A Day in The Life of a UX Designer
Lately, a lot of people have asked me about the life of a UX designer and what is my daily schedule is like. Since it is still a new domain, a lot of people who are not from the industry would like to know what does a UI/UX designer do. Honestly, every UX designer can have a different routine that would largely depend on their work and preferences. Though, in this post, I will make you familiar with a day in the life of a UX designer from my experience and by sharing the thoughts of some of my other colleagues.
Part 1: A Day in the Life of a UX Designer: An Hourly Breakdown
Although I work as a freelance UX designer, I try to keep up with my schedule to meet my deadlines. While some days I might overwork, other days can be relaxing. Though, a typical day in the life of a UX designer would follow this schedule.
The Morning Ritual: 7 to 10 am
I usually get up by 7 am and step out to inhale fresh air. On my way, I eat an apple or drink orange juice as I run for almost an hour. I have a habit of listening to podcasts related to designing and other interesting topics as I run. By listening to other industry experts in the morning, I get to know about new trends and be inspired to push the boundary in my work.
To continue my schedule in the life of a UX designer, this is when I come home and get ready. In the next hour, I catch up with some of my emails from the previous day and make a to-do list for the day. I also note down the progress of the past projects to know how I will manage my daily schedule.
Once I get ready, I eat my breakfast while talking to a friend or my clients on call. If not, I simply watch the news or some YouTube videos related to UX designing to catch up on other things. Before I start working, I make sure that nothing is pending from the schedule from the previous day.
The First Leg of Work: 10 am to 1 pm
The first thing that most UX designers do in real life is catching up with their team and clients. Since I have clients from different parts of the world, I mostly catch up with them via Skype. I keep making notes to make sure I have listed their requirements and what tone they want in their designs.
Once I have created a storyboard, I start working on different designs and projects. If I'm working on frontend development, then I simply use Sketch to create the user interface of the product. At times, I also take the assistance of Wondershare Mockitt as it helps me come up with prototypes and wireframes for different apps.
After working for an hour or so, I usually take a break of 10-15 minutes and stretch my legs. I check my phone and Skype for any pending messages and get back to work. You might already know what does a UI/UX designer do related to their work. I utilize this hour to apply my knowledge or brainstorm ideas. If I find something interesting, I usually collect it on my Pinterest board or save it on the drive. This time of the hour is mostly dedicated to working, looking for ideas, and creating baselines.
Since working on UX in real life can be tough, I usually take an hour-long break from 1 to 2 pm. At first, I have my lunch and make sure that I'm not looking at the screen to avoid unwanted strain. Afterward, I take a nap of almost 30 minutes to rest and give my eyes a much-needed break.
Working, Collaboration, and Reporting: 2 to 6 pm
This is one of the most productive hours in my day in the life of a UX designer and I utilize it by catching up on my work. This is where I focus on minute details of the design and render its output. To do this, I take the assistance of a tool like Mockitt that lets me preview my designs from the perspective of the user.
Once I have worked on my designs and other projects, I tend to share them with my team. Ideally, what does a UI/UX designer do has to be constantly shared with other people like project managers, copywriters, testers, developers, and so on. To do this, I use apps like Mockitt that lets me immediately share my work with others via their links or QR codes. I can also assign different roles to other people so that we can easily collaborate on the project.
This is mostly a brainstorming session in which I take notes from my team and extend the work. If I have to delegate it, then I simply create modules for UI interfaces and assign them to other people.
In this time of the day in the life of a UX designer, I tend to wind up my work. I implement the suggestions given by my team, clients, and colleagues to my designs. Thankfully, I use Sketch and Mockitt that lets me maintain different versions of my projects so that I can easily revisit and edit them.
Finally, I wind up my work around 6 pm and submit everything to my clients or my team. This is when I send emails or work on the daily reports. I also create other technical reports about designs and the understanding of the user experience regarding the project.
Working on Yourself: After 7 pm
Lastly, when all the official work is done, I tend to work on some personal projects. For instance, there is an Instagram page I maintain about user experience and I like to post something on the same.
Besides that, I watch some YouTube videos after work so that I can know about emerging trends and technology in my domain. If I have enough time, then I enroll in some online courses or learn a new tool that would help me enhance my UI/UX skills. This is because UX in real life is pretty different than what we are taught and we have to constantly learn new things about it.
Part 2: Reviewing a Day in the Life of a UX Designer
By now, you can see that the life of a UX designer can be pretty hectic. After working for over 7 years in the industry, I would note the following things for all those who would like to know what does a UI/UX designer do.
- A day in the life of a UX designer is everchanging
While I have provided an abstract idea on the life of a UX designer, it is not a final blueprint. There are times when I have to stretch my working till late nights while on some days, I get free before 5 pm. Ideally, it would depend on the present load of work and the status of the project.
- The life of a UX designer is based on collaborations
Since user experience is such a diverse thing, you would have to collaborate with a lot of people. For instance, you have to constantly be in touch with your clients and colleagues. From your manager to subject matter experts and developers to writers, everyone has to work on a project collaboratively.
- It is all about learning (and relearning)
If you want to excel in your career, then make sure that you keep learning new things. When it comes to user design and experience, new trends keep emerging almost every day. If you keep using the same technology or design principles, then your projects would be labeled as outdated.
- The Life of a UX designer can be challenging and hectic
After checking my review of a day in the life of a UX designer, you can see that the job can be extremely demanding. Therefore, you should be up for a hectic schedule if you want to make your career in user experience. Nevertheless, amidst your hectic schedule, make sure that you take some time out to smell the roses and enjoy the creative aspect of your job as well.
That's a wrap, guys! After reading my experience of a day in the life of a UX designer, you must be able to know more about the actual working life of designers. I have tried to answer the common question of what does a UI/UX designer do from my hands-on experience. Since UX in real life is also ever-growing and evolving, you must consider this as a constant learning experience. Feel free to share your thoughts on the life of a UX designer as well and what tips you have for other designers.