10 Questions You’ll Be Asked in a UX Interview
Ian Schoen

Answers to Possible Design Interview Questions

1. How do you define UX/design?

Speaking on product design, I define it as a process of understanding jobs to be done and testing assumptions over multiple iterations. At every step in the process from research to prototyping, asking, how does this implementation impact our stakeholder — be it user or developer.

2. What is your design process?

I begin with words. A designer rarely works in a silo and projects are often complicated. So I layout a design canvas, outlining values, problems, solutions and stakeholders in brief. It is a living document that helps achieve a shared understanding of the challenge.

Then I’ll gather early research on the topic to form a design hypothesis. I compile observations, inputs and notes during a user story mapping session, which brings order to the many facets of a challenge, while prioritizing them. A story map creates a clear definition of what will be designed, meaning I’m ready to start paper sketches. Lofi Paper sketches evolve into midfi renderings and finally clickable prototypes. I test and incorporate feedback from various stakeholders at every stage.

3. What are some apps or websites that you love?

  • Slack for all its integrations.
  • Foursquare for its subtle ambient computing, eg. calculating likely hours of operation.
  • Waze for its precautions and crowd computing.

4. How do you work with engineers/Product Managers/other designers?

Engineers–I try to understand the technology stack and get a good sense of constraints an opportunities. It helps me not make their jobs hell.

PMs–I work with them to translate tested prototypes into proper specifications, usually in the form of detailed stories with columns for dependencies, purpose etc.

Designers–I like to have continuous cycles of pairing and siloing, followed by structured critique sessions.

5. Who in the industry do you follow and read?

Publications on my Feedly:

Some books on my shelf:

6. What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

I worked for Verdigris, a Series A startup that builds intelligent energy monitors. I was the first designer to join the team on the NASA Ames campus and it was extremely technical design space.

Doing applied research in the field of machine learning and facility energy systems was in and of itself, very interesting. Tailoring technical data to non-technical users was a deep challenge.

7. Do you prefer to work alone or with a team?

I’m an ambivert, empathic and communicative. I tend to like silo time in the morning and collaborations in the afternoon with some downtime for reading towards the end of the day.

8. Tell me about an assignment that was too difficult. How did you handle the situation?

I worked at a startup that lacked a design process and had given little definition to product management and agile development. I met that challenge by researching and building sustainable but flexible processes internally in order to deploy faster.

9. Why do you want to work at [company x]?

I’m looking for deep design challenges, collaboration with other designers, mentorship and a product that impacts the world positively.

10. Why should I hire you?

5 reasons in a listicle:

  • I have a strong design process that is constantly incorporating new practices
  • I’m on the more technical end of designers with a sound understanding of systems
  • I’m a pragmatic optimist
  • I’m a great communicator, isn’t that what design is all about?
  • I’m self driven and love difficult problems
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