When applying for a creative job, it calls for either a demo task or a take-home-assignment same in UX. You’ve made a great first impression! Now it’s time to make it last.
When applying for a creative job, it calls for either a demo task or a take-home-assignment.
And a UX interview works no differently.
We know how dreadful it sounds to read the line- “as next steps, we’d request you to please complete a brief assignment.”
Well, first things first. Kudos to you for making it through your screening and telephonic rounds.
You’ve made a great first impression!
But now it’s time to make it last…
This test is conducted to reflect heavily on your UX research process and visual design skills.
Attempting a design assignment does not need to be hard work, but smart work.
We’ll show you how.
In today's blog, we are going to discuss 3 things that will help you scratch the surface and start on the right foot:-
1. What is a take-home design assignment?
2. What is its purpose?
3. How to go about attempting the assignment?
Let’s dive right in!
It's a design challenge that your recruiter shares with you after you move past the phone screening round. The design prompt or design challenge is usually a hypothetical scenario given to you by the interviewer.
You can be asked to provide a set of viable solutions to any specific problem statement that may be common to their in-house product or a product already in use.
This is to dig deeper into your problem spotting, problem-solving, and visual design skills.
And as the name suggests, you get the liberty to complete the assignment at your own place and time without feeling the pressure to perform in front of a jury.
Yes, you do need to adhere to a deadline.
But the good thing is, that you can be as flexible as you want in thinking through the process while working out the problem.
This is the opposite of what you can expect in a whiteboard challenge though, where an hourglass runs on top of your head, real-time!
In the end, you come prepared to present your solutions on the design prompt shared by the recruiter in front of the hiring team. This can include the recruiter itself, product managers, or design leads.
Here you get to walk them through your workflow, decode your thought process and break them into chunks for summarizing the entire task.
Consider yourself explaining the entire design thinking process from the top, introducing them to your problem statement, explaining to them the steps you took to come to a conclusion, and finally conclude the presentation.
Here’s where you need to own the stage and nail your take-home assignment.
Step-1: Thinking Out Loud and Create an Outline
Unlike in a whiteboard challenge, a take-home assignment does not put you in a spot and under a time crunch.
Utilize this to your advantage and take good time in understanding the design prompt thoroughly.
However, the downside of having a lot of time is that you need to document (basically write down) the exact process and present it either as a PPT, Medium blog, Behance link, or through your website.
But in any which ways, there are bits and pieces of content work involved in your writing.
Therefore, you need an outline beforehand to determine what section goes at the top and makes it to the last.
I know we designers love jumping on to solutions. But that’s where we need to hit breaks and think in a different direction!
Don’t just skim through the design prompt and directly jump to the solutions. Instead, gather your thoughts, understand the problem to its core, chalk out possible solutions on pen and paper and think it through. Become a problem spotter first! Spot as many problems as you can find with the challenge!
Once you determine how you want your assignment to flow, only then proceed to the next step. Narrowing down your list of problems.
Step-2: Kickstart UX Research & Create a Persona
Keep it as simple as you can.
Dig for information online and read through the forums, and blogs, watch videos and listen to podcasts. Once you have enough data from your secondary sources, spend 10-15 minutes (no more) interviewing either your friends or somebody from the family.
You can also go the extra mile and create a short survey on google form to share among your acquaintances. This is to get more accurate insights and a bigger volume of information to work with.
However, keep this step optional. It’s not worth spending all day designing a survey that fails to fetch any concrete results.
The catch here isn’t to imply all the research methods. The point is to apply the method which will fetch you the best results. Something that can be quantifiable or worthy of mentioning as an important qualitative aspect.
For instance, a solid list of users' pain points, frustrations, and happy moments is worth capturing through the research methods you go with.
This will help you produce your ideal user persona.
Stick to creating only 2 personas for a design assignment.
Step-3: Finally, Craft a Problem Statement & Begin Designing!
Now that you have a clear understanding of how to proceed with the design prompt, it’s time to come up with a more targeted problem statement and speed up the process by working on your favourite design tools like Figma or AdobeXD.
Try creating mid-fidelity wireframes and gradually move to more polished versions of the wireframes, i.e- high-fidelity wireframes.
Once you have pieces to all the puzzles, all you have got to do is to arrange them chronologically to make it an easy skim for the recruiters.
Once you are set on a problem statement, your design prompt expects you to address, shift gears and dive all in making your screens pop!
So there you go with how you can set the foundations strong to approach your take-home assignment challenge.
Up next, we have a blog lined up for you where we share tips and tricks up your sleeves to finish your take-home design challenge under a time crunch!
It won't do you good if the presentation you worked hard on for so long fails to make it to the recruiter's inbox on time!
If you have any challenges we missed discussion in this blog post but you would want us to take up next, do let us know in the comments below.
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Till then, Happy Designing!