In the UX design Interview, hiring managers are on the lookout for candidates who have the right mix of essential soft skills and hard skills. Apart from the intensive UX design interview questions, the interviewer tries to gauge the interviewee’s social and emotional skills like logical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, etc.
However, there is no sure shot way to predict an interview completely as it depends on the company’s hiring process and the hiring managers.
Nevertheless, you can improve your chances of securing a UX designer job by going through the generally asked interview questions. In this article, we have covered the UX design interview questions focused on you, your work and your process.
- What Made You Get Into UX Design?
- In your opinion, how is UX different from other design disciplines?
- Why Do You Want to Work Here?
- Show me your portfolio.
- Take me through some of your favourite pieces in your portfolio.
- What Was Your Design Process for These Pieces?
- What Are Some Websites and Apps Whose Design You Love? Why?
- What inspires you?
- How Do You Put Yourself in the Mind of the Customer?
- What Kind of Research Methods Do You Use When Starting a New Project?
- What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
- How Do You Handle Negative Feedback?
- What Experience Have You Had to Work in Design Alongside Developers?
Getting to Know You
When a company hires you, the hiring people want to know you as a person first before moving to technical expertise. They need to comprehend whether you fit into their company culture and goals. With this set of questions, the interviewer understands your personality, your motivations and how you operate.
1. What Made You Get Into UX Design?
While this is a common UX design interview question, it is an imminent one for those who are switching careers from other fields to UX design.
Answering this question requires honesty and reflection. What made you take up this career? Was it a workshop you attended? Did a friend introduce UX designing to you? Or was it your curiosity that led you to figure out how to make interaction easier for people with everyday technology products and services?
Sure, UX designing comes with perks of lucrative pay and no formal degree requirements. However, the answer to this question should show your passion and enthusiasm for your work as a UX designer. You can show that by talking about your qualities that are necessary for a UX designer job. Then go on to infer how these skills made you believe in this career.
UX designing needs a combination of soft skills and hard skills and you ought to focus on both. A few soft skills you can talk about are:
- Communication: Explain how you are a people’s person and are comfortable taking their feedback and understanding their requirements.
- Empathy: To understand what is being heard is easy, but to understand what isn’t said through consumer behaviour is a quality unmatched. Do mention this skill which helps you discover new ways to tap the target market.
- Problem Solving: Tell the interviewer about your innate problem-solving capabilities and how you are always on the lookout for better ways to make human and machine interaction easier.
- Innovation: At the core of designing is innovation. You can tell the interviewer about your inspiration, how and what drives your innovation. Feel free to discuss one of your designs that display the maximum innovation.
You can add more skills to the list that you feel are worth mentioning like presentation, collaboration, time management etc.
After the soft skills, it is time to focus on some of the essential hard skills for UX designer like:
- Visual communication: As designing is highly graphical, your competency in the visual language is obvious. You can mention things like how you are always particular about the layout, colour, icons, typography of the designs etc.
- Research: As a UX designer you must be exceptional in your research skills and should not miss bringing this point in the conversation. You can discuss how you have always been good at research and also mention your research methodology, for instance, how you use the scientific methods to test your hypothesis of the problem statement.
- Building Prototypes: Was it your knack for quick and effective prototypes that enticed you towards your career path? Mention the same during your discussion.
- Storyboarding: Designing and storyboarding go hand in hand. Display your passion for storyboarding that made you believe you could make a career of it.
- Wireframing: Recall the time you were introduced to wireframing and show during the interview how you instantly liked creating blueprints for screens.
2. In your opinion, how is UX different from other design disciplines?
There is a wide range of disciplines covered under the term ‘design’. These could range from engineering to multimedia design. However, the interviewer would want to know your understanding of product, graphic, UI, and UX design and how UX differs from them all. The best answer would be to define these design disciplines through the help of an example.
- UI design deals with the overall look and feel of a product/website or app. The themes, graphics, colour palette, the placement of buttons, scrolls etc are taken care of by the UI designer.
- Product design is the closest to UX design. Both of these follow the design thinking process and focus on user-machine interaction. However, the difference lies in their approach. While UX design focuses on making the product easier for the user, a product design will focus on achieving the functionality economically.
- Graphic design deals only with the visual aspects and aesthetics of the product.
- UX or User experience design, on the other hand, works towards high accessibility and over the art human-machine interaction. It is about designing the complete user experience for a particular product. This will include research, prototyping, creating wire-frames and visuals, user interface, information architecture, interaction design, etc. The primary goal of UX is to create exemplary products keeping users at the core.
For instance, consider this example of Netflix. The screen that you see on opening your favourite video streaming app is the UI for Netflix.
The UI consists of colour and layout themes, fonts, graphics, images, content, and other tangible elements. Different accounts for different user types are also a part of Netflix UI.
Whereas, UX of Netflix is defined by how efficiently you can access the app and navigate to your favourite shows. This includes how conveniently you can take a subscription for the account, the Netflix discovery experience, e.g., movie and show recommendations based on your preferences, easy navigation to where you left, popular shows’ list etc. Another great feature Netflix UX offers is to render a country-specific catalogue according to the geographic location of the user.
