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How to Become a UI Designer

UI Designer Intereview Questions

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Once your top-notch UI Designer cover letter and resume have landed you an interview opportunity, you’ll need to begin preparing for your UI Designer interview. With UI Designer positions, the interview process can vary depending on the company and the role.

One example of the hiring process may be an initial call with a Hiring Manager, followed by an interview with the Hiring Manager and/or a panel of team members. You can also expect an assessment that tests your user interface design skills and knowledge. Again, this can vary. It may, for example, involve evaluating a current website or answering a hypothetical user interface problem.

Throughout the hiring process, you will be answering a mix of technical and behavioral questions. These questions will test your knowledge of UI design as well as your fit with the company culture. To prepare you for the range of questions you may encounter, we have compiled a list of commonly asked interview questions for UI Designers.

Hiring Managers will be looking for UI Designers with a thorough understanding of UI design principles, practices, and tools. They will also want to know more about your design experience. During this part of the interview, questions and answers should reveal your overall philosophy as a UI Designer and how you approach bigger-picture elements of the job. Interviewers will give you the chance to offer more detail on your technical background and soft skills later in the interview, so consider this your best chance to offer insight into how you tackle problems and design decisions as a UI Designer. Another tip for these design questions is to aim to show your knowledge on a variety of UI-related topics, including interaction design, design thinking, and information architecture.

Here are some sample questions and answers for the most popular user interface design-related interview questions:

Tell me about a recent UI project that you worked on. What was your design process, and how did you validate your decisions?

Every UI Designer should be able to speak with confidence and in detail about their portfolio. Even if your portfolio hasn't changed much in recent years – and we would recommend keeping it up to date – you should review it each time you have a job interview and pick out specific real life projects to highlight in response to an interview question like this one. The projects you pick should be relevant to the company or job you’re applying for. To answer this question properly, it's important to highlight your design and ideation process, how you tested and validated your ideas, and any lessons learned throughout the project. Although you obviously want to highlight your strengths as a designer, don't be afraid to also point out things you would have done differently. This will show you're a critical thinker who is open to feedback and criticism.

Before you start designing, is there any UX information you need to know?

Ideally, you would have as much information as possible on the user experience (UX) and user journey a team is aiming to craft. UI Designers certainly benefit from having access to UX plans and seeing the results of usability testing, user research and focus group interviews. But it might be wise to frame this information as good to know, rather than a prerequisite, to emphasize your adaptability.

Some other user interface design-related questions you may be asked include:

  • How would you describe UI design?
  • Can you describe an app that meets your ideal user interface design?
  • What would you consider as a UI design failure on a newly launched product?
  • How would you approach redesigning our current app or website?
  • What design trend can you not stand? Why?
  • Where do you go for inspiration?
  • Please describe your design process.
  • What is the most difficult task you have encountered when doing UI design?
  • Before you start designing, is there any UX information you need to know?
  • What is your experience with usability testing?

List of UI Design Interview Questions: Technical Skills Questions

UI Designers need to have the right set of skills, from wireframing and prototyping, to design knowledge and proficiency in industry tools. Technical interview questions will put your understanding and knowledge of UI to the test.

When you're preparing for this part of interviews, it's important to remember that your interviewer might not actually have a strong technical background. If you sense that's the case – or if you don't know enough about the interviewer to say for sure – it's important to strike a careful balance between showcasing your technical skills in a way that shows you can handle all job responsibilities, and communicating in a clear, jargon-free way that an outsider to UX and UI could still understand.

Before your interviews, review the job posting for specific technical competencies demanded by the role and try to ensure that your answers eventually include experience you have in those areas.

Here is one sample question and answer along with some other technical skills interview questions for UI Designers:

Why do you think Sketch has become so popular with UI Designers?

Sketch is now the leading tool of choice for UI Designers, with BrainStation's Digital Skills Survey showing that it's used by 66 percent of Designers for wireframing and 64 percent for interface design, while many others also use it for prototyping. Certainly, you could highlight some of Sketch's features – such as code-friendly designs, a solid slate of export features, and 100 percent vector support – but it's also worth using this question and answer to highlight some of the other tools you use for various tasks. Ultimately, you want to show here that you're on top of the latest technology and eager to tackle any new emerging tools as well.

Some other technical skills questions an interviewer may ask you include:

  • Define the principles of user interface design.
  • How do you implement a design pattern library?
  • Define design language system (DLS).
  • What are the different UI frameworks and technologies?
  • What is the user interface design process?
  • Why is UI design important?
  • Can you describe the difference between progressive enhancement and graceful degradation?
  • Let’s say you start a new project right now. Which solution will you choose for adding icons to the interface?
  • How do you optimize a website’s assets and reduce page load time?
  • What are some major differences when designing for web versus mobile?
  • How do XHTML, HTML4 and HTML5 differ?
  • What does the term "semantic HTML" mean?
  • Why are HTML, CSS and JavaScript referred to as front-end technologies?
  • What does web accessibility mean?
  • What is jQuery?
  • If my website was slow, how would you review my website to diagnose the problem and fix it?

