Evolution of Design Competence in UX Practice

There has been increasing interest in the adoption of UX within corporate environments, and what competencies translate into effective UX design. This paper addresses the
space between pedagogy and UX practice through the lens of competence, with the goal of understanding how students are initiated into the practice community, how their perception of competence shifts over time, and what factors influence this shift. A 12-week longitudinal data collection, including surveys and interviews, documents this shift, with participants beginning internships and full-time positions in UX. Students and early professionals were asked to assess their level of competence and factors that influenced competence. A co-construction of identity between the designer and their environment is proposed, with a variety of factors relating to tool and representational knowledge, complexity, and corporate culture influencing perceptions of competence in UX over time. Opportunities for future research, particularly in building an understanding of competency in UX based on this preliminary framing of early UX practice are addressed.


Gray, C. M. (2014). Evolution of Design Competence in UX Practice. In Proc. of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press: New York, NY.