3. Why Do You Want to Work Here?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions not just in a UX design interview but in any other interview too. Through this question, the interviewer can perceive your work ethics and your understanding of the company.
Hence, you must prepare for this answer by researching about the company and its type, learning about its values and aligning your goals with them. Getting to know the company culture and work environments within teams will be an added advantage.
Is it a product company or a service-based company? Based on the company environment you can modify your answer like I have been an active user of your product and I would like to be part of the team that builds this.
Questions about Your Work
You will be hired based on what value you can add to the hiring organisation. Get ready with your portfolio. Revisit your designs, your process and your inspirations to answer this set of questions.
1. Show me your portfolio.
As UX designer jobs are not limited by education and previous experience, your portfolio holds great importance even over the CV. Therefore, be certain that you will be asked this question during the interview.
Your portfolio will display your creativity and your problem-solving skills to the interviewer. If you have worked on other design areas too, this is a perfect opportunity to showcase the additional skills to your potential employer.
In case you are new to UX designing and this is probably your first interview, a portfolio is the best way to showcase the skills you have acquired while getting ready for the job. You should start working on your portfolio as soon as you begin learning UX skills. So for every new skill that you learn, it is wise to do a dummy project or prototype that showcases that skill.
Design your portfolio in a way that even a layman can make meaning out of it. Also, to make your portfolio stand out, you should include the process rather than just the designs.
For example, you can include the user flows, sketches, wireframes, product style guide, etc.
Now the vital question is where to create this portfolio. Well, the ideal way is to maintain a personal website. Websites are a perfect way to create a brand for yourself and if you get a domain under your name, it is even better.
However, if you find it too tiring to build and maintain a website, you can use the following portfolio building hosting sites instead:
For any unanswered questions about portfolio building, visit here.
Alternatively, if you are unable to build an online portfolio due to time constraints, the best approach is to consolidate all your past projects in a pdf or ppt file. This way it is easier for you to present your work during the interview.
2. Take me through some of your favourite pieces in your portfolio.
Your portfolio might contain a large number of previous projects. However, the interviewer would want to focus on 2-3 of your best designs. This question gives you the flexibility to show them those designs that align with their values. You may also talk about the inspirations behind those designs. For instance, you designed keeping the target market in mind or solving a certain problem in a certain way. Do mention the thought behind this creation, talk about the problem you were trying to solve and how and why you solved it in a particular way.
Here, you won’t be evaluated on your presentation and designing skills alone, but also on how well you communicate and articulate your thoughts.
Therefore, you should be able to convince the hiring manager why these are your favourites; did you learn any new skills via them, did you experiment with something with the design which turned out well, etc.
Nevertheless, to give a well-thought answer to this question, you must prepare well in advance. Identify the projects and designs that you would like to discuss during the interview. Recall the project’s background, context, and thought process behind it.
3. What Was Your Design Process for These Pieces?
While getting work done is crucial, the process of getting it done is equally important. Explain how you approach design creation for a product to the interviewer.
The below diagram illustrates the standard UX design process:
If you were involved in the product definition alongside the product team and business managers, let the interviewer know this.
Next, talk about your research methodology. Cover the following points in your answer:
- How do you gain an understanding of the competition
- Whether you conduct the user interviews yourself or rely on a UX researcher
- How well you study the existing domain.
- How you stay updated with the latest design trends and technologies
Subsequently, you can talk about how you analyze the artefacts of your research. You might be doing this by creating hypothetical scenarios, user flows, experience maps, etc.
After analyzing, you move to the actual UX design processp. Here you can talk about how you create your designs based on all your research and analysis. You can speak about various steps of designing like creating sketches, prototypes, and wire-frames. Also, tell the hiring manager why you created a design in a certain way.
Lastly, you could discuss how you validate your designs. Some points to include are how you ensure the system is user-friendly, is flexible, easy to operate, credible and solves the problem at hand quite well.
4. What Are Some Websites and Apps Whose Design You Love? Why?
If the interviewer asks you this question, you must be ready with a thoughtful list of websites and apps that you appreciate. Do you like a particular app for an exceptional user experience? Or a particular website appeals to you for its aesthetics? Is it the personalization and customization that attracts users to this app? Ponder about all such points that make your favourite apps and websites stand out and inspire you.
This will show your attention to detail and your choice of designs and how well you appreciate the efforts of fellow UX designers.
Here are a few examples to give you a start:
- Google: Google’s UX design stands out for its simplicity. The single search bar makes it user friendly and focuses on the one functionality that makes it extremely user-friendly.
- Bit.ly: Bit.ly provides optimal performance to their users by enabling them to shorten their long web addresses. The users can enter the URL into a conspicuous bar on the home page of bitly.com. One of the important aspects of UX and UI is to be able to do things quickly and efficiently. And this website provides that seamless experience to its users.
