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Beyond the Portfolio: How to Hire Great UX & UI Designers

By Kurt Brokhoff
Feb 2, 2016 10:30:00 AM


Ah, that amazing portfolio filled with incredible designs and graphics…in the world of tech recruiting, it’s pretty exciting to land on a designer who has incredible talent and a gorgeous visual portfolio. But while shiny, creative portfolios are fantastic to look at and can certainly provide insights into design style, many companies are blinded by this creativity when evaluating potential UX and UI Designers.

As we discussed in our recent blog post, Mobile Usability in Web Design: The Demand for UX & UI Designers, it’s no secret that companies that invest in great design consistently outperform their competitors. But when you look at the companies who are doing this incredibly well, you will note that it’s not because they have beautiful, clean websites and materials; rather, it’s because every product, every app, every experience they offer to their users has been carefully conceived by UX and UI Designers who understand the needs of their audiences. As such, the skill sets of strong usability designers must go well beyond the ability to develop amazing graphics.

So, as a company hiring manager or recruiter, what should you be considering when evaluating UX/UI Designers?

Peter Picone, Chief Design Officer at Half-Tide Designs and a member of the Graduate Professional Studies Advisory Board for User Centered Design at Brandeis University, shares some key insights with us that can assist with the hiring process:

“I have always told clients that if they can answer 3 simple questions in full detail, then designing the product falls into place easily, and lacking full understanding of any one of them is a problem (and will show up pretty quickly):

1) Who are your users?

2) What are they trying to do?

3) What are the constraints they are working under?

Sounds easy, but consider even a simple mobile banking app. Imagine an elderly user trying to take a picture of their check to make a deposit while riding on a bumpy subway train with a crowd of people standing around them with a complete lack of privacy. You can infer from this example that there is a large ecosphere of constraints that require consideration.”

Companies that seek talented interaction designers must evaluate candidates based upon their ability to analyze these challenges and then apply a user-centered design approach in order to deliver a product that is valuable to their audience. Great user experience designers go the distance to understand human emotions, motivations and beliefs surrounding specific tasks and by designing to support user behaviors, they create effective, satisfying systems that are likely to lead to increased sales and customer loyalty. How do they do this you may ask? Top usability designers employ a sound and repeatable methodology rather than just copying the latest trends – but that’s a topic for our next post so stay tuned!

Do you have specific questions about hiring UX and UI Designers? We’d be happy to help – send us an email at: solutions@eliassen.com.


Kurt Brokhoff

Written by Kurt Brokhoff LinkedIn

Kurt is a Recruiting Team Lead for Creative Services at Eliassen Group. Specializing in the recruitment of Creative professionals. He focuses on User Experience Design and Development of enterprise, B2B, B2C and consumer-facing websites, web applications, digital properties, mobile sites and mobile applications.

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