how to become a ui designer (2023 Guide)
UI Designer Interview Questions
BrainStation’s UI Designer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in UI design. Read on for an overview of commonly asked questions UI Designers face in job interviews, as well as strategies for how best to answer them.
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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.
Common Skills-Based UI Design Interview Questions
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 example skills-based UI design interview questions and how to answer them:
Question: Take us through a recent UI project that you worked on. What was your design process, and how did you validate your decisions?
Answer: 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.
Question: Before you start the design process, is there any UX information you need to know?
Answer: 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.
Additional Skills-Based UI Design Interview Questions
- What is your definition of UI design?
- Can you describe a mobile application that meets your ideal user interface design?
- Identify a newly launched product. What do you think is a UI design failure?
- Take a look at our current app or website. How would you approach a redesign?
- What design trend do you hate? Why?
- Where do you find design inspiration?
- What is the most important element of your design process?
- When doing UI design, what is the most difficult task you have encountered?
- Before you start designing, is there any UX information you need to know?
- Do you have experience with usability testing?
Common Technical UI Design Interview 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 an example of a technical interview question for UI Designers:
Question: Why is Sketch so popular with UI Designers?
Answer: 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.
Additional Technical UI Design Interview Questions
- What are the core principles of user interface design?
- What is your method to implement a design pattern library?
- Please provide a definition of a design language system (DLS).
- What are the different UI frameworks and technologies?
- How would you describe your user interface design process?
- Why is UI design important?
- How would you define the difference between progressive enhancement and graceful degradation?
- You’re starting a new project. Which solution will you choose for adding icons to the interface?
- How do you optimize website assets and reduce page load time?
- Please take us through the major differences when designing for web versus mobile.
- What is the difference between XHTML, HTML4 and HTML5?
- Please define the term semantic HTML.
- How do you define web accessibility?
- What is jQuery? What is jQuery used for?
- If my website was slow, how would you diagnose the problem and fix it?
Common Personal UI Design Interview 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.
Here is an example of a personal UI Design interview question:
Question: How do you keep on top of design trends?
Answer: 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.
Additional Personal UI Design Interview
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why did you decide to pursue a UI Designer career?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Why should we hire you?
- Which is your favorite element of UI design?
- What books, exhibitions, conferences or communities do you attend or admire?
- What do you love most about being a UI Designer?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a UI Designer?
Common Situational UI Design Interview Questions
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.
Here is an example of a situational UI design interview question:
Question: Please provide examples of how you advocate for usability in your organization.
Answer: 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.
Additional Situational UI Design Interview Questions
- Are you a team player? 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?
- When you disagree with your Project Manager, how do you handle it?
- What is your approach to collaborate with UX Designers and Web Developers?
- How do you navigate compromise with people inside and outside of your team?
- 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. What was your approach?
Common Behavioral UI Design Interview Questions
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.
Here is an example of a behavioral UI Designer interview question:
Question: Tell me about a time when there was an issue with the handoff between design and development. What would you do differently next time?
Answer: 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.
Additional Behavioral UI Design Interview Questions
- Describe a time a client thought your product did not meet their business goals. How did you respond?
- Tell us about a project that didn’t go as planned and the reasons that led to it. What would you do differently next time?
- 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 at first? How did you fix it in later versions?
- How do you process negative feedback? What do you do with the information?
- Please take us through a bad experience you had 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. What was your response?
- Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation? What was your strategy for dealing with them?
Advanced UI Designer Interview Questions
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 (including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and more).
- Tell us 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 features should it have?
- Show us a website with great design.
- How do you validate and measure the success of your designs?
- Please describe a challenging previous project.
- Imagine you receive pushback from upper management. How do you respond?
- Please take us through a situation when you had to get a project or initiative completed with limited resources.
- Please take us through a situation when you exceeded the expectations of a goal.
- 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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