Surface level skills? What do I mean by them and how to surf below at the lower level? Let us first understand what surface-level skills are, hard skills, or “technical skills” which we discover at an early stage of starting our career can be referred to as surface-level skills. It’s like exploring a neat and clean beach, or the beach that attracts you because of it’s “beauty” but without really knowing the presence of aquatic species in there.
Hard skills generally include the ability to use particular software, wireframing, prototyping, and finally coming up with a digital product that is both attractive and functional.
But have you ever wondered that the beach will be more attractive if we tend to have an in-depth knowledge of its surroundings, it will become easier for us to survive there for days or months? So soft skills play a similar role, they are like exploring your own character and then they become the major attributes of how well you interact with users or their needs.
Have a look at some of the layers required for you to reach till the bottom-
Writing or presenting your work is a part of your portfolio. I learned this with my first UI/UX case study that explaining your problem statement, about your users or the possible solutions to them in a precise manner is really an “art”. This will take you one step closer to interviews for your dream companies.
Here, I am not advising you to become defensive at any point. As a designer, you should focus on explaining the “why” of your product. Focusing only on “what” will lead you to re-iterations and too many changes after every task. Think twice or thrice about what you’re doing and be ready with a strong reason for it.
No, I’m not talking about how “visual designers” work but knowing the basic principles of design will be like a cherry on the cake. The principles of design describe the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art. This includes- alignment, white spaces, hierarchy. If this is followed, strong and effective deliverables ahead!
Do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you want to. Ask the right questions, try to uncover problems behind problems. After a generalized discussion on a particular topic and understanding what clients actually need, you will definitely come up with a better digital product. Mastering the art of asking the right things at the right time is an important skill.
Collaboration! Product designing can never be a one-man show so collaboration between different stakeholders- designers, developers, marketing team, and most importantly the users is a must. Engage yourself with respectful and insightful discussions. Take valuable and timely feedback from the required teams.
Be empathetic, if not for the clients be it for your users who will be using your product. Out and about, UX soft skills are at the forefront and always there to rescue you while you’re diving in and “searching for that perfect beach!”