UX Designer Interview Preparation Guide
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UX Designer related Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with professional career as UX Designer. These list of interview questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job interview and quickly revise your concepts

67 UX Designer Questions and Answers:

1 :: Tell Us What Do You Do When There’s Not Enough Time To Do Research?

This is an important question because the employer is really questioning your values as a designer. Again, with this one, there’s no definitive correct answer, however this one is probably going to crop up at most UX interviews so it’s worth trying to prepare an answer. Have a think about the whole research process and how it might be possible to streamline the process so that there’s still time to complete at least some research on which to base designs on and improvements on.

With this question, the employer is also looking to see how much initiative you have as a designer and how you can help to streamline processes within their business – so be sure to keep this in mind when compiling your answer.

2 :: Tell us what are cards in mobile design? Why are they good and when is the best time to use them?

Cards are fast becoming one of the best design patterns for mobile devices. They collect individual pieces of content aggregated together into one experience.

We are currently witnessing a re-architecture of the web, away from pages and destinations, towards completely personalized experiences built on an aggregation of many individual pieces of content. This is a result of the rise of mobile technology, which resulted in billions of new connected devices, using different resolutions, pixel densities, and form-factors.

The idea behind cards is to show the user only relevant information at the right time. This way user focuses solely on the most important message, while most clutter is removed.

The best time to use cards would be when we need to show a particular bit information, deemed important to the user at a given time. While the card approach could be used all the time, the way Twitter separates tweets one from another, this is not always practical.

There are many services and websites already using the card system to display information. This way they visually separate or highlight information.

3 :: Tell me what is the best search pattern for mobile phones?

Displaying faceted-search controls on mobile devices in a ‘tray’ overlay is a new and effective way of displaying both results and filters on relatively small mobile screens.

Faceted search lets users refine a set of results by applying filters that comprehensively describe the search space. The ability to narrow down searches is invaluable for users who need to find something specific within a large content set. This type of search has become common for e-commerce/m-commerce and travel websites, as well as many different types of document and media collections.

A faceted system includes two critical elements:
Simple controls to construct sophisticated searches - providing familiar controls like drop-down menus and checkboxes with natural-language labels. This allows ordinary users to narrow down a large set of results to a smaller set that meets their exact criteria, without any knowledge of Boolean logic or query syntax.

Simultaneous display of the facet controls and the results - Showing both the filters and the results at the same time makes it easier for users to understand the relationship between the two; ideally, this is reinforced by dynamically updating the results set as soon as the user selects filter criteria.

4 :: Explain me how can designers leverage audio to enhance user experience?

Big players like Google and Apple are already using this approach to provide better UX while using their mobile platforms. Apple has Siri, while Google has Google Now. In order to enhance UX at some point, we can use voice for certain actions.

Cars can teach us a couple of basic things about designing with audio input for better user experiences. The first is that user experience design should not be limited to the usual graphic user interface (GUI).

For example, automotive apps could use voice to enhance user experience while the user is focusing on driving. Various car manufacturers have been integrating voice controls in their automotive infotainment systems for years.

Let’s imagine you are building an app that will alert the driver when the vehicle is approaching a speed camera or a built-up area. All it will take for the driver to take notice and adjust their speed is a simple audio alarm. The car has no means to visually inform drivers that they are about to hit the curb, which is why audio warnings are used for lane departure solutions as well, and similar audio warning systems have been employed in aviation for decades.

Sound tends to be very useful when we go beyond the GUI, especially when it’s necessary to alarm users and prompt them to act as soon as possible. This could be one of the examples how audio can enhance the user experience well beyond the screen.

5 :: Tell us what is onboarding and why is it so important for mobile design?

User onboarding is the process of increasing the likelihood that new users will successfully adopt your product.

When launching a product, you need to spend a lot of time and resources to attract a sufficient number of users. There are a variety of means to attract users to your app, including advertising, referral programs, public relations, and content marketing. But when people finally download the app, they sometimes feel abandoned or let down. Therefore, you must do a good job at showing users why they need your app and how they should use it.

Onboarding can sometimes be an integral part of the app, where we show the user how to behave within the app. This dive in effect is especially useful if we incorporated some new features that might be unfamiliar to our users. Tooltips can also be used to show them how things work.

The same approach can be used when we have complex systems. With tooltips we can explain why some things are there or why others are not. It’s something like a guided tour of your app, where hints are only triggered when the user reaches an appropriate point in their experience. Thus, hints may appear in different orders for different users and actions.

