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30 UX Interview Questions (With Answers + Insights)

17 minute read | July 31, 2023
Meg Clayton

Written by:
Meg Clayton

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Interviews are an unfortunate necessity, and it’s often said that you can never get used to them no matter how many you go through. Some interviewers ask curveball questions, and some pick apart your answers just to see how you’ll react. Sometimes you’ll even face questions about gaps in your resume or why you dropped out of college.

It’s almost as if there are no rules for interviewers — and this makes it almost impossible to fully predict what your next UX design interview might look like. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare.

The 30 UX design interview questions we’ve compiled here cover all the bases usually touched on by companies: industry, your work, portfolio and tools, yourself, and your work style. Along with some extra tips and real-world examples of successful interviewees, these sample questions should help you develop an idea of what to expect.

What Can You Expect in a UX Design Interview?

Interviews for UX design roles usually involve a combination of technical questions, behavioral questions, and portfolio-related questions. You’ll need to talk about your design thinking process, explain your decisions, and discuss methodologies. Interviewers want to hear insightful comments about your own work, the challenges you’ve faced, and the impact that your projects have had.

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UX Design Interview Questions — General Industry

These questions cover general aspects of the UX design industry and help you share your thoughts on UX design and its purpose.

How Would You Explain UX Design to a Child?

The phrasing of this question is here to encourage you to keep things as clear, simple, and concise as possible. Choose a child-friendly and relatable example to base your explanation around. Here’s an example:

“Imagine you have a toy or a game that you really love playing with. It has big colorful buttons that are really easy and fun to use. Those big buttons were designed by a UX designer, and they tried their best to make them as nice and fun as possible.

UX designers help the people who make toys and other products so they can make the best version of the toy. They think about where the buttons should go, what colors to use, and how to organize things so you can find what you need easily.

They also talk to people like you who will use the toy, so they can understand what you want and make sure the toy meets your expectations.”

What Are the Most Important Skills for a UX Designer? Why?

There’s no one correct answer to this. Don’t worry about what answer the interviewer wants to hear. Instead, focus on making your reasoning well thought out and convincing. Here’s an example:

“To me, user research, user advocacy, and empathy are the most valuable skills for a UX designer. We need to be willing to put ourselves in the shoes of the users and think in detail about what they want from the product, how and where they’d use it, what features would be beneficial, and what inconveniences or shortcuts we absolutely need to avoid.”

What Are Some Common Mistakes To Avoid in UX Design?

You don’t need to think of anything unique or new to say with this question. It asks about “common” mistakes, so just talk about the classics. Here’s an example:

“One common mistake is to neglect or attempt to work against business needs. Sometimes UX designers have very different priorities than stakeholders, but it’s important to realize that we need to work within the system rather than against it.

A lot of the changes and improvements we propose cost time and money, so we need to convince other departments that they are worth the investment. However, if we push for things that are too radical, we can end up harming our own efforts.”

UX Design Interview Questions — Your Work

These questions are all about the unique way you approach and carry out your work. If you don’t think about your process a lot, it’s a good idea to give it some thought before the interview.

What Does Your Design Process Look Like?

First and foremost, remember to be honest. Have confidence in your work and talk about the different points you always address during a project. Here’s an example:

“While every project is different, I believe in structured processes that help me to consider every angle. This way, I can pick up on small details that I otherwise might have assumed wouldn’t apply to the project in question.

As you might expect, I always begin with research. While I always keep deadlines in mind, I refuse to let this stage in the process end prematurely, as it forms the basis of all the design decisions I’ll make going forward.”

How Do You Tackle User Research? What Methods Do You Use?

This is a chance to showcase the depth of your knowledge in this field, so make sure to mention a variety of methods you’d use in different situations. Here’s an example:

“I usually determine my research methods directly after defining the overall goals and objectives. Different methods work better in different situations, so I tend to go through the entire list of methods available to me and consider what value each could provide.

Some of the most common methods I use are user interviews, surveys, usability testing, diary studies, contextual inquiry, and data analysis.”

What Is the Most Challenging Project You’ve Worked On?

While questions like this are very broad, you can’t cover every challenge you faced during the entire project. Instead, pick a specific challenge and succinctly explain it and your solution.

“The most challenging project I’ve worked on was the redesign of a large-scale e-commerce platform. The scale of the digital product was unlike anything I had worked on before, and I had to adjust to the new level of scale and complexity.”

How Would You Go About Conducting a UX Evaluation?

You don’t need to have a unique take on questions like this. Even if you stick to the textbook evaluation methods, just explain them clearly and concisely.

“I start by defining the evaluation goals and then choosing the methods. I focus heavily on usability testing and user behavior analysis to create a bank of data I can then analyze to identify key actionable insights.”

How Do You Ascertain Which Features To Add to Your Product?

