Meet the In-Demand User Experience Specialist with User Interface Skills Sought by 27% of Small and Medium Enterprises. Recent analyses reveal their rising popularity in the digital industry, with companies seeking candidates with at least one to four years of experience.
For those who choose the User Experience Specialist path, the fees can vary from around $23,000/year for a junior to around $58,000 for a senior.
Federico Badaloni is a Ux Specialist. He is a journalist. His role can be defined as User Experience Designer, often replaced by the acronym UXD. He works in the digital division of Gedi which is the company born from the merger of the former Espresso Group, whose leading newspaper is Repubblica, with the publishers of La Stampa and del Secolo XIX. Gedi is active in the printing, digital communication, radio, and television sectors.
Exclusive Interview with a Seasoned User Experience Specialist
What are the skills that a User Experience Specialist must have?
Great adaptability, the ability to look at things from above, and a capacity for abstraction. This doesn’t mean staying away from concrete problems, it means knowing how to include them in a framework that can give operational answers that are coherent with the whole. One can often get lost in minute things, just as one can get lost in abstraction. Keeping the golden mean is exactly the challenge of our discipline which is very complex and is divided into many “sub-disciplines”: from knowing how to research users to knowing how to quickly produce a prototype.
The User Experience specialist (or Designer) plans and refines the experience that people will have of a digital artifact, such as a site, an intranet, or an application, but not only. With the progressive extension of the network into everyday objects and spaces, today the Ux specialist is increasingly called upon to define and organize the communication and experience that takes place in complex spaces such as hospitals, large stations, supermarkets, and universities.
Connecting to a place defines your identity
One of the phrases you have chosen to describe yourself on your social profiles is “We are what we connect”. Can you explain it?
It is a synthesis of a path, because – in fact – today we can connect to any object, person, or place on Earth. The problem is not being physically there, but finding a way to connect, as is happening among us now thanks to digital technology.
Then one’s Time takes on an even higher value because dedicating one’s time to a person or a connection with something qualifies us as people even more than before.
Today is a time when we can be anywhere we want to be. So the conscious choice to connect to a place or a person becomes an act of defining one’s identity, a free choice.
Federico is also the didactic coordinator of the Iulm Master in “Information Architecture and User Experience Design“. He trains those who will then design what we use in our daily lives, from smartphones to tablets, to improve their usability.
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The UX Specialist and the journalist’s curiosity
How much has being a journalist helped you?
It helped me a lot. For me, she has been a constant in this profession. I have a degree in anthropology, I attended the Faculty of Modern Literature. I was thinking about who knows when this line of study will ever be useful to me, that is the ability to grasp how a culture works. Then I started writing, first I became a publicist and then a professional journalist, refining my ability to narrate and listen. Meanwhile, I was designing sites and discovered that this thing had a name, “information architecture”. He also took on another “User Experience Design”.
I understood that what I was doing was born precisely from the ability to listen and relate. Today it no longer makes sense to design something based on one’s impressions, one’s criteria, or one’s rationality. What we pursue as a working method is called Human-Centered Design, where design means planning. What we do is design starting and constantly return to the people who will have to use what we are designing. All of this becomes a method, which has its rituals, its paths, where it is more possible to create value in a short time. In the last twenty years, these paths have consolidated and have become a practice.
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User experience specialist roles and salary
In practice, what does User Experience Design do, and how much does it earn?
It is a highly sought-after profession, and throughout Europe, it is considered essential for designing any site, or any application. More and more he is called to design physical-digital spaces. Today, if we think of the internet as a nervous system of reality that allows me to connect with my telephone – but also with my bracelet, my watch – with the washing machine, with my refrigerator, designing environments in which objects they know how to dialogue in a virtuous way.
It is a punctual skill, much in demand: we design stations, and communication systems within urban transport networks, for example; therefore not only within an app that is confined within itself or a site.
All the students who have attended the Master’s have found work easily, often even during the final months. Many went to Singapore, as well as the rest of Europe. Waking up and realizing that it is no longer possible to design things following common sense, following the patterns of old marketing or old graphics or an old world that acted in very defined contexts, such as a newspaper, a news program, or a radio.
How much do you earn?
Many companies do this job as a consultant and few companies have figures within them, as it happens to me, I am a permanent employee of the Espresso Group. Let’s say that it depends a lot on the activities that take place: a User Experience Specialist could be called to research users, prototyping, operations on how to structure and classify information, usability tests, and interface use tests. It is an activity that is considered to have high added value and the companies are also willing to pay significant sums. Without this activity, it is unthinkable to offer a successful product.
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A best practice, the Rep web app
What is, among the projects you have coordinated, what do you consider your best practice?
The latest re-design of Repubblica.it, or the operation we are carrying out now and which is promising: a progressive web app, created with a new and particular technology developed by Google that we have adopted to present the contents of the particular value of the Republic. It’s called Rep and you can see it on your mobile phone, as if it were a website but feeling the same emotion and the same type of relationship you feel when using an app. It was a great challenge because it involved different corporate skills, at many levels; to get to the result, we had to work as a team and coordinate very punctually on every single task to be carried out.
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