7 Essential UX Design Interview Questions*

What does it mean and what does it take to be a great UX designer?

The answer will help you discover what kind of UX designer you may be hiring, and while there is no right or wrong answer, a good designer should have a process which guides them to solutions plus, they should also be able to clearly articulate an answer demonstrating their knowledge.

Answers would probably include the discussion of areas that highlight empathy and a determination to design user goals for a digital product. Arriving there often means using user-generated data to solve problems; getting to a point where you can use data should be a UX designer’s goal. This means that a UX designer should strive to design surveys, interview users, create wireframes and prototypes that can harness data from a specific user profile.

At that stage, the UX designer would either validate or reject a hypothesis in order to iterate and move towards a human-centered design solution.

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What are the current challenges that you face as a UX designer?

One attribute of a great designer is the ability to critically evaluate their work in an objective way. No matter what stage of his career, there are challenges which every designer strives to solve in a meaningful and efficient way.

One challenge could be conducting user research in innovative ways, which can prove to be especially difficult for designers working remotely because they have limited direct access to their end users. Some UX designers may face challenges in qualifying their value and contribution to a project and may struggle to explain the clear value in testing, iteration and user analysis at an early stage of a product’s life.

Analysing data for the most important elements, and deciding what to focus on, might also be challenging, however good designers have a way of working on the most important element and creating that experience in a product for the end user.

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What is a recent project that you were challenged by, and tell us how you approached the problem?

This question should help you understand more about a UX designer’s process. While there is no right or wrong way to approach a challenge, having a clear strategy to facilitate an end goal helps a good UX designer with a working framework.

Often, when faced with a challenge, gathering extra user-generated data helps move a designer forward. Collecting that data might involve testing micro elements on the specified demographic in a format that makes the most sense at the time. This could include sending wireframes or prototypes to users to either validate or reject hypotheses, or it could be sending a survey to a wider demographic to better understand product market fit.

Potentially, a UX designer may start A/B testing and let data lead the way until they hit a roadblock, and continue iterating until achieving a satisfactory result. UX designers thrive on solving challenges, so a good candidate should readily share enthusiasm about how they approach problems.

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What is your design process? Describe what methods you follow?

UX design is a relatively new discipline, and is itself i rapidly iterated upon to find new ways of solving problems. This reflects an ever changing process and is a toolkit for a UX designer, so listen out for both a clear process and for a deep curiosity to learn.

Good UX designers will talk about a user-centric approach to design, which follows a thorough understanding of both user and business goals. This process should include competitor analysis, user interviews and surveys, content audits, information architecture and sitemaps, user personas, business model canvases, wireframes to prototypes, A/B testing to iterate small product features and even design elements.

By learning directly from users themselves, each of these tasks ties tightly back to the creation of a product that users will love when they use the product or service.

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Give me some examples of your experience dealing with usability studies, eye-tracking study, field study, or focus groups.

A good UX designer will help you design products that are accessible across a variety of use cases, from mobile to desktop, as well as a wide variety of audiences. Regardless of the specified end user, accessing a product is paramount to success.

During this stage of an interview, a UX designer will tell you about how they lead people during a particular phase of research. They should mention details of how they approached the organisational aspect, how they selected users, what kind of questions they tested for and how they analysed the results. While there is more than one approach to facilitating such research, the designer should have a clear description of her method, the size of sample required to gain a meaningful result, question style and interpretation of data.

Listen for a designer who understands how to measure appropriately by selecting the minimum number of subjects needed to gain a valid understanding of the research, as well as a UX designer who understands what they are testing and seeking to understand.

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What would you say will be the next big trend in the UX Design industry?

Listen for passion and knowledge. A good designer is going to be excited about this and his answer will help you understand where the current focus of a designer may lie.

A UX designer who thinks ahead will be an invaluable asset to your company. He may talk about new use cases beyond screens, or how designing for accessibility is an area of his interest. He may talk about new prototyping tools that save developers and designers time by converting design to code, or he may simply explain an evolving trend and how terrific it is to be at the forefront of technology. Whatever his answer, passion should shine through.

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What is your approach to making websites and platforms accessible to all user groups, including users with visual, hearing, and motor disabilities?

Accessibility is a huge topic for UX designers, especially as screens begin to shrink and we consume and engage in content wherever we go. Designing digital products to be used everywhere is paramount to a product’s success, and when our end user has specific requirements in terms of sensory constraints, design should be even more empathetic and facilitate interaction.

Testing becomes especially important and it should be comprehensive. An app or website should be simple enough to facilitate a clear end goal or process, and innovative approaches should be used to ensure a user can actually interact with the product. Some examples might include using Voice Over as a command to navigate apps for the hearing impaired, or using large, readable typography for a user with vision impairment.

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* There is more to interviewing than tricky technical questions, so these are intended merely as a guide. Not every “A” candidate worth hiring will be able to answer them all, nor does answering them all guarantee an “A” candidate. At the end of the day, hiring remains an art, a science — and a lot of work.
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Fabio Muniz
Brazil
Fabio is a product designer with 5+ years of experience working with venture-backed startups in NY, SF, and EU. He has designed mobile apps that were featured in publications and app stores, and websites with over 100k monthly visitors. Currently Fabio is also writing about usability for TestLodge and mentoring DesignLab's and Springboard's UX courses.
Jeff Shaw
United States
Jeff is a user experience designer based in Silicon Valley. His approach combines new design and technology trends with research and validation. He is a talented designer, a great communicator, and a reliable freelancer.
Marcelo Luft
Canada
Marcelo is a Brazilian UX Designer currently living in Toronto, Canada pursuing his master's degree in design at OCAD University. He has 6 years of experience designing interfaces for the web, mobile apps, and software.