It’s easy to slip into a long and complex answer with questions like this, but always remember to pinpoint a specific example and explain it in full. This will help you avoid rambling or starting new points before you’ve finished the current one.

“To design high-quality yet business-viable features, I always start with intense user research. Once I’m happy that I’ve explored every angle of a product from the user’s perspective, I then brainstorm the ideal features they would want and need.

Next, I go back over these ideas and re-evaluate them from a business perspective. I think about what’s plausible and what’s out of the question, and then draft a set of new versions that consider both user needs and business needs.”

How Do You Measure the Success of a Design Project?

There are many different aspects to consider when measuring the success of a project. Make sure to mention multiple methods that cover multiple areas to show a broad scope of understanding.

“I use a varied combination of metrics and methods to evaluate the success of a project. For example, I consider task completion rates, error rates, time on task rates, click-through rates, and time spent with the product to gauge usability and user engagement.”

Describe Your Experience With A/B Testing.

A/B testing is an important tool for UX designers, so you should have plenty to say on the subject. Cover how often you engage in A/B testing and the kinds of changes it helps you to make.

“I have extensive experience with A/B testing and use it regularly to optimize and refine designs. I always begin by setting an objective and a hypothesis before choosing my variables. These are most often elements such as layout, color schemes, and CTAs.”

How Do You Collaborate With Developers To Ensure the Design Is Implemented Correctly?

Collaboration is key, so make sure to emphasize your commitment to communication and teamwork.

“I make it a point to begin communication with developers as early as possible. My favorite strategy is to develop a rapport by creating a dedicated Slack channel where we can discuss the project and my designs while they’re in the early stages.

This helps both teams feel involved in the process and gives them more time to look over the designs. We can save time by addressing obvious problems in their infancy, making things easier for the developer team once the designs are handed over officially. It also allows the UX team to share their ideas and passion for user advocacy, encouraging the developer team to feel more invested in our goals as well.”

What Are Some Changes You’d Make To Improve Our Product’s UX?

This question is a common one and something you definitely need to prepare for in advance. Research is key—you need to look over the product in question and develop some opinions about it. Including constructive criticism is essential since that’s what was asked for, but don’t be afraid to mention elements you like as well.

Make sure not to bombard the hiring manager with too many ideas, though. As with all of these questions, it’s best to pick an isolated example and explain it well, rather than cover multiple areas less effectively. In other words, always prioritize quality over quantity.

Portfolio and Tools

Walking the interviewer through your portfolio is probably the most fun and most important part of the interview. It’s where you can express your passion and show off your design and technical skills.

Can You Walk Me Through Your Portfolio?

When showcasing your portfolio, there are a few key things to remember. First, make sure the context and project background is clear. If you’re going to explain them in conversation, make sure to keep it concise.

Your portfolio should be formatted in a way that makes it easy for you to walk through your design process in a logical order. You can almost think of it like the slides of a presentation—think about what visual aids you want during specific parts of your explanations.

What Is the Project You’re Most Proud of in Your Portfolio? Walk Me Through the Design Process.

If you struggle with pinpointing the project you’re most proud of, another way to approach it is to think about which project went the best for you. Which project allowed you to achieve peak performance?

Talk to Me About Some of the Results You’ve Achieved With the Projects in Your Portfolio.

Rely on cold, hard statistics when answering this question. Think back to the various methods you’ve used to measure success and use them to convey results. For example, you can talk about the best time on task and error rates you’ve achieved or impressive user engagement metrics.

If you’ve ever worked on a redesign project, they also work great for this kind of question because you can compare metrics from the original product versus your redesigned product.

What Tools Are You Familiar With?

The market for UX design tools is vast, and you’re unlikely to have worked with them all. When answering this question, be honest about your experience level with each tool and make sure you’ve taken note of the specific examples that were mentioned in the designer job description.

Here are some examples:

Design and prototyping:

  • Sketch
  • Adobe XD
  • Figma
  • InVision
  • Balsamiq

Wireframing and diagramming:

  • Lucidchart
  • SketchFlow

Usability testing and user research:

  • UserTesting
  • Lookback
  • Maze

Analytics and user behavior:

  • Google Analytics 
  • Hotjar
  • Crazy Egg

Project management:

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Jira
  • Slack

About Yourself

This can be one of the more difficult sections of the interviews. These questions prompt you to talk about yourself in a way you might not find natural, and there are often hypothetical questions about what you will do given a certain situation. The key is to be honest, genuine, and friendly.

Introduce Yourself.

Self-introductions should always be concise and to the point. Despite being about yourself, the way you approach a self-introduction also says a lot about your ability to read the room and consider the needs and wants of your audience.

Try to keep the entire thing under two minutes long and focus on relevant points, such as your education or career, rather than your life story and hobbies.

What Made You Go Into UX Design?