6 :: Tell me the difference between copy and retain?

Retaining an object means the retain count increases by one. This means the instance of the object will be kept in memory until it’s retain count drops to zero. The property will store a reference to this instance and will share the same instance with anyone else who retained it too. Copy means the object will be cloned with duplicate values. It is not shared with any one else.

7 :: Tell me what is KVC and KVO? Give an example of using KVC to set a value?

KVC stands for Key-Value Coding. It's a mechanism by which an object's properties can be accessed using string's at runtime rather than having to statically know the property names at development time. KVO stands for Key-Value Observing and allows a controller or class to observe changes to a property value.

8 :: Tell me what is MVC and how is it implemented in iOS?
What are some pitfalls you've experienced with it? Are there any alternatives to MVC?

MVC stands for Model, View, Controller. It is a design pattern that defines how to separate out logic when implementing user interfaces. In iOS, Apple provides UIView as a base class for all _View_s, UIViewController is provided to support the Controller which can listen to events in a View and update the View when data changes. The Model represents data in an application and can be implemented using any NSObject, including data collections like NSArray and NSDictionary.

9 :: Explain me how do you define UX/design?

Focus on crafting a unique and specific definition that sheds light on who you are as a designer. Use this also as an opportunity to tell a story that provides context for your design perspective. However you define UX, make this a chance to add something personal.

I focused my definition around empathy and the importance of understanding the people I’m designing for. It allowed me to touch on my background in psychology, allude to past experiences I had doing anthropological research, and brought to light the importance of designing human-centered experiences.

10 :: Tell us who in the industry do you follow and read?

Don’t fudge this question! Find some members of the design community now that you admire and start reading — there are a lot of incredible designers out there to source inspiration. If you don’t have a list, check out LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter or design blogs to get started. If you’re feeling brave, reach out to members in the community and begin to cultivate a relationship. It’s remarkable how friendly people in the design circle can be.

11 :: Why do you want to work at [company x] as UX Designer?

I like to talk about the company from a design perspective. Focus on mentorship, design culture, co-workers and the type of design challenges the company is currently facing. Make it personal and demonstrate a vision. Being able to talk about how the company melds with your past and how it will elevate you to where you want to be in your future shows a clear understanding of what you want and how to get it.

When I was applying for full-time jobs, I had just left a contract gig where I was the sole designer. I knew that I was looking for something different — a place where I could be mentored, level up in a thriving design culture, and solve problems at scale. I found companies that fit my focus and demonstrated how I was aligned with the team.

12 :: Tell me what is your expertise as a UI designer?

There is always one area where a UI designer is comfortable and really good at it. The kind of client and the kind of media they work the best is like the mobile app or websites. Rather than mentioning only one area of expertise, it is good to discuss the past experience or projects where the work was new and was able to reach the desired results. These days employers are looking for versatile employees who can multi-task and has the capability to crack the difficult project. Hence, it is best to share your knowledge but best not to restrict yourself. Share what is close to your heart and what keeps you interested the most.

13 :: Explain me how would you explain the UX design process?

Use this as an opportunity to share your personal definition of UX Design. When you are explaining the UX design process, describe how you would approach a typical project, or explain how you’ve done it in the past when working on other projects. You’ll probably want to touch on each of the following elements:

☛ Usability
☛ User Research
☛ User Testing
☛ Information Architecture
☛ Interaction Design
☛ User Interface Design
Depending on the size of the company, and the nature of the role you’re interviewing for, you might be responsible for overseeing all parts of the UX design process (that are then executed by other teams), you might be responsible for executing just one part, or you might be personally executing every part of this process (if it’s a very small company, for example). Establish first what would be expected of you in this role, as this will help you answer the question more effectively in regard to how you would operate within this particular company.

14 :: Can you take me through how you used the UX design process in a project?

Walk your interviewer through your project by using stories. Take him or her on a journey as you talk about steps that you took from the conception to completion of the project. Explain the problems you were trying solve, show how you solved them, and what the outcome was.

Use the documentation that was created while working on your project to help guide your story.

Here are examples of how to use your documentation:
☛ User Research: What methods did you use? Why did you use this method?
☛ User Personas & Scenarios: Who is the user and how they will be using the website or application?
☛ Customer Journeys, Task Analysis, and User Flows: What is the journey and interactions the user will take while using the website or app?
☛ Prototypes & Wireframes: Describe how you progressed from paper prototypes to hi-fidelity wireframes. What iterations were made based on user testing and why di you do it this way?
☛ Metrics: Explain through tracking analytics how sign ups, sales or other conversions may have increased as a result of your research and/or design decisions.

