User Experience Designer Kaihoahoa Wheako Whakamahi

User experience (UX) designers design the way websites and software applications (apps) look and work, based on what users need.

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User experience designers may do some or all of the following:

  • research website and software application (app) design and technology trends
  • meet with clients to work out the requirements of their website or app and talk over ideas
  • meet users to understand their needs
  • work out website or app layouts and how the user will find their way around them
  • develop basic designs using wireframes (drawings of layouts) and prototypes (original models used to develop later versions) 
  • decide on the type, placement and content of graphics and multimedia features
  • test designs with users
  • liaise with writers, developers and other staff to help create websites or apps.

Physical Requirements

User experience designers need to know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).

Useful Experience

Useful experience for user experience designers includes:

  • previous experience with websites, such as volunteer work in graphic or web design
  • software development
  • user or market research
  • client or project management.

Personal Qualities

User experience designers need to be:

  • imaginative and creative, with an eye for design
  • good at communicating ideas
  • able to accept criticism
  • able to work well under pressure and unsupervised
  • skilled at relationship and project management
  • skilled at problem solving.


User experience designers need to have:

  • web and app design and graphics skills
  • knowledge of user experience methods such as user research and creating wireframes and prototypes 
  • ability to develop websites and apps
  • knowledge of the principles of user-friendly design
  • understanding of how people interact with computers and mobile devices
  • understanding of common software development and project management practices.


User experience designers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may work longer hours to meet deadlines, especially if they are self-employed
  • work from home, in an office, or anywhere a computer can be set up
  • often travel locally, nationally and internationally to meet clients, developers, project managers and systems specialists.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include design and visual communication, and digital technologies.

For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.

User Experience Designers can earn around $90K-$150K per year.

Pay for user experience designers varies depending on skills, experience and where they work.

  • User experience designers usually earn $90,000 to $150,000 a year.
  • User experience managers can earn $100,000 to $150,000 a year.

Sources: Absolute IT, ’IT Job Market and Remuneration Report 2022’; Recruit I.T., 'Technology & Digital Salary Update, Auckland, December 2022’; and Recruit I.T.,‘Technology & Digital Salary Update, Wellington, December 2022’.

User experience designers may progress to set up their own user experience design business, or move into management roles.

Years Of Training

1-3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a user experience designer. However, you usually need a certificate, diploma or degree in one of the following:

  • web/interaction design
  • graphic or media design
  • a computer-related area such as computer science.

You also usually need one or both of the following:

  • a portfolio of your design work
  • examples of projects you have worked on.
User Experience Designer