6 ways to detect an amateur UX/UI Designer

Matthew Lippl
5 min readJan 11, 2017


We all know, user experience has become a serious keyword in many organizations; turning to UX professionals to create, improve and completely reface their business not only on the aesthetics side but even on the business side has become the norm. Forbes.com has even recognized UX Designers as “Revolutionizing Business” in the following article:

With any industry, ongoing popularity can lead to an influx of new interest by individuals with limited experience (except for maybe a YouTube course or two), that offer bad practices and coin themselves as “experts” with nothing to show for it but some concepts. Differentiating the inexperienced from the experienced can be a difficult task but, I have some tips that can help in the interview process.

1. When do you know when the job is done?

This is a pretty good question that can easily show who your dealing with immediately. You don’t need a huge explanation here but if you end up getting an open and closed answer like,”When I hand off the PSD to a developer.” That’s a surefire way to tell your dealing with an amateur reason being, no experienced UXer will hand off a PSD or Sketch file and expect a developer/engineer to export all the assets themselves, that’s nonsense and just a waste of time. Any answer revolving around hand off as their final step should be a red flag. Realistically, UX for a project is never actually “done”. There is always a way to improve a product; I’ve never heard or worked with teams that’s consider a product being absolutely perfect that never had to be touched again.

2. A confusing portfolio/resume site

This can sometimes be a tricky one. Many UXers have a robust portfolio that notes 5–10 different projects with every single step of their process with a case study. Although having that info in there could be helpful to outline their skills; let’s be honest, no one really cares to go through all that word for word. If they make it more difficult for you to go through their portfolio, that would be a head scratch moment for me…you know, considering their job is to offer an enjoyable way of understanding content.

3. No experience with collaboration

User experience thrives on collaboration and gathering feedback. This is one of the more crucial parts of the job. There‘s a couple thoughts that come to mind; you can have an expert or beginner with no collaboration experience. Frankly, I would take the beginner in a heart beat as I could teach them the tools and the processes on a clean slate with no bad habits attached. Now, do I need to say why and expert with no experience is bad? Eh sure i’ll bite, theres a good chance your going to end up hiring a know it all dick. Yeh I’ve dealt with it before, its a pain in the ass.

4. Can give firm answers regarding turnaround times

I stumbled upon a question via Instagram recently and had a serious smh moment, stating it would take…”1–2 hours for a landing page design and development…” If your not familiar, landing pages are marketing tools built for conversion. The idea that it would only take an hour or 2 to design a landing page for any market and guarantee conversion is absolutely ridiculous. Seriously. Template or not, every market has a different audience that interacts with products in different ways, theres no one size fits all mechanics here. Would you create a landing page geared to a 50+ demographic with an interest for cars the same way you would build a product for 16–20 interested in makeup? If your answer is yes, -_-

5. Don’t be fooled by a Dribbble portfolio

Take it as you will but we all know that some of the main people coming into the UX field are graphic/web designers (myself being one of them). That’s totally cool but be cautious; having a beautiful dribbble portfolio, doesn’t necessarily mean they have solid groundwork in UX. Most, if not all graphic designers are taught on a more emotional level with obvious focus on color, typography and aesthetics but don’t typically learn the cognitive thought processes of users that helps create habit forming products. Psychology is just something graphic designers don’t traditionally learn.

6. Emotionally driven decision maker; rather than logical

Using techniques to gauge an audience emotionally is great but if personal emotion is driving the decision making, your in a world of trouble. UX designers are here to make the world a little better of a place for users, at least on the web. We have a certain amount of responsibility to be the voice of our users and listen to what they have to say in order to keep them engaged. Some designers tend to have a knack for being more emotionally driven when it comes to decision making, which at times is helpful to get ideas on paper but logical thinking needs to be what keeps the designer ahead of the curve. It’s called user experience for a reason, its about them, not us.



Matthew Lippl

Co-Founder & CXO @ SELLX // Prev. Exec. @CoinMarketCap