Whether you're trying to snag a promotion or land your dream job, you will need more than just the basics to get there. It's time to discover how you can stand out as a UX/UI designer and dazzle the people around you.
UX/UI design is still a growing field in the MENA region, with new companies rapidly investing in this product-centric skill set. But the path from junior to senior UX/UI designer is often unclear.
Instead of guessing, we've asked three UX/UI hiring managers from Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq for their best advice on how to supercharge your career.
UX/UI designers always have a scientific tinge to their skills. While deeply routed in creativity, these designers are tasked with heavy-duty research and understanding the social and psychological phenomena behind their users' clicks.
Amr Kh. Hamad, co-founder of Miswag, a rapidly growing e-commerce app in Iraq, says that rapid experimentation is what will set some UX/UI designers apart.
"One of my friends, who I consider one of the best in Iraq, did a lot of iterations for six months to a year. He posted daily on social media." Amr shares how this UX/UI designer redesigned a website. And then redesigned it again. And again.
"He just did it for fun," Amr said, amused, "And you can see through those iterations how his problem-solving evolved with every change. And how in those designs you start finding the reasons, for example, why he put the button in that position."
With rapid experimentation, not only will you flex your problem-solving skills, but you'll hone your creativity to find endless solutions to the problems you face.
"Honestly, we contacted one portfolio just based on some micro-interactions and micro-animations they included in their portfolio," Rania Gharaibeh, UX manager at Jawaker, shared.
For the gaming industry, micro-animations in UI are particularly interesting. But more than that, spending time on these small details demonstrates a level of care and attention that is very desirable for UX/UI designers.
"It was so different. It stood out from the rest," Rania reflected, "and usually, people don't give attention to that."
If you're inundated with work, it can be tough to cultivate your creativity and curiosity. Who needs to know why when you have a deadline to meet?
According to Amr, curiosity is one of the most important qualities for product talent that gets ahead.
"I notice people who ask why a lot. It's as simple as that," Amr says. Amr finds that this simple quality is one of the most powerful indicators of a designer who doesn't just know what they're doing but questions it regularly and seeks to understand the world around them better.
Asking why? Well, it just might be your problem-solving powerhouse.
The work of a UX/UI designer is never really done. The product changes, and so do your users. What worked yesterday (and made people click) might not work today. This makes iteration an absolute necessity (psst, remember the first piece of advice here?). And that makes perfectionism an absolute killer.
"You have to be flexible," Amr warns, thinking of the number of people transitioning from graphic design to UX/UI. While graphic design praises the perfectionist, in UX/UI, it's debilitating.
"Avoid perfectionism," Amr advises, "focus on the problem, and find as many designs—no matter how they look— to solve that problem."
UX/UI designers are responsible for a wide range of activities. And if you want to stand out, it's easy to think you must master them all.
Malek Zalfana, founder of Bold Studio, a digital agency, suggests that there might be a shortcut to success for you: "If a computer does it and does it really well, use it."
Mastering tools is the name of the game, according to Malek. So if you're looking to level up, make sure to study up on some of the most popular (and useful!) tools for designers out there.
There's no one way of standing out as a UX/UI designer. There are so many paths and potential journeys that will supercharge your career. But there are certainly a few things that make your peers and even hiring managers sit up and take notice. These are only a few points to get you started.
So get out there and dazzle us all.
The project is funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German government.
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