Have you ever heard of user experience developers? Better known as a UX developer, it is one of the fastest-growing roles for skilled and ambitious people. While these roles have started gaining enormous recognition in the tech world, for those without a tech background it could be hard to familiarize themselves with their skills.

We are here to answer two fundamental questions: What is a UX developer and, above all, why do you need one for your project?

A UX developer builds various web apps and programs using code and visual design elements, always keeping the user experience in mind. This process is broadly known as user experience (UX) design. In UX design, developers plan, create, and refine products that offer positive experiences for end-users. That means designing everything from product integration to the branding, usability, and function of the product.

That broad description is only the beginning of the story. Studies have shown that top-notch UX design can produce enormous value -- as much as $10-$100 for every $1 spent. Read on to see what a UX developer can do for your project and your company.

The first steps for a UX developer

Conduct user research. To understand the user experience, go to the source. It’s essential that a UX developer hears from actual users.

For instance, let’s say your company wants to s rebuild its website to create a more user-friendly experience for your customers. A skilled UX developer will take your existing website out for a test drive to see what’s working and what needs improvement. He will then speak to existing website users to get a better understanding of the features they enjoy, and those that come up short. The next step will be to see what your company’s competitors have to offer on their own sites.

Getting to know exactly who your company’s users are, what they want, what they don’t want, and what could improve their experience on your website is how the UX developer builds that ideal functionality.

Conduct product research. This is essentially an extension of user research. Just as a UX developer needs to know what your company’s customers like, dislike, want, and need, he should understand everything that goes into your product(s).

Here too, he will solicit feedback from users. Some of those discussions could take place in the form of one-on-one interviews, as well as broader studies such as focus groups and online surveys.

Website functionality lies at the heart of a UX developer’s job. If a UX developer is doing his job well, that will be reflected in a website that’s easy to use, and able to solve many different customer problems and pain points.

The backbone of UX design

Set up information architecture. The most common way for a UX developer to establish information architecture is to identify personas.

For instance, if your company is building a website to sell fitness equipment, a typical persona for that site might be Debbie, a 38-year-old woman who wants to get into shape. A UX developer will then create an example task for her persona, something like this:

“Debbie just had her second child, and she wants to lose the baby weight and get back to runner’s shape so she can resume running half-marathons as quickly as possible.”

To complete the information architecture process, a developer will then deploy UX design techniques to figure out the best way to organize and present content on the website. The goal is to make the information intuitive and easy to find for our Debbie archetype (or any other likely user).

Create wireframes. UX designers/developers use wireframes to enable them to define and plan what the design will look like for a website or app. With a wireframe, a UX developer takes the user research he’s already done, then maps out the best and more efficient ways for users to process the information on the site.

Related to the wireframing process are user flows. User flows are flowcharts that help a UX developer visualize the steps a user will take when using a website (or other product), from the user’s first interaction all the way to the final step of the process.

Create prototypes. Once the initial user and product research is done and the information architecture and wireframe are in place, the UX developer’s next step is to build a prototype for the website or app being built.

A prototype is a bare-bones version of the website, app, or other product that your company wants to see built. It includes some more basic functionality that enables beta users to test-drive the site and see if they’re happy with the proposed product being built.

Making mistakes at this stage of the process isn’t only OK -- it can be highly beneficial. By ironing out UX design kinks now, a developer can deliver a final product that’s already been stress-tested, and is finally ready to meet user demands in real time.

A UX design difference maker

Handle visual design. One of the most important elements of a user-friendly website is superior visual design. Visual design elements can include imagery, icons, color schemes, typography, and more.

One thing to note about visual design is that it’s often handled by a user interface (UI) developer, rather than a UX developer.

That said, some UX developers do work on a website’s visual design as well. If your company wants to hire one person to handle your entire website overhaul, finding a UX developer who’s also a visual design expert is a great way to go.

Why consider a remote UX developer

Bring intellectual diversity to the team. Complacency is one of the biggest threats to the success of any business. Work in the same office with the same set of people for too long, and it’s easy to fall into familiar patterns. The result can be a slowdown in innovation, and a failure to find new solutions and new ideas.

A remote UX developer can shake things up. By hiring a remote developer you get a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective, that can help your company to see opportunities you might have otherwise missed by sticking to the status quo.

Moreover, a skilled remote web developer will have all kinds of talents, from a keen eye for design to recognizing exactly what the customer wants. Those capabilities can be a boon to any business looking to grow and innovate.

Find affordable, productive talent. The global talent pool is chock full of highly skilled developers. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look.

Go outside Silicon Valley and you’ll find many UX developers who are just as smart and accomplished as those in tech hot spots. The difference is that they’ll likely be more affordable for your business.

In some cases, you might find a remote developer is more productive too. Studies have shown that a worker in a typical office environment gets an average of just two hours and 53 minutes of work done per day, due to the constant distractions buzzing around them.

With such a broad and robust skillset, it’s no surprise that UX developers are in heavy demand. Find the right remote developer in the right locale, and you’ll end up getting more quality work done for your business.

Author's Bio: 

Sharon Koifman is the CEO of DistantJob, a recruitment agency that provides remote worker staffing and best practices-based advisory services for companies seeking to improve and expand their remote work operations.