No matter how confident you are, interviews can be a nerve wracking ordeal—especially when you’re interviewing for your first job as a UI designer. With the interview standing between you and your dream job as a UI designer, and maybe even impostor syndrome weighing you down, how will you prove to your future employers that you really know your stuff?
To make sure you’re fully prepared for your next UI design interview, we’ve collated the top UI interview questions you should be ready to answer—and how to answer them. We’ll divide the blog post into two sections depending on whether you’re applying for a junior or a senior UI design position. We’ve also included some questions you should ask your interviewers to gain a deeper understanding of the role you’re applying for.
For a sneak peek at what it’s like to take part in a UI design interview, check out this event recording—career specialist Alessandro Di Dedda shares expert advice on how to prepare for UI interviews. We can also recommend checking out this video on how to improve your UI design skills—excellent prep if you’re gearing up to look for a job!
Now, are you ready for those interview questions? Let’s get to it!
Junior UI design interview questions
1. Why did you decide to become a UI designer?
This will likely be one of the first questions you get asked in your interview, and it’s a chance for your passion for UI design to shine through. What was your background previous to discovering UI design? What drew you to UI design in the first place? What steps have you taken to truly immerse yourself in this new field?
Remember: talk about your “UI story,” not your life story! Try to keep your answer relevant to the question, and link back to the role you’re applying for whenever you can.
2. Tell me about a recent UI project that you worked on
Talking confidently about your portfolio is a vital skill that every UI designer should have. Prior to the interview, you should’ve picked out a specific portfolio project to present to your interviewers—ideally, one that’s relevant to the company or role you’re applying for. Explain your ideation process, and—most crucially—what you learned throughout the project. It’s also an excellent opportunity to highlight your strengths, and how you drew upon them to make the project a success. If you freeze up, just remember the five “W” words: who, what, where, when, and how.
3. What was your design process, and how did you validate your decisions?
In answer to the last question, you most likely gave an overview of the project. This time, go into detail about your reasons behind every design decision. Walk your interviewer through your entire decision-making process. Why did you decide to give buttons a certain size, shape, color, placement, and alignment? Nothing should be random or accidental—every design decision should be intentional and based on user testing or research.
4. Can you describe an app that meets your ideal UI design, and why?
Here’s where you demonstrate your own design values; and your commitment to usability. When describing the features of your ideal UI design, be sure to continually link back to the user. When talking about colors, sizes, and buttons, showing your future employers that you’re constantly thinking about accessibility and inclusiveness in design will be a huge plus.
5. How do you keep up with design trends?
This question might seem more “fun” and lighthearted than the others, but your interviewers really want to see your commitment to making the industry better. Start by taking them through your go-to UI design inspiration websites, such as Dribbble, Behance, or Site Inspire. Talk about some of your favorite UI design Instagram accounts, and name-drop UI designers who you feel are shaping the industry. What UI design blogs do you read to keep your fingers on the pulse? Talking about an interesting design trends article that you read recently will show your future employers that you enjoy learning about your craft both inside and outside of the office.
Three questions you should ask the company
- What’s the organizational structure of the department?
- What’s the design process within the organization?
- How will I be evaluated, and how will feedback be given?
Senior UI design interview questions
1. What would you consider a UI design failure on a newly launched product?
From prioritizing aesthetics over usability, to overlooking accessibility, there are plenty of examples of bad UI design. Think about an app or web page you recently used that made you think, “I would’ve done this differently.” This question is all about attention to detail; the less obvious the example, the more you’ll demonstrate your ability to spot things that other people might miss.
2. Tell me about a time when there was a failure in the handoff between design and development, and how would you do it differently?
Design handoffs are a controversial topic. From afar, they can seem like minefields involving multiple layers and complications, with the added pressure of numerous stakeholders and deadlines thrown into the mix. This question is ultimately showing your interviewees to gauge how you collaborate across teams, and, if it comes to it, how you deal with conflict or tension when working against deadlines. For this question, reflect on how you maintain constant communication with the developers. How do you build empathy between the teams? How do you foster a mutual understanding of the product?
3. How do you advocate for usability in your organization?
Usability is generally something that people associate with UX design more than UI design, but UI designers should have just as much commitment to usability as UX designers. Talk about how you advocate for the user in your current role. Do you hold user testing sessions? Have you created user personas? How have you encouraged your company or organization to connect and empathize with the users?
4. How would you approach redesigning our current app or website?
While this can be quite an intimidating question, it’s an excellent opportunity to show that you’ve researched the company—and reflected on how you can best add value. In the run-up to your interview, spend some time navigating their website and mobile app (if they have one). Pick out a few areas of improvement, and lay out a plan of how you would go about making the changes. Remember to rationalize every decision, and talk about the company’s audience to show them that you’re really done your homework.
5. What design trend can you not stand and why?
It’s important for your future employers to know that you’re able to apply logic to your design practices; rather than chasing any trend that challenges conventions. When talking about why you don’t like your chosen design trend, be sure to illustrate your own design values—referencing accessibility and inclusivity where relevant. As a senior UI designer, be sure to go into detail as to why a specific trend has no chance of pleasing the end-user.
Three questions you should ask the company
- Is this a new role or a replacement position?
- Is this a user-centered organization, or is there still a need to justify usability?
- Am I going to be a solo designer, or will I be supported by a team?
6. Final thoughts
No matter whether you’re applying for a junior or a senior UI design position, researching the company is the key to success. As long as you’re able to talk about your portfolio with confidence, and you’ve demonstrated a commitment to your craft, there’s no reason why you won’t ace it!
To find out more about becoming a UI designer, check out these articles over on the blog: