In 1983, there were approximately one thousand UX pros in the world. By 2017, that number had reached one million. Granted, in 1983 graphical user interfaces were still a fairly new technology, home computers were rare, and the World Wide Web didn’t exist.
In the nearly forty years since then, all of those technologies have become commonplace in our lives. Combine that with the positive press coverage UX has gotten over the past twenty years and it adds up to an explosion in the number of UX professionals. That upward trend is expected to continue at least through 2050, with the number of UX pros increasing 100 fold, to 100 million.
While there are plenty of UX pros out there available for hire, not all UX designers have the same skillsets or mastery of the craft. Further complicating things is the fact that there’s a ton of variation in the quality, depth, and cost of design education.
Current state of UX design education
There are a few ways most UX designers come about their design skills. Some go through formal colleges or universities, though this can be a time-consuming and expensive process. It’s also inaccessible to many adult learners who can’t take the time off from their careers or families to attend school full-time.
The quality of university programs varies greatly. The issue, too, with such long programs is that because technology changes so quickly, things that are taught in the first year can be outdated by the time a student graduates. Because of this, they tend to focus more on the theoretical side of design education, which can lead designers to wonder how to implement those theories in the designs they create.
Other UX professionals go through bootcamp-style training programs. While these are generally less time-consuming and expensive than a traditional university, they do still require a fairly significant investment. And not all bootcamps are created equal. Some are done in-person while others are online. Some are in-depth and teach both theory and practical skills while some focus primarily on the practical skills without spending as much time on theory.
One of the big issues with both bootcamps and degree programs is that they have a finite endpoint. They don’t support lifelong learning for their graduates, which means the designer is left on their own to figure out how to keep their skills up to date for the rest of their careers.
Finally, there are UX designers who are largely self-taught, finding the knowledge they need online or in books. They may do this through reading articles, following tutorials, and through individual courses. While this approach can be incredibly effective, it also leads to a huge variation in the levels of knowledge and skill among self-taught designers.
Because self-taught designers have to figure out what they need to know, as well as how to learn those things, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to become a proficient UX designer. And it can be even more difficult to prove that proficiency to potential employers without certifications or degrees.
How Uxcel fits in
Uxcel has tools to assist both designers and those who hire them. Whether you're just starting out in your career or have years of experience, Uxcel can assist you in figuring out where your strengths and growth opportunities lie. And for employers, having resources to assess a designer's skill set is an invaluable tool that can save time and money in the hiring process.
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On the UX designer side, Uxcel makes learning fun, easy, and interactive. As one designer and front end developer said, “In short, Uxcel is the Duolingo of learning UX/UI.” All the fluff that can appear in other learning resources is removed. Plus, Uxcel allows designers who have some experience and knowledge already to test their skills, figure out where they can improve their abilities, and where their strengths may lie.
Uxcel also provides a platform for lifelong learning for UX designers. Designers can consistently assess where their skills are strongest and take courses or study individual lessons to further strengthen their skill set. Since self-assessment is difficult for many designers, the ability to get an objective measure of where your strengths lie and where there’s room for growth is hugely helpful. You won’t spend time rehashing information you’re already familiar with, and can instead focus exactly on what you need to.
Lifelong learning and your skill assessments are visible on your professional profile, showcasing your skills. Showing the way you’ve scored on various assessments is proof of your expertise and grasp of various UX topics. As one user put it, “Practicing and acquiring UI / UX skills through Uxcel made it possible for me to compete for more job openings with confidence and today I work as a Front End Developer.”
Uxcel for Teams
Solitary UX pros aren’t the only ones who can benefit from Uxcel’s learning platforms. Uxcel for Teams offers companies and design teams the ability to assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement and learn together. When design teams know where each team member’s skill set fits within the design process, they can work more effectively together, making sure that the design team is well-rounded.
Imagine knowing exactly which team members had the best grasp of typography or user research or accessibility or color theory. It would allow designers to work on the parts of a project where they’re strongest. And it shows where a designer’s skills are at a lower level so they know exactly where to improve (and gives them a way to do that!).
It’s not just designers that benefit from Uxcel. Any product-focused team can benefit from a better grasp of UX. As one business analyst said, “Uxcel is an awesome product to lead the path to craft even more awesome ones! So far I've been using it to inspire my team and underline attention to detail.”
Uxcel for Hiring
On the employer side, Uxcel can offer a comprehensive way to test the skills of designers you’re considering hiring, including those who might have an impressive portfolio or years of experience. A portfolio alone doesn’t give you insight into how a designer works, what their process might be, or their actual understanding of the concepts they’re working with.
The same can be said for experience. A designer might have ten or more years of experience, but the depth and variety of the projects they’ve worked on can have a significant impact on the quality of their work.
At the same time, you could find a designer who has a limited portfolio or experience who has deep knowledge of UX concepts and would be an excellent addition to your team, but without a way to assess that knowledge, you might overlook them.
Employers can also use the knowledge gained through assessing your existing design team members to know exactly where there are gaps in knowledge and understanding. By assessing new hires for those specific skills, you can bridge those gaps and strengthen your overall team—and the products they release.
With the projected growth in the UX industry, designers and employers alike need tools and resources for making the most of that growth. Lifelong learning and skills assessments for designers and their teams ensures that they stay competitive and at the top of their game. Pre-hiring assessments ensure employers that the talent they hire will be a positive addition to their design teams.
Working on empowering millions of designers to become better professionals. Chief Executive Officer at Uxcel.