12 UX Designer Interview Questions and Answers

Feel confident walking into your UX designer interview by preparing for these common questions.
A smiling woman with short hair and earrings sits at a table during a UX designer job interview

Interviews can be intimidating. Spend some time preparing ahead of your next user experience (UX) designer interview, and you can walk in (or sign on) with more confidence. A big part of preparing for an interview is going over some common interview questions and thinking through how you’ll answer them. 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common questions you might encounter in an interview for a UX designer job. We’ll discuss what the interviewer really wants to know and offer tips on how to formulate your answers to help make yourself and your portfolio shine. Finally, we’ll finish with some tips specific to the UX interview process.

Get started in UX: Google UX Design Professional Certificate

Common interview questions for a UX designer

It’s impossible to walk into an interview knowing exactly what questions you’ll be asked. But there’s a good chance you’ll be asked some common UX interview questions. Think through and practice your answers to these 12 questions to build confidence ahead of your next interview.

1. Tell us about yourself.

What they’re really asking: What makes you the right person for this position?

This question comes up in many interviews, UX or otherwise. It might sound like a simple get-to-know-you question, but there’s more to it. This is your opportunity to explain your journey with UX design. 

What sparked your interest in UX? What experiences did you have in your previous jobs or coursework that inspired you to pursue a career in UX design?

It’s okay if you don’t have any previous experience working as a UX designer. Think about what UX design skills you might have used in a different role, and relate them here.

This is also a good time to express what excites you about the role you’re applying for, and why you think you’re the best candidate for the job.

Other forms this question might take:

  • Why are you interested in UX?

  • How did you get started in UX?

  • Tell me a little bit more about your background.

2. What is UX design?

What they’re really asking: Do you understand the value of the role?

When this type of question comes up, the interviewer is likely not looking for a simple dictionary definition of user experience. Instead, they may be trying to suss out your understanding of the role—how it brings value to both customers and the business.

UX design is all about championing the user. Consider discussing how empathy and user-centered design create value. Also talk about the ways in which you keep the user at the center of the design process: user research, personas and user journey maps, and usability testing.

Other forms this question might take:

  • Why should we hire a UX designer?

  • What’s the value of UX design?

  • How do you define UX?

3. Tell me about some of your favorite examples of good UX. 

What they’re really asking: Do you understand the elements of good user experience?

Knowing why good UX is important is one thing. Knowing how to design good UX is another. This question digs into your knowledge of UX best practices. 

Think of a few examples ahead of time. What elements of the product, app, or website make the user experience enjoyable? How is the design user-centric? How do you think that impacts the company’s bottom line?

Other forms this question might take:

  • What does it mean to be a good UX designer?

  • What are the elements of good UX?

4. What is the difference between UX and UI?

What they’re really asking: Do you understand what UX is and isn’t (and how it fits into the bigger picture)?

While the terms UI and UX are sometimes used interchangeably (or lumped together), they represent distinct roles in the product development process. Make sure you can communicate the difference between a product looking good (UI) and working effectively and efficiently (UX). 

If you’ve worked with a UI or graphic designer before, this would be a good time to talk about that collaboration and division of labor.

Other forms this question might take:

  • What’s the difference between a UX designer and a graphic designer?

  • How is UX design different from visual design?

  • What sets UX apart from other design disciplines?

5. Walk me through your workflow.

What they’re really asking: What’s your thought process when solving problems?

This question is all about analyzing your critical thinking and problem solving skills. Pick a successful project you’ve worked on in the past and walk through the steps you took. Structure your answer much like the design process itself by mentioning how you researched, designed, and validated your design decisions. Avoid the temptation to answer this question in general terms. 

Other forms this question might take:

  • Walk me through your portfolio.

  • What’s your design process?

  • Tell me about a project that challenged you. How did you work through the challenge?

6. What kind of research methods do you use?

What they’re really asking: How do you validate your design decisions?

User research is a key part of the UX design process, so interviewers will sometimes want to gauge your familiarity with the process and methods.

You can approach this question in a couple of ways. Be sure to walk through any user research methods you’ve used in the past (this can include research you conducted as part of a course or degree project). Talk about the benefits and limitations of each method.

If you have limited experience in UX design, you can also frame your answer in terms of research methods you’d like to try and why. 

Other forms this question might take:

  • Have you conducted user research in the past?

  • How do you decide which research method to use?

7. How do you respond to negative feedback? 

What they’re really asking: Are you a team player?

Part of the interview process involves figuring out what you’re like to work with. Can you work collaboratively? Are you able to incorporate different ideas and viewpoints into your designs? Do you trust your team members with your work? 

UX design is a highly collaborative process. Take this opportunity to talk about a successful collaboration. This could be a group project or a team effort in a previous job. No matter the example you choose, remember to point out the role you played in the group, how you overcame any challenges, what you learned from your teammates, and how the finished product benefitted from the collaboration.

