10 Mar 2021
Hong Kong, in the past, has seen several days of gloom. Fortunately, this is no longer the case as this city of skyscrapers is now among the top six financial hubs in the world (competing with New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Singapore) and the top financial hub of Asia.
This gem of an urban center is also zooming on top of the list of the most innovative countries. The city of Hong Kong secured 11th place among 131 countries on the Global Innovation Index.
Thanks to Hong Kong’s well-grounded environment of legal bodies, the city has been able to fuel impactful startups that thrive on innovation and have grown to become of the most competitive cities in the world, according to a report by Deloitte.
So, if you are looking to quench your creative and technical thirst through a career in UX design, Hong Kong should be, without a shred of doubt, on top of your go-to list in 2021!
For those of you who are still in the dark about UX design or if the lines between User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are too blurry, this article will elaborate on each before diving deeper into the intricacies of UX design career in Hong Kong.
Designing is a very exciting job, especially when working in a company that is based out of cities like Hong Kong, where you need to be on top of your game at every stage to excel. The job of a User Experience professional is classified into three roles:
User Interface (UX) Designer
User Experience (UI) Designer
Full-Stack User Experience (UX) Designer
At the end of the day, all roles of designing converge at a common goal – product design. The product could be anything from a simple web-based application to a comprehensive e-commerce website or a Software as a Solution (SaaS) tool.
So, what is the difference between UI, UX, and full-stack UX designers?
The profession of User Experience (UX) design is largely misunderstood. Often, people think that UX designers build the experiences of a product user brick by brick when in reality, UX design is essentially a process that refines and repolishes an experience that already exists.
So, let's break down what UX design is and what it is like to be a UX designer in the 2020s.
For the purposes of understanding, take the example of a woman shopping for clothes online. The UX designer of that particular e-commerce store is then tasked to examine the behavior, patterns, and other habits of the woman and other customers like herself to refine the site's structure and layout further. All of this is done solely to make the experience of the woman’s shopping better than before and not to create a whole new experience altogether.
So, what is it like to be a successful UX designer? What would you have to do?
The process of User Experience design typically kicks off with research. As mentioned in the example above, you, the UX designer, will be responsible for researching the company’s or the brand’s users and their current experiences. You might be required to conduct customer interviews, develop user personas and even draw maps that help to visualize the user’s journey from end to end. After the research phase comes the part of designing user flows and wireframing.
User flows and wireframes form the foundations of User Interface (UI) design. They dictate the steps and processes that a user takes as they go deeper into the conversion funnel.
On average, a UX designer in Hong Kong earns HKD 312,224 and upwards of over HKD 500,000 annually, according to PayScale.
UI design is the phase in the product design cycle where ideas start to take shape into forms that can be visualized by the average Joe. As per Dieter Rames, a renowned designer, the UI design process is all about making interfaces with visual cues that are not just memorable but also meaningful.
So, what would you have to do if you were a UI designer?
Consider the previous example of a woman buying clothes from an e-commerce clothing store. A UI designer would be responsible for designing the site's visual layout, mood, and much more.
A User Interface (UI) designer would take the data and material developed by UX designers, like user personas and wireframes, and form an identity using design elements like color pallets, images, vectors, and unique typography.
The work of a UI designer is critical to the company as it can virtually make or break a business model. A single color change on a button can quite possibly lift up a company from the dark into light by skyrocketing click-through rates (CTR)!
Typically, the UI designers also indulge in interaction design, where the designs they come up with are prototyped. However, in certain cases, this can be the work of a different person in the team.
Finally, the results and prototypes from the UI design process are handed over to the development team, where they are coded and deployed onto the platforms for the world to see and access.
The average compensation for a User Interface (UI) designer in Hong Kong is HKD 331,274. The remuneration amount is bound to increase with experience.
Are you a person who loves to learn new things, expand your horizons, have more to offer others, and also likes to get creative? Then Full-Stack User Experience (UX) designing could certainly be your cup of tea!
In the initial days of design culture, the most common piece of advice was to not be a jack of all trades and master of none. It was widely suggested that a person should specialize in one particular thing rather than branching out into many verticals. However, the world has come a long way since then.
