Top 5 qualities for a UX

Published on the 16 August 2016

What are the most important qualities for a UX professional? Our profession is still a work in progress, and rich with plenty diverse profiles. Getting to know more and more other UX specialists, I was curious about the qualities and skills they may think are the most important for our job. I have conducted a survey research over the last few months to try and find an answer to this question, and gather UX professionals opinion on which qualities they think are important to work on this position. Main qualities in the top 5 include communication, empathy and curiosity…

Communication is key to help everyone understand each other, find compromises and ultimately lead to a better interface and good product adoption.

One of the most important conclusion that this survey reminds is that there are different visions and ways of being a UX specialist. Some qualities, like drawing and writing skills or technological knowledge, are considered very important by some, and at the same time not at all important for others. This can probably be explained by the fact that UX specialists (1) have very different backgrounds, and (2) work in very different contexts: what is considered UX can vary greatly between companies.

Though, despite our differences, the survey highlights a consensus on top 5 most important qualities for a UX:

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1. Good communication skills

70% surveyed UX specialist consider good communication skills are very important. The UX often finds him/herself between the technological teams, the project management, the client and final users. Communication is key to help everyone understand each other, find compromises and ultimately lead to a better interface and good product adoption. It is one of the most important missions for the UX to facilitate the communication between all stakeholders and guarantee that all opinions are taken into account.

2. Empathy

95% interviewees think empathy is an important quality for a UX. As a representative of the users, the UX specialist uses tools and methods to understand needs and expectations, that he/she will later be able to translate into requirements. These tools and methods are not sufficient, and need to be complemented with a real interest in the people we meet: only from genuine interest comes complete understanding.

3. Curiosity

As a UX specialist, we have the chance of being in contact with a lot of varied businesses and stories, each more interesting than the other. 66% UX specialists find curiosity is a very important quality. Asking thorough questions, even when not asking them seems easier sometimes, and not stopping before we really understand even the smallest complicated business rule, is a must.

Asking thorough questions, even when not asking them seems easier sometimes, and not stopping before we really understand even the smallest complicated business rule, is a must.

4. Imagination

The UX is often responsible to find solutions in regards with a lot of various constraints, either technical, financial or political. “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, used to say Albert Einstein. In this survey, imagination is an important quality for 90% interviewees, whereas technical knowledge is only important for 40% of them. Using skills and knowledge to imagine out-of-the-box solutions is often the UX specialist methodology.

5. Analytical thinking

From analytics to surveys, user comments and feedbacks, interviews, testings… the UX specialist goes through a lot of data and insight, allowing him/her to come out with the right solution. Understanding challenges and issues, and translating them into actionable problems, is the first step to solving them. 90% participants think analytical thinking is an important quality.

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Survey conducted between March and August 2016. 62 participants from all around the world, with varied experience and background contacted via Linkedin. Raw data is available on request.

 

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