What is a UX whiteboard challenge (and how can you ace it)?
If you’re interested or involved in the world of UX, you’ll have heard of the whiteboard challenge. Whiteboard challenges are often part of the interview process for UX design roles, allowing hiring managers to gain first-hand insight into how candidates approach and solve design problems. So, if you’re ever applying for UX jobs, it’s important that you know exactly what a whiteboard challenge is—and what it takes to successfully complete one!
What is a UX whiteboard challenge?
A whiteboard challenge is essentially a hands-on design task that you complete, on a whiteboard, in front of an interview panel or hiring manager. That’s right—whiteboard challenges are usually live! This might sound scary, but don’t worry. Knowing what to expect is half the battle. So…what can you expect?
The hiring manager (or person interviewing you) will give you some kind of prompt, ultimately setting out the design challenge you need to solve. You’ll then get to work solving it, working through your process verbally out loud and sketching your thoughts and ideas on a whiteboard as you go along. At the end (or perhaps even along the way) the panel may ask you questions about your process and why you did certain things. Anything to better understand how you work as a designer!
In a remote setting, the UX whiteboard challenge may take on a slightly different format, but the underlying concept is the same. If you’re not with the interview panel in person, they might ask you to complete the process on a digital whiteboard via a video call.
How to ace a UX whiteboard challenge
The best way to set yourself up for success is to practice! Start by developing a set framework; a process you know by heart and can refer to as soon as your whiteboard challenge starts. Practice running through this framework with different design challenges in mind—you might want to come up with a bunch of different challenges (or ask your friends for ideas), put them all in a hat, and pull out a new one each time. This will help you get used to the element of surprise! Practice completing a whiteboard challenge in front of a friend or colleague, asking them to give you feedback. This might feel awkward at first, but it’s a proven way to build your confidence—and, when it comes to the real thing, you’ll be glad you did it!
For a more extensive look at the UX whiteboard challenge, check out this guide—complete with tips, resources, and common whiteboarding mistakes (and ways to avoid them).
Elizé is a User Experience Designer, Educator and Content Creator. She spent the past five years leading UX teams at agencies before moving towards an education-focused path. She is an enterprise instructor for Adobe XD, teaches UX design on various platforms, as well as runs her own consultancy. She has a passion for motivating and empowering designers through her speaking engagements and content on Youtube and Instagram. She’s designed winning UX strategies for clients such as Papyrus, Keller Williams, and USA Today Network.