3 March 2016 · IT Jobs

Businesses are investing more and more in design, and UX (User Experience) is a big part of that growth. Jobs in User Experience (in its broadest definition) are highly sought after and, companies are seeking UX professionals to fill new roles as they aim to be design leaders and improve the overall experience of their customers.

This is good news for UX professionals and those seeking to break into the field, as opportunities are growing rapidly and transparency around salaries and benefits are more commonplace.

User Experience (UX)

Today’s web users are highly mobile, technologically savvy and more responsive to rich interactions with businesses than ever before. This has led to a growth in UX, both as a practice and an industry, as it strives to establish common principles and best practices to encompass all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with a business.

Due to its broad application across industries, jobs in UX often incorporate a variety of practices and establish relationships across different areas within a business. There are, however, key areas that UX professionals are typically responsible for:

  • User research – workshops, surveys, creating personas and other methods for identifying and documenting user requirements
  • Strategy – competitor analysis, content development, customer analysis
  • Wireframing and prototyping – wireframes, visual design, interactive prototypes for user testing and iteration
  • Usability – testing with users, accessibility, functionality
  • Execution and analysis – coordination with user interface designers and developers, tracking goals, analytics integration, analysis and insights

UX roles are certainly multi-faceted and professionals often change hats throughout the day. Nonetheless, they are always advocating for the user and the improvement of their experience.

Customer Experience (CX)

Similar to UX, Customer Experience (CX) concerns itself with the experience of the customer – the user who is considering, buying, and advocating a brand’s products. The major difference is that it deals with a much broader spectrum of points where customers interact with a business. The objective of a CX professional is to identify and improve these interactions across the entire journey, from consideration to purchase and, hopefully, to loyalty and advocacy. If a customer is having pleasant and enjoyable interactions with a business, then the CX professional is doing their job correctly.

UX CX

Although many UX professionals practice CX as a part of their job, the responsibilities of a CX professional can cover a wider portion of the business’s activities. This involves key practices such as:

  • UX design and strategy – follow UX best practice, customer requirements, prototyping and testing, evaluation and iteration
  • Customer journey mapping – workshops, customer research, identifying and plotting touch-points (interactions), aligning business goals with user needs
  • Testing and analysis – identifying issues or customer pain-points, measuring and tracking success
  • Program management – coordinating with internal and external teams, test planning, reporting and insights

To put it simply, UX sits at the level of independent experiences, for example the experience around a single touch-point such as a website or a mobile app. CX is the culmination of every experience and interaction a customer can possibly have with a business; it can often be the difference between success or failure.

Interaction Design

Unlike its forefather UX design, interaction design is about the creation of every element on a screen that a user might swipe, click, tap or type. Interaction design is focused on improving and supporting the individual interactions of an overall experience. Interaction designers are useful to any digital tech business, whether its web or application based. Interaction design methodologies rely on some key principles:

  1. Goal driven – design first, program second
  2. Usability – learnability, understandability, operability, attractiveness, usability compliance
  3. The five dimensions – words, visual representations, physical objects or space, time, behaviour
  4. Cognitive psychology – addressing user expectation, predicting movement, and affordance

All of these elements build towards a set of human interface guidelines, pointing to a sort of universal way of approaching interfaces and programs. Working as an interaction designer is certainly a craft and requires a good balance between technical and design knowledge.

Finding a job in digital UX, CX and Interaction Design

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