Critical Soft Skills to Succeed as a UX Designer

The attitude towards soft skills has been changing drastically in recent years, which is reflected in word choice.

Eric Freedman from eSkill hints at a new term emerging in HR circles and gaining spread – “power skills.” The idea to switch “soft” for “power” appeared as a reaction to some people’s underestimating “soft skills” in comparison with “hard skills.”

Soft or powerful skills get growing attention these days, but they have been important from the beginning of civilizations. Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” prove there was no period in history – from the times of Ancient China to now, that wouldn’t praise the power of soft skills.

Whatever term we choose, the group of proficiencies like communication abilities, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and others is critical to the success of any venture, including UX Design.

Why are soft skills essential for UX designers?

UX design aims to create a product that will buy human hearts, as, roughly speaking, UX design services sell emotion. Thus, proficiency or talent in such an intangible sphere as empathy is necessary. Also, to understand a product’s acceptance by the audience, a UX designer should gather feedback, which is a communication domain. User experience is about the user’s satisfaction with the product effectivity. Since the users are often the first to detect or experience malfunctioning, the UX designer’s role is to succeed in problem-solving.

UX design requires creativity, innovation, flexibility, and adaptability. Some proficiencies are more valued than others in a specific professional field. The good news is that soft, power, or people skills are transferrable and may be taught or developed.

Top skills to develop to succeed as a UX designer

To become a successful UX designer, you should be ready to get screened on your current skill set and be asked to improve. So, here’s a list of key soft skills for a UX designer:

1- Communication

Successful communication is a multi-ingredient skill, including cultural intelligence, diversity consciousness, listening and conveying your ideas, and emotional intelligence.

Here are the business situations where this proficiency may be applied:

–          You have to discuss the design concept with a client and convey their vision to the team of developers.

–          To sell the idea to potential customers or management

–          To involve your team in brainstorming.

2- Problem-solving

This competency involves feeling human pains and being able to approach them. On the other side, it requires a fast and timely reaction to issues and the implementation creative solutions. To develop this skill, you must maintain a growth mindset, be ready to accept and manage changes, and be open to any shifts in the workplace.

You will need the proficiency when:

–          You discuss with a client their pain points and offer variants for solutions

–          Spot the potential bottlenecks in your project and approach them early

–          Respond to a disaster scenario with a clear mind and action plan.

3- Design Principles

This skill requires more than design tools; you should understand why some patterns work while others don’t. It requires being bias-free, able to question assumptions, and ready to change your concept painlessly if it proves to be ineffective.

Knowing design principles is essential when:

–          You need to create a concept that will not just function well but also will catch the user’s eye

–          Beat competitors in creativity and be ready to inspire users with fresh ideas

–          Come up with unique decisions to create an individual brand voice.

4- Collaboration

Designers don’t work independently, so knowing the principles of effective teamwork is a must. This includes: being able to integrate into different cultures and communities, being aware of and controlling your emotions, as well as mind the feeling of others, and maintaining your reputation.

Effective collaboration is a must when you need to:

–          Discuss and organize the development process

–          Approach the change request from a client promptly

–          Solve blockers

5 Presentation skills

As a UX designer, you will often have to present your ideas. For this, you have to be able to convey your thoughts, feel and control your audience’s emotional status, and be able to react to unpredicted situations.

This proficiency is essential:

–          When you present successful projects to future customers

–          Present an innovation to your management

–          Inform clients of intermediate results of development progress

Summing up

Whatever term we use, whether it is “soft,” “power,” or “people” skills, we should never underestimate their importance. Although we like movies like “Sherlock,” where a talented person can ditch the “soft” competencies to do their favorite business, the reality is strict and will forgive us for neglecting these essential principles of collaboration.

Author’s bio: Anastasiia Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a software development company that builds web & mobile app solutions from scratch. She researches the area of technology to create great content about app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting.

Fawad Malik

Fawad Malik Technology geek by heart, blogger by passion, and founder of, He regularly explores ideas and ways how advanced technology helps individuals, brands and businesses survive and thrive in this competitive landscape. He tends to share the latest tech news, trends, and updates with the community built around Nogentech.

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