Is it enough for product designers to learn the hard and technical skills to design UI/UX digital products for today’s market? If not, and if product designers must learn new soft skills in addition to keeping their hard skills up to date; What soft skills do they need? Has the growth and expansion of artificial intelligence and its tools had an impact on the job of product design and the skills required for it?

The age of expertise in designing digital products (websites and applications) is not long. However, a look at the job advertisements on job websites in the world shows that businesses in various fields need UI/UX designers and product managers to design and develop digital products.

Product design has become a demanding job in the world. So, it can be said that “newbie product designers will find work and progress in their work”. No, unfortunately, it is not.

Product designers can easily be attracted to the job market and perform their duties well if they have learned the necessary and updated hard skills and soft skills.

The hard skills of UI/UX designers have been discussed a lot. In the following, the most important soft skills that every product designer should learn have been discussed.

Which soft skills are essential for UI/UX designers?

Before going into the most important soft skills of UI/UX designers, it’s a good idea to take a brief look at their hard skills. To answer this important question learning soft materials has become very decisive in the work progress of designers.

The mission of product designers is to design a website or application that users can interact with easily and quickly. If the user interface and user experience are not properly designed, the product will not achieve commercial success. As a result, the business (product owner) also loses.

For this reason, the most important hard skills for UI/UX designers are those that help them understand the users of the product and design the digital product to meet their needs. And this is exactly why design thinking is the basis of product design. In design thinking, the designer learns how to find the user’s problem, design to solve it, prototype the design, and test it. In all stages of design thinking, the designer with

  • types of quantitative and qualitative research,
  • data collection,
  • It deals with different tools and software.

The role and importance of research and data collection in the design process are so great that it is said that “UI/UX design should be data-driven”. So, with that being said, focusing and mastering hard skills means

  • design thinking
  • user interface design,
  • UX research and
  • Mastering design software and tools is more important and decisive for a UI/UX designer.

However, the growth and expansion of artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence tools in design have changed the equations. Artificial intelligence can perform many work steps that require hard and technical skills for product designers.

In this space, if the designer wants to compete with artificial intelligence; It should focus and invest in acquiring soft skills.

1. The soft skill of receiving feedback and accepting negative feedback

One of the most important soft skills of a UI/UX designer is that he must ask for feedback from others at every stage of the work, especially at the final stage, to evaluate the prototype, and accept all feedback, especially criticism and negative feedback, to the design. Remember that many aspects of product design and many of the solutions you find for user interaction problems with a website or app are subjective and personal. Another designer may have found a different solution to the same problem.

Therefore, one of the daily tasks of product designers is to ask for feedback. The question that may arise is who should the designer ask for feedback? From almost everyone – teammates, product owners, users, and even ChatGPT and other AI tools. In addition, he should hear criticism and negative feedback, accept it modify the decision or plan based on it, and ask for feedback again.

2. A set of critical thinking soft skills

You probably read a lot about the importance of critical thinking in different content. But what is critical thinking? Defining this skill in one sentence is not an easy task and probably in many web contents, this skill has not been comprehensively introduced. Critical thinking is not a skill. It is a set of several soft skills that make someone who has acquired the set of critical thinking soft skills ask the right questions in evaluating the words and claims of others. He is someone who does not take anything for granted and does not consider it certain.

  • acquired the soft skill of active listening,
  • He learned the soft skill of research to reach evidence and evidence (data) to evaluate what he heard
  • aware of all kinds of fallacies,
  • He has acquired the soft skills of logical reasoning and logical evaluation of arguments
  • The soft skill of effective and purposeful interaction with others has also been learned.

Critical thinking skills in evaluating feedback and finding solutions to problems come in handy for UI/UX designers. A designer who has developed this set of skills looks at issues from different angles and knows what questions to answer to reach the answer (solution).

The soft skill of critical thinking is hard to come by because the human brain is used to making quick judgments. For this reason, don’t think that all designers have this set of skills, and you can acquire them very soon, for example, by reading a few books or watching a few educational videos! You need practice, lots of practice. And don’t forget that critical thinking is not just for evaluating the claims or words of people. You should interact critically with artificial intelligence.

3. The soft skill of interaction and cooperation with humans and machines (artificial intelligence)

As mentioned, the point that UI/UX designers today and in the future should pay attention to is that interaction and collaboration them is no longer limited to potential users, product owners, and other professionals of the product design team (including developers and programmers), in Every stage of artificial intelligence and its tools have a strong presence. The new colleague of all product designers and the new member of all product design teams is artificial intelligence. For this reason, the designer must be fully prepared for effective interaction and communication with man and machine and cooperation with man and machine in different stages of work. As if a new soft skill should be added to the list of critical thinking soft skills: the soft skill of interacting with artificial intelligence.

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