UI/UX designer skills - cover

What Skills Do You Need to Check to Hire a Great UI/UX Designer?

Design, Product
10 min
Jun 22, 2024

UI/UX design is the cornerstone of product performance and success. Investing in building a user-friendly interface and easy navigation is no longer about an appealing image but about user engagement, conversion and sales rates, and even customer trust. The statistics confirm that 48% of people decide whether the company is credible based on the website’s usability. That is why not paying paramount attention to UI/UX design is a costly game to play.

Having skilled UI/UX designers on the team is worth the weight of gold. Real professionals go beyond building a design that just attracts people. They research user behaviors and needs and establish enjoyable communication between the product and its users. So, let’s dig into the UI/UX designer skills needed for building a thought-out design.

Finding a Suitable Candidate for a UI/UX Project: Emerging Challenges

The diversity of the work scope required for crafting a design that catches users’ eyes creates a challenge for those wanting to hire UI/UX designers. This and other factors complicate the search process, so be prepared to overcome them:

hire UI/UX designers

  • Estimating the designer’s skill set. Design specialists acquire numerous hard and soft skills. But they are not easy to measure. Even though you can see a portfolio with solid, precious projects, the candidate is not guaranteed to align with your specific needs.
  • Fitting the industry requirements. The designer might have impeccable technical skills, but failing to meet industry expectations can create inconsistencies between the specific solutions users require.
  • Implementing the newest trends. UI/UX realm aligns with the technological advances that occur rapidly and set new tendencies for design. Thus, when searching for a perfect position fit, it might be challenging to hire a person who is always up-to-date with the novelties.
  • Adjusting the budget to designers’ expectations. Talented UI/UX design specialists set high pricing policies for their services. So, budget constraints can become a decisive factor, especially for startup companies.

Essential UI/UX Designer Skills to Look for in a Strong Candidate

UI/UX design skills identify whether the specialist can craft top-notch designs, collaborate with other teams, and adapt the methods according to users’ and business needs. So, the first pool of expertise an ideal candidate should be experienced in is user research. The ability to investigate clients’ needs influences the relevance of the design solutions.

The hard skills required for UI/UX designers are proficiency in using design tools and coding. While the first part is evident for candidates to have, the latter can sound strange, but this is the coding that helps understand the application “inside kitchen” and plan design under technical specifics.

As design is a creative field, designers must be able to produce unique solutions. Every project poses new challenges, so addressing them with creativity is a trait of a highly qualified UI/UX designer.

Detailed Overview of Skills for UI/UX Designers

Before we examine specific UI/UX designer skills, it is crucial to identify the roles of those two professionals. User experience designers are responsible for providing smooth interaction between the product and the client. They focus on navigation, usability, performance, compatibility, and ease of product use.

User interface design skills are honed to shape the visual side of the application and provide interactive interactions. The UI part refers to aesthetics and functionality, ensuring users have all the needed elements to perform actions.

Even though UX and UI designer skills and scope of work are different, they unite in one goal: to deliver the best design solutions so that the product serves customers functionally and aesthetically.

Now, let’s look at the UI/UX designer skills described by categories.

UI/UX designer skills by categories

Designing Skills

The primary hard skills for a UI/UX designer are designing. But they encompass a diversity of disciplines and tools with which to operate. The first feature of those skills is the ability to craft designs according to visual design principles: color, hierarchy, contrast, typography, balance, emphasis, and others.

Tools such as Figma, Sketch, Balsamiq, Adobe XD, or InVision are indispensable in creating a user interface. Designers must be able to operate them easily to streamline the development process.

Prototyping and wireframing are essential for design success. So, good specialists should know how to create prototypes of different fidelity levels, test them, and use them to gain valuable insights and make data-driven decisions.

User Research and Empathy

Design is created for real humans, so it is crucial to build it so people’s needs are heard. That is why preliminary research of the target audience and its expectations is also a field of UI/UX designer’s responsibility. To conduct research, specialists should know and apply such methods:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Usability testing
  • Card sorting
  • Concept testing

Important skills for UI/UX designer at this stage are being empathetic and understanding of users’ needs. Specialists need to care for customers’ pains and make problem-solving design decisions.

Communication and Collaboration

One of the key soft skills of a UI/UX designer is clear communication. Whether it is interaction with users when doing primary research or with stakeholders when discussing ideas, the specialists must be easy to get along with.The scope of work for creating a digital product design also involves collaboration with other teams, such as marketing, development, or legal departments. The processes are interconnected and can not be done separately without cooperating with other specialists.

