely aim to be a problem-solver, but do they have a proven track record of doing the work needed to find the right answers?

Your designer should be a person that prioritizes upfront user research and user scenario development. Why? Because this information can help designers learn about the innate behavior and culture of the target market, define greater context around the solution being developed (how will it be used?) and help determine which product features are priority.

Ask the job candidate:

Have him or her walk you through examples of projects they have done in the past that show how they identified key user characteristics on a product project, and then how they used these insights to inform design decisions.

3. Superior Attention-to-Detail

Small details can make big impact in product design. If one small feature is off, it could make for a usability issue that causes individuals to switch software or download another app. 

In a user experience all of these little details combine to make the overall solution’s look and feel work. All must come together in an experience that is both cohesive and immediately intuitive.

Ask the job candidate:

Consider questions that gauge how detail-oriented a person is, such as this one from online skills testing platform provider Skillmeter: In many projects, it’s important to keep records of details while still managing the big picture. Can you tell me about a project where you could do this effectively? How were you able to make sure that everything got done properly? How did you keep yourself focused on the larger goal?”

4. Adaptable, Flexible

Product design and development is commonly as agile as it comes, with the need to pursue multiple paths in parallel and keep tweaking possibilities based on new research insights.

Often, the first product concept is not the final solution.

Designers and developers have to be ready to quickly shift focus, be willing to let go, and be open to any and all product possibilities.

Ask the job candidate:

Once you have determined the perfect solution to a digital product you are designing, do you hone in and remain fixed on that set solution throughout the rest of the product development process?

5. Interest in Learning about all Aspects of Development

In physical product design, designers and engineers need to work closely and collaborate often to be sure the end product will look, feel and function as it should from start to finish. The same goes for developers and designers in the digital product process.

The more each understands what the other is trying to do, the quicker the team as a whole will be able to see the big picture and know if they, and the product, are on track, or in need of refocused efforts.

Ask the job candidate:

What aspect of software development are you most curious about? What would you like to learn more about?

Hire the Best UX Design Talent

Great UX designers have a passion for problem solving, are driven by data and research, have superior attention-to-detail, are flexible and have an interest in learning about all aspects of the digital design process.

As you begin assessing candidates, keep these traits top of mind, and ask the right questions to be sure you are gaining the talent your product needs to be successful.

Developers: Do you commonly look for these traits in hiring user experience design professionals? Which of these traits do you think is most valuable? Share with us in the comment section below