A User Experience Designer with multiple arms to represent all their different skills

Skills designers need today, still

I originally wrote and posted this back in 2013. It’s funny to me that I call out Photoshop and Fireworks then, which you can easily replace with Figma today. Proof that tools change but the core skills of what’s really needed for design stay the same.

Here’s the original post:

It’s not about the software

I’ve always been astounded at job listings and the skills they list when looking for a designer. Historically, it has not been irregular to see a listing that wants a designer to be a pro in PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Flash with Visual Basic and Excel as a nice to have. AS3 expert is a plus.

It’s never really been about Photoshop or Fireworks or any single software package, those are just the tools for the craftsman. There are skills needed that are software agnostic. It got me wondering; what really are the skills a designer needs to be successful in todays world? Here’s my quick list:

  • Interaction Design
  • Information Architecture
  • User Interface Design
  • Visual Design
  • Product Design
  • User Research Techniques
  • Understanding Usability
  • Prototyping
  • HTML, CSS, and some JavaScript
  • The Ability to Communicate Your Ideas
  • Analyze, understand, and solve problems
  • Empathy
  • Rabid curiosity

Every web designer will need a little of all of these talents and abilities. True Craftsman will be experts in one or some, and have varying degrees of general ability in all the others. Each of these could warrant a discussion and post, perhaps I know what my next 13 articles will be.


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