UX Skills Map: how to use it to build the perfect UX team

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When working within multidisciplinary teams it is key that the skills of every team member are complementary. One of the best ways to assess the UX Skills of a team is to present them in a UX Skills Map, which will help visualise at a glance the strengths and weaknesses of the team and enhance them according to the specific needs of each one.

This tool is easy to customize, and the graphics and categories below are just an example. This way you can visualize how it is done and apply it to your own teams, adjusting it to your needs.

In fact, there are several formulas, such as David Travis’ based on 8 competencies or the Nielsen Norman Group’s one, which considers 6 and is the one we will be using for this article.

What competencies to consider and how to assess them

In this case, we score from 0 to 5 each of the most important skills, 0 being that the skill does not exist and 5 to consider that person as an expert. The best way to put this tool into practice is to use a series of skills related to the project. For this exercise we use the following:

  • User research
  • Information architecture
  • Content strategy
  • Prototyping
  • Interaction design
  • Visual design

They can be added or removed depending on the requirements of each team, the project or even the type of the analysis to conduct.

Example of UX Skills Map used in this article

Each UX team member will assess their own competencies on the graph. However, beware of the results, because it is possible that less-experienced members of the team may overestimate their own skills, while experts may underestimate themselves. This cognitive bias is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

In order for UX teams to be more effective in their work, there should be diversity in competencies, so that they can be applied to each area of work. Below we will present three examples of possible profiles that can be found in a UX team with different specialisations.

Profiling using UX Skills Map

A UX Researcher should specialise in user needs research and usability evaluations. They must be able to define users and understand them perfectly, conduct interviews or contextual research and analyse the results of the research.

This is what the skills map of a UX Researcher would look like

A Product Designer must be highly skilled in visual design and interactive design, as well as being able to create prototypes to develop the design work. They will be responsible for designing the product for the user, as well as understanding and analysing how the user can interact with the product.

Product Designer Skills Map

A UX Writer must be a specialist in technical writing and information architecture. These profiles are responsible for analysing and developing how to communicate with the user. In addition, they develop content and facilitate navigation for users.

UX Skills Map of a UX Writer

Bringing UX team members together

Using this star chart technique is very interesting to measure the skills of all members of a UX team, and to identify if there are any areas in need of support. In addition, by overlaying the individual charts of each team member, we can visualise in which areas there is likely to be a lack of expertise and which areas are perfectly covered.

UX Skills Map integrating the graphs of the three previous profiles

If the analysis shows that there are areas that are not sufficiently covered by team members, consideration should be given to expanding the team in order to be able to deal with the project in the best possible way. This analysis also identifies areas in which to invest in training, so that the team can acquire all the necessary skills.

In the example, the content strategy and interaction design parts are covered by only one person, so the workload may be excessive and may require additional support.

Using this skills map we can understand perfectly what are the characteristics of our UX team and know if it is necessary to expand it with new members to cover the missing areas or improve them. In addition, it can also be used to measure the evolution of all members and find out how professional skills are progressing over time.

We use this tool to distribute project workloads as efficiently as possible and we adapt them according to each moment. This way we know if any stage of the project or any team member needs more support to complete a task.

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