This doesn’t need to be a dramatic origin story—your passion for the job is what’s important, not the circumstances that lead you into it. You might talk about the first product whose UX you found compelling, or a famous designer whose writing you’ve read.

Choosing a career in UX might have been a recommendation from a family member, or a former teacher might have told you you had potential. Whatever the impetus was, just talk about it honestly and focus on the interest and passion for the industry you developed after being introduced to it.

What Have You Done To Improve Your Skills in UX Design?

This question provides the chance for you to talk about personal projects and your commitment to continuous learning outside of work. The key is to talk about events, projects, and UX design certifications you have pursued through your own initiative.

“After my first few projects, I quickly realized just how important collaboration between UX designers and developers is. To facilitate better teamwork, I decided to take a crash course in front-end development so I could create more technically sensible designs and have deeper discussions with the development team.”

Situational Questions Based on Your Resume

These are questions that are tailored to your UX design resume. When you crafted your resume, you should have included a range of achievements that you were happy to discuss as talking points in the interview.

These questions often follow standard formats such as:

  • “What design methods did you use to achieve…”
  • “Did you face any challenges during…”
  • “Share an experience where…”
  • “Tell me a bit more about the problem you solved with the solution you mentioned here…”

To prepare for this question, think of a few examples of challenges and experiences in advance. Common areas to consider include:

  • Design challenges
  • Balancing UX and business needs
  • User research
  • Tight deadlines
  • Receiving feedback and criticism 
  • Advocating for user-centered design
  • Collaborating with developers and engineers
  • Balancing creativity and innovation with practical constraints

What Draws You Towards This Role and Company?

This is another question that requires you to research the company in advance. Read as much as you can about the product you would be working on, the company’s mission statement, and its company culture.

Then, you need to think about how you align with the company’s goals and fit their company culture. This is a chance to sweet-talk the interviewer a little bit and praise what you’ve read about the company so far. But don’t overdo it. Keep your comments realistic and genuine—this is also a great moment to ask a few of your own questions about the company that you couldn’t find answers for during your research.

How Do You Envision Your First 90 Days on the Job?

If this isn’t your first role, just think back to the first three months of your previous job and remember what you did and what you would try to improve on this time.

“My primary goal in the first 90 days would be to immerse myself in the company’s design processes, user research methods, and design systems. I would likely do this by conducting a comprehensive UX evaluation, so I can both learn about existing systems and begin to pinpoint areas for improvement at the same time.”

What Makes You Stand Out From Other Candidates?

Whether you can think of a number of things that make you stand out or not, it’s best to focus on just one. If you can align it with the specific values of the company, that’s even better.

“I excel in collaboration and verbal communication, which allows me to effectively work with diverse teams. Thanks to my extra training in technical topics like UI design and programming, I can bridge the gap between design and development by keeping technical requirements in mind and having in-depth conversations with the development team.”

Can You Tell Me Your Salary Expectations?

The key here is to be professional and transparent. Many states now require job posts to include salary ranges, so you can use this and your previous role as a base. You should rarely have to consider taking a pay cut compared to your last job, so it’s fine to consider that as your minimum.

While you should keep these numbers in mind, it’s best not to give a specific number too soon in the application process. Focus on discussing your skills and the value you can bring, as well as expressing your flexibility in regard to compensation.

This way, you won’t get marked down as a candidate that will potentially demand too much, but you won’t accidentally limit yourself to a low-end salary either.

What Makes You Tick?

These kinds of questions focus on assessing how you work in a professional environment and how you respond to the challenges and barriers common to UX design work. They can often involve discussing negative aspects like mistakes, conflicts, or weaknesses, so it’s essential to remain honest and genuine.

Do You Prefer To Work Independently or in a Team?

This is almost a trick question. While you should emphasize your ability to work autonomously and meet deadlines without constant supervision, it’s rarely appropriate to say you prefer working independently. This can give the impression that you might try to justify opportunities to work alone when you should be prioritizing collaboration. Try mentioning collaborative tools like Figma or InVision Freehand to score extra points.

How Do You Respond to Negative Feedback?

Negative feedback is difficult for a lot of people, but it’s important to express a positive and constructive approach to this designer interview question. You need to demonstrate emotional maturity and awareness of the importance of feedback.

“I consider feedback to be a natural and crucial part of the collaborative design process. I personally think working on designs in a collaborative real-time environment is the best way to facilitate constant feedback and minimize uncomfortable situations for team members. When everything is a discussion, and micro-changes are happening all the time, people are less likely to get overly attached to their ideas, feel defensive about them, or take feedback personally.”

Tell Me About a Time When You Disagreed With Your Team’s Recommendation. What Did You Do?

To succeed in answering this question, you need to focus on demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively, be open to changes and compromises, and accept final decisions.