Other forms this question might take:

  • Do you work well as part of a team?

  • Describe your ideal work environment.

  • How do you hand over your designs to developers?

8. Tell me about your most/least successful UX design project.

What they’re really asking: What are your biggest strengths or weaknesses?

Getting asked about the design project you’re most proud of is your chance to showcase your strengths. Outline your contributions to the project, then go into a little more detail about what made it so successful. As you prepare for this question, see if you can tie in some of the qualities listed in the job description for the role.

The negative version of the question is another way to ask you about your weaknesses. Be honest, but keep the focus on what you learned from the not-so-successful project and what you’d do differently in the future. 

No matter which version of the question you get, take it as an opportunity to define how you measure success (hint: tie it to the user).

Other forms this question might take:

  • Walk me through your portfolio.

  • What is your biggest strength/weakness as a UX designer?

  • Tell me about a design problem that challenged you.

9. How would you improve the UX of our product?

What they’re really asking: Have you done your research?

It’s always a good idea to read up on the company you’re applying to ahead of your interview. This demonstrates your interest in this company and this role as opposed to any other UX designer job. 

Take some time to explore the company’s products. Browse their website. Use their app if they have one. 

Think about what works and what could be improved. Pick one or two examples, and come up with a sample plan of action. Remember to mention the company’s target users and the type of research you might conduct when enhancing an existing design.

The point here isn’t to bash your potential employer but to offer a preview of the value you’d bring to the company. 

Other forms this question might take:

  • Tell me about a bad user experience you’ve had. How would you fix it?

10. Where do you find inspiration?

What they’re really asking: Are you passionate about UX design? Are you a lifelong learner?

Interviewers are generally looking for a couple of things when they ask a question like this. First, they want to know that you’re genuinely interested in the industry. Second, they want to know that you’re staying on top of trends. Third, they want to see that you’re always looking for ways to learn and improve.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. 

You could discuss a design book you’ve read recently, pointing out a tip or two you gleaned from it. You could talk about a UX podcast you listen to, or a trend you read about in a design blog. How could that trend contribute to this company’s success? Maybe there’s a UX designer you follow on Twitter who always inspires you with new ideas.

If you’re not regularly consuming UX design media, now’s the time to start. Here’s a list of UX books, blogs, and podcasts to get you going.

Other forms this question might take:

  • What do you think is the next big trend in UX design?

  • What inspires you?

  • What inspires your work?

11. Do you have any questions?

What they’re really asking: Are you engaged and curious?

This question closes out many interviews, and it’s important that you come prepared with your own thoughtful questions. The main point of an interview is for a company to determine whether you’re a good fit for a role. But that goes both ways. This is your chance to explore whether the company is a good fit for you. 

Demonstrate your interest in the company and the job by asking two or three questions. You can prepare some questions ahead of time, but don’t be afraid to ask questions that may have come up during the interview process. Topics to inquire about might include the company culture, team structure, and business goals.

12. The Whiteboard Challenge

What they’re really asking: How do you perform under pressure? Can you back up the skills listed on your resume?

Many UX designer interviews include a hands-on design challenge. Sometimes this is a take-home project that you turn in later. More commonly, it’s a whiteboard challenge, where you’re asked to design a solution on the spot while talking through your process.

This can be intimidating, but keep in mind that it’s more about seeing your process in action than the final result. Break this down into a few steps:

1. Ask questions to clarify what the challenge entails. What are the expected outcomes? What factors should you consider?

2. Ask more questions to help you build a user persona.

3. Create a user story. Outline what the user would need to solve their problem and the steps they might take.

4. Draw a few critical wireframes on the whiteboard. Explain what you’re including and why. 

5. Discuss some alternatives or other use cases.

6. Respond to any feedback with improvements.

7. Ask if there’s anything else you should iterate on.

Practice the process with a real whiteboard ahead of the interview. Here are a few sample challenges to practice with:

  • Design a child-friendly app for a store that makes custom teddy bears.

  • Design a mobile app to help singles safely find a roommate in a big city.

  • Re-design a popular dating app to make it more useful during the pandemic.

  • Design something from the Designercize prompt generator.

Tips: Acing your UX interview

Besides some of this general advice on how to prepare for an interview, here are some tips specific to UX roles.

 

  • Practice on someone in the design field and someone who’s not. The person interviewing you may not be a UX designer, so you should be comfortable answering in terms that will still make sense to a non-designer.

  • Be ready to share your screen. Whether you’re interviewing in person or online, you may be asked to share your UX design portfolio on your screen. Close any unnecessary windows, and practice navigating to the projects you want to highlight.

  • Don’t be afraid to stop and think before answering (especially for design challenges). Talk through your thought process out loud—this demonstrates your ability to think through problems analytically.

Get started in UX design

Interested in a career as a UX designer? Build the skills you need for an entry-level role in less than six months with the Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera. Complete three end-to-end projects for your portfolio while learning to use tools like Figma and Adobe XD.

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