As a UX designer working in a startup environment, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a team of one. But it’s extremely hard to cultivate a proper user experience practice if the only person who can enforce it company-wide is, well, you.

And we all know how vital it has become for companies of any size to adopt UX approaches. It’s simple really - companies that know their users build more successful products.

For this to happen in your company, you need to evangelize the user experience to non-designers (e.g. developers, product manager, etc.) and to the C-level so you can stop focusing solely on designing feature requests and start running product initiatives that rely on user research, usability testing, and data analysis.

And don’t think there is a ‘ux design unicorn’ out there who can manage this process all by herself. The UX process requires people who are experts in different disciplines which is why most high-performing UX teams include at least some of the following roles:

  • Visual Designer: The visual designer focuses on aesthetic part of the product – graphics, typography, iconography and the colour schemes.
  • UX Designer: The main focus of the UX designer is to understand how user is going to interact with the product to ensure there’s a logical flow so there is no friction in the experience.
  • UI Designer: The UI Designer’s are responsible for every detail of how the product is laid out. They design the product interface in a way that makes it easy and enjoyable to use, following the path set out by the UX designer.
  • Interaction Designer: They focus on what the interface does after the user interacts with it, so they are mostly working on creating animations inside an application.
  • Information Architect: Deals with organizing the structure of a website, app or any other digital product. Their goal is to create information hierarchy that influences the user’s behaviors and makes it easy for them to accomplish their tasks.
  • UX Researcher: Deals with defining your target users (user personas) and doing research that helps everyone on the product team understand user needs and challenges. UX researchers typically conduct user interviews as part of usability studies. \

Now, you may not need all of the above roles, but some of them will be crucial to your company’s UX efforts and some designers may work at the intersection of these roles. Define what these roles are and kick off the hiring process.

A few words on the hiring

There are several things to consider when you’re writing your job descriptions, and you should keep this in mind for each role you’re advertising:

  • What are the immediate technical requirements?
  • Soft skills matter, are you prioritizing them in your hiring?
  • How will the role change during time?
  • How will this role be promoted in the future?

The second point is extremely important, at least it is in our company where we cultivate a UX-first approach to building products and nourish what we think is a unique culture.

That’s why soft skills and character are high on our priority list when we’re assessing candidates. We look for the following soft skills in UX designers:

  • Skilled communicator that can clearly express their ideas and thoughts to the rest of the team
  • Empathy and an ability to work with others in a multidisciplinary team
  • Understands the landscape of disciplines that now comprise UX and the connections between them.

Finally, you need to consider how you’ll need to change and grow as a leader to keep up with your team.

Where to find the right people for your team?

Referrals are always the best way to find quality candidates that could potentially be a good fit for your company culture. But we all know referrals are not always available to us when we need them. And that’s when most people turn to online job boards, or hire recruiting consultants.

This is an ok tactic if you have to hire someone new, fast. But quick hiring is also a potential disaster, and an expensive one.

So the right way to go about it is getting to know the work of designers and identifying those who are good fit for you company’s culture.

There are many design-focused communities that you can explore. As you begin your search, look for individuals who are active in communities, such as Behance, Dribbble, Product Hunt, etc. Plus, it’s also worth looking for designers who are contributing to open-source projects.

Conclusion

By building a UX team you will create a company culture that puts user experience at the center, enabling you to build digital products that deliver meaningful experiences.

It may be impossible to create a perfect UX team, but if you follow the tips from this article, you may end up with a winning one!