- Duolingo: If you would have ever thought of learning a new language or improving your current language skills, you would likely have tried Duolingo at least once. The best thing about this language-learning app is that it is ideal for all age groups. A 4-year-old is going to enjoy it as much as a 40-year-old. It is built around gamification making it intuitive and fun.
Your UX Design Process
The hiring manager would definitely like to know what process you follow to bring out the best in your designs. So be prepared to answer all about your design process.
1. What inspires you?
When the interviewer asks you about your design inspirations, try including the below pointers in your answer.
- How you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies, e.g., certain design blogs, magazines, newsletter or an expert that you follow. If you have attended any relevant conferences, you can mention those too.
- What are your motivations, like an app, website or designs of any particular UX designer?
- Show your enthusiasm and openness to always keep learning. Name the design books that you have read and what lessons you learnt from them. If you have a professional mentor then do discuss how you draw your inspiration through your conversations with your mentor.
Here are some suggestions in case you are not already following blogs, or not have read books on the subject:
- UX Booth: Focuses on design and strategy.
- Boxes and Arrows: A blog on research methodology and design processes.
- 52 Weeks of UX: All about UX, including problems faced and best practices to follow.
- Springboard: Follow UX best practices, key design principles and career advice.
- Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- The non-designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams (Ideal for beginners)
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk
2. How Do You Put Yourself in the Mind of the Customer?
UX design happens to be the most customer-centric field. The rise of personalization and user-centricity has made UX design so special. A killer design can make a product a huge success while with a bad UX, the company can lose thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
The only success formula for UX designing is to get into your consumer’s mind. Empathy is one such quality that helps you truly get into a user’s mind. It is the ability to feel the emotions that the other person is going through.
Go on to answer this question is by mentioning empathy and also giving an example of how you empathize with your consumers to find out their pain points, the problems, and the solutions based on how they help your consumers.
Next, speak about how you conduct research or create personas to learn about the needs and wants of people.
3. What Kind of Research Methods Do You Use When Starting a New Project?
There are numerous methods to conduct your UX research. However, be honest and mention only those research methodologies or processes that you have used.
For example, you can talk about whether you rely more on quantitative research like online surveys, paper surveys, online polls, etc., or you prefer qualitative methods more like field studies, face to face interviews, and moderated usability tests. Next, tell them how you observe and analyze the competition and trend. Also, how you create personas based on the research findings to understand the customer’s needs.
You can also include in your discussion a research method that you wish to use and why, but can’t use because of your present company's budget constraints. Mention how you can bring benefit to the table if you are given a chance to work through this research process.
If your company has a separate UX researchers team, don’t shy away from mentioning that. In that case, you might not have conducted a lot of research, but still, keep yourself updated with at least a few ways of research. Ensure to make yourself familiar with the UX research process.
4. What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
You need to think strategically to answer this common question. Whatever weaknesses you chose to tell, you should position them as positive weaknesses. You may take the cue from the jobs description or the company culture and try to frame the answer in advance.
For example, if you are appearing for an interview in a “fast-paced startup”
You can mould your weakness as: “I get bored easily if there are not enough challenges at work.”
If the job requires you to work on multiple projects, say something like: ”I take on too many projects simultaneously”
Some other examples of positive weaknesses are:
- “I am too much detail-oriented”
- “I am a perfectionist which bothers me sometimes.”
- “I go overboard while helping others”
Similarly, you can think of some of the relevant points and the job you are preparing for.
5. How Do You Handle Negative Feedback?
The answer to this question depends on how good you are at handling negative feedback. Giving examples where you received critical feedback and utilized it to improve your performance will be a good way to reply. Also, add a point that you prefer to receive negative feedback internally than taking a flawed product to a customer.
Even if the negative feedback comes from a customer, you would need to think rationally and not emotionally as a good designer. Instead of getting into a fight or flight mode, ask smart questions to the customer to identify the underlying issues. Let’s consider that the client says “I do not like that colour”. As a designer, you would have to inquire why, understand the client's perspective and then tell him/her how you had applied colour theory here. The client needs to know that design is based on sound principles and not just on subjective opinion.
Additionally, here are a few more tips to handle criticism:
- Listen carefully when receiving feedback
- Ask clarifying questions
- Ask for feedback often
- Don’t act on your emotions by getting defensive
- View the criticism from the critic’s point of view
- Ask for time and apologize
- Resolve the issue quickly
6. What Experience Have You Had to Work in Design Alongside Developers?
Design and development are two important phases of the product life cycle. You can prove to your interviewer how you believe in integrating these two phases. This will show your collaboration skills and team spirit. Go on to say how you believe in transparency which is easily achieved by syncing design and development from the start. This way, both teams have a clear vision of the end goals.
Also, let the interviewer know how you are open to feedback and are good at building relationships.
You can also include an example where you have successfully worked alongside a developer, or where you handled the project to a developing team.
Whether you face the UX design interview questions mentioned in the article or other similar questions, just remember these following points:
- Be honest to yourself and the interviewer.
- Do your research well about the company.
- Contemplate well why you want this job.
- Don’t script your responses.
Good luck with your UX Designer Interview Preparation!
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