Today, companies (startups in particular) are looking for people that can bring a wider variety of skillsets to the table. Competition is cut-throat in places like Hong Kong. With several startups springing up like hot cakes selling out in a bakery and teams getting smaller and smaller, organizations are looking for individuals who can do more than just one task. In short, the jack of all trades is in demand!
Full-stack UX designers have the opportunity to earn higher than most in Hong Kong. According to UX Designer Salaries, the breakdown is as follows:
In the modern world, almost any job you consider calls for a combination of a wide array of skillsets, and UX design is no exception.
User Experience (UX) designers are tasked with finding the sweet spot between the intersection of usefulness, usability, and desirability of a product. Therefore, just a good eye for design is not enough to be a good UX designer. You should have a combination of various hard and soft skills along with being proficient with UX design tools.
Read Also: 8 Things You Must Know About UX
Right off the bat, we have communication skills. Communication skills are unequivocally one of the most important skills that a UX designer should have.
The designers should be able to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and opinions with other members of the team and also be able to communicate the design intent and final results with the stakeholders.
Such a large emphasis is placed on communication skills because when it comes to explaining aesthetics and visual elements, even the most fluent people could struggle to find the right words!
Empathizing is a soft skill that is overlooked by many. As a UX designer, you should be able to put yourself in the shoes of the users and audiences and look at your own work objectively.
It can be inexplicably easy to get carried away by your own creations. After all, it is your blood and sweat that went into it. Nevertheless, a square eye is critical to be the better judge of the design.
Perception is the game. UX designers should look at their designs and prototypes from the perspective of their users.
Research is the foundation of a successful project. Therefore, UX designers should have impeccable research skills.
There are many methods of carrying out user research. Designers can conduct digital surveys on the masses or sit with their users one on one to extract the information they need. As a UX designer, you may even simply study the trends and look at the pre-existing analytical graphs and charts to draw your own conclusions.
However, whichever methods you opt for, you should ensure that they are consistent with the business goal and are most appropriate to the particular project.
Finally, to bring all your knowledge as a UX designer to action and to turn your visions into viable products, you should be adept at UX design tools like Figma, Adobe XD and Sketch.
Every design tool has its pros and cons. It is up to you to decide which one to use as per the projects and company’s requirements.
For example, if you are working with a larger team remotely, then you could benefit from using Figma as it offers real-time collaboration features with your team. Sketch, on the other hand, is a fast and intuitive tool, while Adobe XD makes for a great entry-level wireframing solution!
Read Also: Figma v/s Adobe XD v/s Sketch
User Experience (UX) design is an indispensable aspect for business in 2021, particularly in technology and innovation hubs like Hong Kong.
The UX design process is essentially a process of designing a company's products keeping real human beings in mind. Therefore, every person in the company, be it from the sales, marketing, or development team, should familiarize themselves with at least the basics of UX.
Read Also: Can You Transit into UX from Another Job?
The development phase comes soon after the UX phase. Both front-end and back-end developers should have appreciable knowledge about UX for the purposes of communicating effectively with the design team.
Having that extra bit of knowledge for the developers allows the design team to easily and seamlessly transition their results into the development side.
In many startups, the marketing team and the design team work very closely. The marketers should have knowledge about UX to perform user research and apply it to launch new marketing campaigns on the internet. Full-stack UX designers often cannot exclusively work on short-term digital ad campaigns. Therefore, marketers are expected to shoulder a little bit of this responsibility.
UX and UI are intricate puzzle pieces that a company should get right to optimize its sales funnel.
The sales team must work hand in hand with the UX designers to analyze the users, trends, and patterns to optimize the sales funnel through strategically tweaking the experiences of customers.
To summarize, the career path of a UX designer in Hong Kong looks bright and fruitful. The scenario of the growing number of startups in the city in Hong Kong will likely create more demand for full-stack UX designers and call for sound knowledge in UX design even for other professions like developing and marketing.
You can get started in your path to becoming a UX designer by enrolling in our full-stack UX design course.
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