Soft skills are qualities that involve people and relationships. They're different from hard skills because they let you work with other people, giving you an edge when it comes to getting a job.
As a UX/UI designer, you will often be working closely with stakeholders, clients, and other designers to take an idea and bring it to fruition. It's important to have a certain set of skills not just for getting the job but also to excel at your job.
By the end of reading you'll know how to improve communication with stakeholders by learning these soft skills, and what the future has in store for UI & UX design.
What are the most important soft skills for UX designers?
What is a soft skill? It’s the opposite of a hard skill. A hard skill is something you can measure with a test or certification; a soft skill is something you can only evaluate through experience and observation.
Being able to communicate with users and stakeholders, whether in person or remotely, is a crucial skill for UX designers.
UX design is a collaborative process that requires the designer to work closely with others in the organization — from marketing to development.
UX designers must be able to explain their designs clearly, concisely and persuasively. They also need to be able to listen attentively and understand the needs of others.
The ability to collaborate effectively will help you build relationships with your team members and clients. You'll be more effective at managing time and resources, which can result in better projects overall.
Feedback is a crucial skill for UX designers. They have to be able to give and receive feedback, both in their work and in their lives.
UX designers need to be able to provide constructive feedback on the work of others if they want their own work to be taken seriously. This means being able to accept criticism of their own designs as well as giving it out when it’s deserved. Feedback is an essential part of the design process, whether it comes from users or other stakeholders.
2. Active Listening
Active listening requires you to listen carefully to what someone is saying and respond appropriately, without interrupting them or finishing their sentences for them (even if you know what they mean).
It also means being able to reflect back what you’ve heard so that you can check that you understood correctly – this helps clarify any misunderstanding or confusion between you and the other person.
Active listening builds trust with clients and colleagues, which can help foster better relationships with them overall.
Active listening is the best way to get the most out of feedback sessions. Don’t just listen passively — actively engage with what’s being said, ask questions, and make notes about what you hear.
You can also use active listening during usability testing sessions. Watch how people interact with your designs, and keep a close eye on their facial expressions as they do so. Note whether they seem confused or frustrated by something on the screen, and ask questions about it afterward if necessary.
3. Open Mindedness
Being open minded is one of the most important qualities in a UX designer. It means having an attitude of curiosity, willingness to learn and adapt, and being able to embrace new ideas. This skill helps you avoid getting stuck in your own way of thinking and to be able to see things from different perspectives.
Empathy is the ability to understand others' emotions and feelings as well as their motivations and desires. It’s also about being sensitive towards others’ needs and concerns, not just yours or those of your team members.
Empathy can help you understand how people feel about certain things such as new features or products. This will allow you to improve these things in future iterations or designs so that they can be more useful for users and make them happier with them overall.
UX designers are often thought of as the “user whisperers” — people who can get inside the head of the customer and know what they want. While it’s true that you need to have empathy for your users, empathy alone isn’t enough.
5. Communication is the essence of a UX Project
Good communication skills are essential for any job, but they're especially important in UX design because everything you do is a communication experience.
You're not just designing the website or app; you're creating an experience for people who use it — and that's what good user experience design is all about.
So how does this translate into real life? If you want to be a good UX designer, then you need to become an expert at communicating clearly and effectively. That means:
- Being able to explain complex concepts simply and clearly
- Being able to write clearly and concisely (without jargon) even when it doesn't directly relate to your product or service
- Being able to communicate in different ways depending on your audience (for example, writing emails versus creating presentations)
6. Lose the ego
A designer's ego can get in the way of great communication. There's nothing wrong with being confident and having strong opinions, but when it comes time to explain your work, you need to be able to listen as much as talk.
If people don't understand why you did something because they weren't listening then it becomes your fault — not theirs — and that's not fair! So learn how to listen and explain your ideas without being defensive or condescending to your peers or clients.
Many people think that you need a degree in computer science or human-computer interaction to become a UX designer, but that's not true at all.
In fact, many of the best UX designers have no formal training in the field at all — they've just taught themselves everything they know by reading books and articles online, watching videos on YouTube and practicing their craft as frequently as possible.
"I think one of the most important soft skills is self-education," says Luke Wroblewski, founder and CEO of global digital strategy company Crowdverb. "There's no way anyone can know everything about every aspect of user experience design."
In order to convince stakeholders why they should take your ideas seriously, you need to be able to present your work in a compelling way. Presentations can be formal or informal, but either way they require clear communication skills that allow others to understand exactly what you're trying to say.
9. Understanding business values
UX designers need to know how to create solutions that align with the business goals and objectives. The more they understand about how the company works and why it exists, the better they can create designs that fit into its strategy and vision.
This means understanding not just what makes a product useful or desirable, but also how it fits into an organization's overall goals and objectives — including financial ones.
UX designers must be able to adapt quickly to changing conditions and circumstances in order to deliver on time, within budget and according to specifications.
They need to be able to think creatively when problems arise, come up with alternative solutions if necessary. Communicate clearly with stakeholders who may not have the same understanding of design principles as they do and accept constructive feedback from others who may have different ideas about how something.
How can I improve my UI UX soft skills?
Improving your user experience (UX) skills is a great way to enhance your career. If you’re in the middle of a career change or just starting out as a UX designer, here are some great ways to improve your UX soft skills.
Consider an Online Degree Program
There are many online programs that can help you prepare for a career in UX design. The best ones will provide you with practical experience along with theoretical knowledge. They may also help you build up your portfolio and find jobs after graduation.
Follow UX Experts
Follow influential designers on social media, such as Twitter and Instagram. You’ll get to see how they work and how they think about design problems. You can also learn from what they share on their blogs or websites, which often include case studies and tips for improving your own designs.
Build a Network
Networking is one of the best ways to improve your skills because it gives you access to the experts who can teach and mentor you without charging anything! These folks might be able to give feedback on your work during interviews or even offer advice on getting a job in their company or industry sector if they see real potential in your abilities.
For UI and UX designers, soft skills are the most important skills to have in the workplace. Soft skills will help you communicate with your clients, handle difficult situations and come out on top. UI and UX designers are lucky to already have a skill set that makes them well-equipped for life in the workforce, but if you want to set yourself apart from others in the field you will need to sharpen your soft skills. Once you have mastered these skills, you are ready for success in the working world!