Creating a Career Path for the User Experience Designer: A Competency Model

Session Title

Creating a Career Path for the User Experience Designer: A Competency Model


Ann Supawanich, Schematic

Session Type: Presentation

User Experience Design is emerging as the key discipline that separates successful companies from also-ran organizations. With globalization well on its way, there are more players in all markets willing to compete on price alone. If companies can’t or don’t want to participate in this race to the bottom, they must differentiate themselves and their products based upon the quality of the user experience that they deliver. Technology is an integral part in this differentiation, with the newfound realization that interface is everywhere, from digital picture frames to car dashboards to washer/dryers.

In this brave new world, User Experience Designers are challenged to continuously build their skills to stay ahead of the ever-changing business landscape, to be the critical point of integration between business strategy and technical implementation, between visual design and user-accessible production.

At Schematic, we take User Experience Design seriously; our team of UX Designers is one of our key competitive advantages. We have taken the time to understand what makes a successful UX Designer and to manage the growth of our UX Designers in their career path. In fact, we have identified 6 core competencies to hire, to grade, and to grow our talent.


Ann Supawanich is Vice President of User Experience Design at Schematic, where she manages a motley crew of twenty multi-platform UX designers. Schematic UX designers develop cutting-edge interfaces for clients such as Sony, Comcast, Time Warner, Samsung, Nokia, and Qualcomm, on platforms ranging from internet screens to portable applications to interactive environments.

She focuses on introducing User Experience Design principles into the boardroom, weaving a user-centered perspective into clients’ business strategy. Ann is passionate about evangelizing user centered thinking in all walks of life, hopefully making for a more human-scale world.

Ann also teaches User Experience Design at UCLA Extension. She is a graduate from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Too general (UX). Not interaction design focused enough.