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

The design process doesn’t always go as smoothly as it is written on the list. When features have to communicate with each other, they might not function as intended. This and all other issues require quick resolution, especially when the product is already in active use.

Critical thinking helps UI/UX designers analyze their solutions. All decisions should be based on reasoning rather than assumptions.

Other Additional Desirable Skills

UI/UX skills should also involve animation skills, accessibility knowledge, and an understanding of content strategy. These are essential for creating dynamic interactions, targeting wider audiences, and aligning with marketing goals.

The research shows that interactive web design can boost conversion rates by up to 43%. People love to engage with animations that make browsing activities more enjoyable. Knowing how to create animated elements and build micro-interactions will not be superfluous.

Today’s design focuses on making it available to all users, including those with disabilities. However, creating a user interface for people with special needs requires expertise to address unique requirements.

Design is inextricably linked with content creation, built around information and visual representation prepared by content makers. Knowing what to prioritize, as well as SEO and marketing practices, helps to create consistency and clear messaging.

UI/UX Designer Soft Skills

Specialists can have impeccable technical skills, but your cooperation won’t go smoothly if they don’t align with your corporate policy and don’t easily integrate into the team. That is why, before hiring a UI/UX designer, ensure your candidate is on the same page as your company is. You can ask how the person would react in various situations and analyze if this experience suits you.

Even though this skill requires a technical background, it cannot be acquired without being empathetic, attentive to users’ feedback, and ready for continuous improvement. Prototyping is an essential part of the design process, which aims to discover how people interact with the platform before product release. Knowing how to analyze data and transform it into solutions is also a needed skill among UI/UX designers key skills.

Strong Portfolio — Strong Candidate

When evaluating the candidacy, the first sign of a good specialist is a portfolio showing solid previous projects. You can walk through the work with the designers and ask how they achieved the result. Sometimes, a portfolio might not uncover the whole picture but show a big team effort. That is why estimating the candidate should not be based only on the portfolio but on communication and analyzing the answers.

Tips on How to Make Effective Questions to Estimate Designer’s Experience

When preparing for an interview with the UI/UX designer, use these practices and questions to estimate the person’s competency.

interview with the UI/UX designer

  1. Craft a specific design problem and ask a candidate to solve it. This method will show how the designer is ready to take responsibility and cope with the task, as a portfolio doesn’t demonstrate that specific ability to handle the problem on the go.
  2. Give extraordinary situations to tackle. Play a little game: come up with conditions that have a lot of constraints and require thinking critically from a specialist. The candidates won’t provide the correct answer, as there is none in fictional situations, but you will see how they act.
  3. Prepare design-related questions. Ask if the specialists can think holistically, not only within their scope of work; what tools they use; and whether they implement AI-powered instruments.
  4. Check the creativity level. Present a project and ask the candidates about how they would build a design. Ask to provide as many ideas as possible. Thus, you will see if the designer can think outside the box.

Building a Dream Team: Top-Notch UI/UX Designers’ Skills

When selecting specialists for the team, it is important to identify UI and UX designers who have the following skills: a creative mind, a passion for providing the best user experience, a strong work ethic, and a desire to improve and learn continuously. People who have these traits will make great specialists not only in terms of design but also in terms of cooperation to achieve the best results.

As UI/UX design tendencies develop rapidly, the ideal candidates should always strive to be up-to-date with the newest trends and be ready to implement them in practice.


When looking for a designer for your digital product creation project, it is crucial to choose candidates with hard and soft UX designer skills. Ideal specialists should have impeccable design skills; be profound in user research; be empathetic; be communicative and collaborative; think critically and act rapidly when problems arise.

The search for candidates with perfect user experience skills can be easier if you turn to a digital agency. You can find ideal matches for your project who have the same mindset and can fit your team perfectly.

by Ivan Klyzhenko
UX Startup Advisor, Uitop


Is it difficult to find a great UI/UX designer?

As UI/UX design is a wide field that requires specific skills, it is challenging to find a candidate who meets all your expectations. However, knowing how to search simplifies the process.

What are the key skills a perfect candidate should have?

The ideal candidate for a UI/UX designer’s job should be able to easily design and operate design tools, be oriented in user research, be proactive and creative, and strive to learn and improve.

How do I identify if the designer is great at first glance?

Easily! Just look at the portfolio with previous works to see what kind of specialist you are dealing with.

What soft skills are required for a UI/UX designer position?

Idea specialists have to be empathetic, creative, collaborative, communicative, eager to follow company culture rules, dedicated to providing the best user experience, and open-minded.

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