Soft Skills for UX Designers

Soft Skills for UX Designers

Question: What is the mandatory skill required for a UX Designer?

  • Expert in HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery
  • Clear prototyping wizardry
  • Creative visual design chops
  • Ability for removing the inessential

Answer: None of the above.

The much-needed skill, from my experience, is a toolbox of definite "soft" skills. Notably:

  • Compassion
  • Diplomacy and Negotiation
  • Common Sense

As a good website designer is not the same as being an effective designer.

Being an effective designer means more than just developing great web designs for the customers. You must learn to build the perfect design for your customers and your team. As time progresses the effective designer knows more to assess their work not by the design quality, but by the influence of what actually ships. That is what enables the effective designer more useful as a great design that sits on the shelf does not resolve the real issues.

Most of the seasoned web designers who work among teams have learned that their job involves more than just building web designs. The design typically that work required to be accepted by stakeholders on the business & achievable in a tight timeline by the professionals who will be implementing it.

As a junior web designer, it can be annoying to see the results of your work being settled for the sake of time constraints or disabled by technical restrictions. It is empowering to throw your hands up when this occurs and say "Well, I did my work" and complain about the lack of abilities and support of the other roles on the team.

But experienced web designers always focused to play the long game and aware that a number of small wins can beat a drawn-out battle about a single big win.

The following achievable skills can be precious in getting your concepts and hard work into the end result.


Compassion is a word that UX designers like to own. We "feel" for the client, we aware of their pain, we walk in their shoes, yet we know well that we are not the customer. We use this as an advantage in many of our design arguments. We are out of a job if the business can’t sell our product. "

UX Designer Caroline Sober-James counsels for a "reaching across the aisle" move to the developers in "How to Write UX Specs That Make Developers Swoon".

It starts with understanding the tasks and role of those we depend on and by following these 3 steps:

  • Swallow your pride
  • Focus on the big picture
  • Put your ego on the shelf

A wonderful method is to bring someone to your side to ask for help. This generates a shared investment in the result. Another method is to pitch yourself as someone who can make their task simple and easy, relieving them of ordinary decisions like what kind of user interface(UI) control to use and so on.

By trying to comprehend better what the other team members you can position better yourself as someone who shares their interests and aims, for the purpose of a better overall result.

Common Sense

Being the advocate for the customer your role is too obvious via the clutter of edge-case feature requests and technical playground to offer a clear picture of what the customer actually needs.

Cap Watkins writes Select clear over clever every time in "The Boring Designer" Being a design team leader, Cap estimates the designers who do not feel the demand to put their personal mark or succeed on their product, who identify the time & budget limitations may restrict what they can provide and who prioritize consequently.

For instance, do not afraid to support an existing, boring framework like Bootstrap if it enables with stable and delivers the product as soon as possible. Customers need real solutions instead of delight.

Diplomacy and Negotiation: Own the design

Being a web designer, your aim should be to own the design from ideas all the way via to implementation. That is the absolute realization of your role as the web designer.

Possessing the web design means that you are responsible for what that ships. It is your task to see it via to completion. If it is very difficult, hard to use then you are responsible. If it doesn't appeal design, then you are responsible. If it does not satisfy the customer needs, then you are responsible. It is a big weight, but that is the cost of the ownership. But holding it does not mean compelling it to the rest of the team. If you make their tasks harder and difficult then they won’t like to work with you. You require a team-first mentality and a soft touch.

This is not an easy task. You will face push-back along the way. You'll feel at times that other members of your team are your adversaries instead of your allies, but you cannot let yourself get stuck in that binary way of thinking. A successful release means that all people feel that they participated in the process. The effective web designer gathers the people together.

The smartest approach is to avoid "us vs. them" conversations when it comes to your web design is to frame arguments and decisions as exchanges. The Tradeoffs say, "Sure, we can do that, but here is what will happen if we do…" Exchanges align aims and get everyone on the same page as opposed to arguments, which result in a winner and a loser.

If they like to ship it without a vital piece, then you require making the case that will be negatively affected the experience. But you also able to reconcile. If they like to add a new feature that you think it is an unnecessary enhancement then tell them what is your opinion and what will be the result if they continue. Everything is an exchange when it comes to the final user experience. Structuring things around right and wrong won’t get you very remote.


The ideal way is to enable your mark as a UX Designer is to enhance the experience of products that are typically used. But you cannot do it on your own. You require to believe and depend on the people you work with to get the best products as a result. You can show your teammates and users the value you offer and delivering them a good working experience with you. This is how you can handle your role on the team by using soft skills, skills that will allow you in more than just your work.

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