Hopefully these seven questions will help you prepare for your job interview and give you additional confidence as you get ready for this next step in your UX journey.

15 :: Tell Me What Do You Think The Most Important Part Of The UX Design Process Is?

The employer is asking this question because they want to get some insight into who you are as a designer and they’re trying to assess whether your outlook and views would fit in with the existing team. Now, obviously there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer with this one because it all comes down to personal opinion, however when answering this type of question, it’s a good idea to try and be very clear about which stage of the process you’re referring to and to have clear reasons to justify your decision.

If you’re really serious about getting this particular job, it’s worth doing a bit of research into the company and seeing what they value in the design process eg. customer research, wire-framing, user flow diagrams etc – and then creating an answer which falls in line with their values.

16 :: Tell us how should one properly design push notifications? Why are they so important?

Based on user-research, annoying notifications are the primary reason why people uninstall mobile apps (71% of respondents in one recent survey).

But still, push notification are a feature which keeps an app alive. In other words, notifications are powerful tools for businesses to communicate directly with users and deliver the right message at the right time and place in order to promote engagement. So it’s really important to consider how these elements are designed.

It’s important that the messages are clear and understandable. No matter what the content of the notification is, make sure it speaks the same language as your users, literally and figuratively. Users, regardless of frequency, appreciate content that is directly related to their personal interests.

Timing is the second most important thing when we consider making push notification. Also, solution could be sending a notification out at a reasonable time that would be most effective to your users, unless it’s critical to inform them of something happening right now. In general, mobile usage peaks between 6pm — 10pm.

17 :: Tell me the difference between atomic and nonatomic synthesized properties?

Atomic and non-atomic refers to whether the setters/getters for a property will atomically read and write values to the property. When the atomic keyword is used on a property, any access to it will be “synchronized”. Therefore a call to the getter will be guaranteed to return a valid value, however this does come with a small performance penalty. Hence in some situations nonatomic is used to provide faster access to a property, but there is a chance of a race condition causing the property to be nil under rare circumstances (when a value is being set from another thread and the old value was released from memory but the new value hasn’t yet been fully assigned to the location in memory for the property).

18 :: Tell us what's the difference between using a delegate and notification?

Both are used for sending values and messages to interested parties. A delegate is for one-to-one communication and is a pattern promoted by Apple. In delegation the class raising events will have a property for the delegate and will typically expect it to implement some protocol. The delegating class can then call the _delegate_s protocol methods.

Notification allows a class to broadcast events across the entire application to any interested parties. The broadcasting class doesn't need to know anything about the listeners for this event, therefore notification is very useful in helping to decouple components in an application.

19 :: Explain me what is AutoLayout? What does it mean when a constraint is "broken" by iOS?

AutoLayout is way of laying out UIViews using a set of constraints that specify the location and size based relative to other views or based on explicit values. AutoLayout makes it easier to design screens that resize and layout out their components better based on the size and orientation of a screen. _Constraint_s include:

setting the horizontal/vertical distance between 2 views
setting the height/width to be a ratio relative to a different view
a width/height/spacing can be an explicit static value
Sometimes constraints conflict with each other. For example imagine a UIView which has 2 height constraints: one says make the UIView 200px high, and the second says make the height twice the height of a button. If the iOS runtime can not satisfy both of these constraints then it has to pick only one. The other is then reported as being "broken" by iOS.

20 :: Tell us what is the most interesting project you have worked on?

Use this as a chance to tell a story — and follow a typical story arc: background, opportunity, process, adversity along the way, triumphs, and outcome. Talk about what you did on the project but focus most on why this particular project was so interesting for you. Did it have to do with the people, circumstance, opportunity, or something else?

As a young designer, I like to talk about my first foray in design: Creating the user experience for a co-living space in Tokyo. This project was meaningful to me because it was my introduction to UX and trial by fire as a designer. I practiced UX principles in a physical space, was challenged with designing in a foreign context (Tokyo), and I was able to find success in ambiguity and uncertainty — when I started I really didn’t know what I was doing. Designing in a physical space provided a laboratory for me to observe, test and iterate in real time and built a foundation for how I now approach design problems in a digital context.