You should also bear in mind that this does not need to be a story where you “win” in the end. In fact, an example where your team convinces you to change your mind could work even better, as it shows commitment to the “best idea wins” mentality and your ability to choose professionalism over personal pride.

Would You Prefer To Submit Work That Is 95% Perfect and on Time, or Produce 100% Perfect Work That Overshot the Deadline?

Rather than outright choosing one option, the idea here is to strike a balance between quality and timeliness.

“While context is extremely important here, most of my experience has taught me that UX design is an iterative process that undergoes constant improvement. Because of this, I usually choose to stick to deadlines throughout the project because they affect the workflows and progress of other teams.

While it can be difficult to hand over something you’re not 100% happy with, you can always communicate this and even point out the areas that are most likely to receive updates or edits later on. It’s very important to understand how other teams will use your work and exactly what they need from you at what times. That way, you can know when further improvement will be possible after the deadline, and when you should push the deadline to make sure everything is at its best.”

Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake at Work

Here are some key points to remember for this kind of question:

  • Tell a real story, don’t craft one
  • Choose a mistake that you remedied
  • Take responsibility and be transparent 
  • Focus less on the mistake and more on your remedy and the lessons learned

UX Design Interview Questions — Real-Time Design

Some UX design job interview processes will include a section on real-time design. This is like the UX equivalent of the technical coding section of a programming interview.

The Whiteboard UX Design Challenge

The most common style of real-time design is the whiteboard challenge, where you walk through your design process using a whiteboard and a marker. The challenge helps interviewers assess a range of traits, such as:

  • Creative thinking, critical thinking, and design thinking
  • Communication soft skills 
  • Stress management 
  • Problem-solving skills

The focus is not on your final design, but the way you approach the hands-on design challenge. The interviewer will provide you with prompts, contexts, and requirements to assess how well you listen, respond, and understand the situation.

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How Can You Prepare Well for a UX Design Interview?

Throughout the 30 questions we’ve covered, we’ve pointed out when a question requires research. Here’s a collected list of the general topics you’ll need to research or think about in advance to prepare for a UX interview:

  • Your design process 
  • Your most challenging project
  • The company’s product (and suggestions about its UX design)
  • Portfolio format 
  • Favorite projects
  • Company mission statement and culture
  • Salary expectations 
  • Examples of different scenarios (making a mistake, disagreeing with a team member, tight deadlines, receiving feedback, etc.)
  • What makes you stand out

Prepping Your UX Design Portfolio

The perfect UX design portfolio depends on your experience and your specializations, but there are definitely a set of common goals every portfolio needs to hit. These include:

  • Case studies
  • Design process documentation
  • Wireframes and prototypes
  • Usability testing and research
  • User-centered design examples
  • Visual design samples
  • Results and impact
  • Continuous learning 

Cracking the Design Interview and Landing a Job: Real-Life Examples To Inspire You

Here are some useful videos of real UX designers talking about their personal experiences with interviews and application processes.

Sharon Yeun Kim

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In this video, Sharon shares the portfolio presentation that got her job offers from both IBM and Amazon.

Mira

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In Mira’s video, she talks about how she landed, prepared for, and approached UX design interviews at top companies like Google, Spotify, Adobe, and Meta.

UX Design Interview Questions FAQs

We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Is a UX Design Interview Hard?

Managing your nerves is difficult for any interview. However, there’s nothing difficult about a UX design interview in particular. If you already know all of the technical aspects they want you to know, you just need to spend some time drafting or refining answers and examples to common questions.

How Long Does a UX Design Interview Usually Last?

This depends on how much your interviewer wants to get done in one round. A session that includes industry and personal questions, a portfolio walkthrough, and a real-time design exercise could last multiple hours. On the other hand, some initial interviews, such as a phone screening, can be as short as 15-30 minutes.

How Many Rounds of Interviews Does a UX Design Role Generally Have?

Companies all have their own interview and hiring processes, so the exact number of rounds will vary. However, most companies will include the following elements in their interview process: initial screening, portfolio review, design exercise, technical and design skills assessment, cultural fit interview, and stakeholder or team interviews. You can expect as many as four rounds of interviews altogether.

How Do I Practice UX Design Skills?

There are countless ways to practice your UX design skills. Here are some examples: building personal projects, redesigning existing interfaces, design challenges, usability testing, reading blogs and online resources, collaborating with other designers, and taking courses and tutorials.

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About Meg Clayton

Meg Clayton is a UX/UI Designer specializing in smart-home experiences, connected consumer products, and mobile applications. She is with Keurig Dr Pepper, leading the IOT UX/UI design strategy for connected coffee makers and mobile apps. She previously was with Whirlpool Corporation, where she worked on brands such as KitchenAid, Maytag, Whirlpool, JennAir, Amana, and more. She has experience working cross-functionally with engineers and software developers, marketing teams, and global product teams to deliver experiences to the market.