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Post by Rich Moy on Feb 12, 2018 12:00:00 PM

When it comes to the user experience, most people tend to think of the design aspects of a website or an application—which still makes perfect sense. Plenty of technology experts argue that the need for quality designers will only increase in the coming years. But at the same time, companies have also realized that they need user experience professionals that can also write quality code. Enter the UX developer.

Tim Todish once summed this up by saying that UX developers are responsible for bridging the gap between design and technology. “We’re not really designers, yet to be a good UX developer, you certainly need to have an eye for design,” Todish wrote. “In the same vein, we’re not traditional developers, but we certainly need to have development experience and expertise.”

Sound like a tough developer type to find and hire? You bet, and the first step is to understand your audience. Here are a few things you should know when you need to find a UX developer.

Know Where They Spend Their Free Time

Developers across all specialties and functions enjoy sharing their work and commiserating with their peers online. This is especially true for UX developers, whose work is a combination of code and design.

In particular, sites like UX Mastery, Sitepoint, and the Web Designer Forum are some of the most active user experience communities. Programmers rely on these sites to get feedback on their portfolios, learn more about the coding aspects of user experience design, and share their knowledge. Additionally, the User Experience community is one of the most active on the Stack Exchange network.

While UX developers occasionally ask for career-related advice on these sites, resist the urge to start new threads about your open jobs. Instead, offer compliments on the portfolios that you’re impressed with, and ask developers specific questions about their thought process. Of course, this won’t help you hire a UX developer immediately. But building more authentic relationships with UX professionals will make you stand out from the competition and could pay long-term dividends.

Understand Their Biggest Challenges at Work

Need to hire a UX developer? You need to do your homework. Specifically, you should have a general understanding of the most common challenges they tackle every day. Because there are all types of professionals working on user experience design, it’s especially important to know what makes the UX developer’s job unique.

To help you get started, here are a few of their most significant obstacles at work.

  • Working in silos. Anita Cheng, a UX Developer for the City of Los Angeles, says that it’s difficult to gather all of the information you need. “No one person knows the answers,” she adds. “Your users won’t be in one place, the requirements won’t be in one place, and the code probably won’t be in one place, either.”
  • Prioritizing user security and privacy. Not only are UX developers responsible for creating platforms that are visually appealing, but they also need to ensure that the code that powers it provides a safe experience. 
  • Managing user-testing schedules. Many UX professionals argue that user testing should be incorporated throughout the development cycle. For some developers, this can be uncomfortable at first.

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