List of UI Design Interview Questions: Personal Questions

Even with all the necessary skills and qualifications, the best UI Designer still needs to have the right personality to fit in with the company.

Your interviewer will want to know more about you, your career path and goals, your design philosophy, your background, and what makes you tick as a designer. Make sure to use questions like these to highlight your curiosity and commitment to learning, including any recent courses or continuing education opportunities you might have pursued. You might also get a chance to showcase what you know about the company and its values.

Employers will ask questions such as these to assess your fit.

How do you keep up with design trends?

This question sometimes seems like a throwaway with no wrong answer, or a break from more serious questions about your projects, past conflicts, and technical resume. But interviewers really will want you to convey that you're a forward-thinking designer who will continue to live at the cutting edge well into the future. One tip: before your interview, jot down some of your favorite UI design inspiration websites, design blogs, and Instagram accounts, and prepare to talk about some of the UI Designers you think are doing innovative work. You want to show future employers that you have your finger on the pulse and that you apply real energy to staying on top of your craft and industry.

Other questions might include:

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Why did you decide to become a UI Designer?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Which is your favorite part about UI design?
  • What books, exhibitions, conferences or communities do they attend or admire?
  • What makes you think you would be a good fit for this company?
  • What do you love most about being a UI Designer?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a UI Designer?
  • What do you enjoy most about working in design?

List of UI Design Interview Questions: Leadership and Communication

UI design is highly collaborative—to be successful, you need strong teamwork and communication skills. Interviewers are seeking candidates who can lead design projects and articulate their process to team members and clients. Since the fields are so closely related, UI and UX Design interview questions alike will often ask how well you work with specialists in the other area, and it's best to prepare past examples of how you seamlessly collaborated with a UX Designer, web development team or others to ultimately create great products.

To test your leadership and communication skills, employers may ask questions such as:

How do you advocate for usability in your organization?

Here's a question that gets at the close relationship between UI/UX – although usability is typically more closely associated with UX, it would certainly be a positive to highlight your commitment to advocating for the user in any design decision. If you've conducted user testing, user research, or crafted personas, here is the time to mention it.

  • How do you work with others?
  • How do you decide which features to add to a project? How do you communicate your decision to stakeholders?
  • How do you handle situations when you disagree with your Project Manager?
  • How do you collaborate with UX Designers and Developers?
  • Have you ever had to compromise or make trade-offs with a team you were working with? How did you navigate that interaction, and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle this situation?

List of UI Design Interview Questions: Behavioral

With behavioral interview questions, employers want to see how you handled past situations. Your response will give employers insight into how you may handle tasks or solve problems in the future. For these types of interview questions, specificity is key. Provide an example of a past situation in your career, describe the actions you took, and share the results or outcome. Candidates will stand out if they can offer examples of real conflicts or challenges that an interviewer might envision developing at their own company, and then provide a level-headed and comprehensive solution.

A few examples of behavioral UI Designer interview questions are:

Tell me about a time when there was a failure in the handoff between design and development. How would you do it differently?

Anyone who has been involved in the industry for a long time has a horror story about a messy design handoff. With a long list of stakeholders, deadlines, and pressures, a lot can go wrong as projects are passed from design to development. This is an opportunity to show. your commitment to communication. Highlight any past experience you have collaborating with a web development team and contributing to a situation where you were working together for a common goal.

Here are some other behavioral questions you might hear when interviewing for a UI design job:

  • Describe a time a client thought your product failed to meet their business goals.
  • Tell us about a project that didn’t go as planned and the reasons that led to it.
  • What would you do differently if you were under a strict deadline and you couldn’t meet the project scope? Which features would you make sure to prioritize?
  • Have you ever worked on a project that you considered to be a failure in its early versions? How did you fix it?
  • How do you handle negative feedback? What do you do with the information?
  • Can you describe a time where you had difficulties working on a team?
  • Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing change. *How did that impact you? How did you adapt?
  • Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. *How did you handle that?
  • Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation? How did you handle it?

List of UI Designer Interview Questions From Top Companies (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft)

To give you an idea of the range of UI Designer interview questions you may be asked, here are a few questions from top tech companies.

  • Tell me about a time when your team had difficulty collaborating.
  • How would you design a digital clock that had only two buttons and could only display numerical characters? What other capabilities would you add?
  • Show us an example of a website with great design.
  • How do you measure the success of your designs?
  • Please describe a challenge you met in a previous project.
  • How do you deal with pushback with upper management?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to get a project or initiative completed with limited resources.
  • Tell me about a time when you exceeded the expectations of a goal.
  • How would you handle a situation where you are not able to meet a deadline?
  • Give me an example of a time there was a conflict between you and your team or someone on your team. How were you able to resolve that conflict
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