Interview tips for UI Prototypers

Recently we’ve been interviewing for some UI Prototyper openings on the Citrix Product Design team (please ping me if truly interested :-). This has brought to everyone’s minds certain things that enable a successful interview and portfolio review…

** First and foremost, show up genuinely interested, passionate, curious about the opportunity. Also, please do some homework about the company’s products and latest news. Just 30 minutes on Google and social news sites is all we ask – it’s not that hard. Arrive prepared to ask and learn more. That stuff really does matter, even for a UI Prototyper. We want interested teammates!

** Prototypers should be prepared to show & describe their process clearly, show any experiments that failed, and articulate lessons learned. The best prototypers draw and mock up stuff too. Or “sketch with code”. Show us! (within the limits of NDAs of course)

** As a bonus, show us relevant stuff done on your own time, as personal projects or hobbies. We love to get a full balance of pertinent skills and projects that get you excited, so we can better assess the role fit.

** Tell us the story about your prototypes, don’t just click through and say “And then we shipped it”. More useful for us: Tell us your main roles, the choices made, key issues surfaced, how your prototypes addressed them (or didn’t), the impact on overall project and user studies, and timeframe too! Was it a one week throwaway to convince a VP, or a full-blown 3 month effort to define the final spec?

** This goes for anyone interviewing, but don’t assume anything. Be explicit about the problem attempted to solve, the context, goals, constraints, etc. Even if it’s for a super well-known brand like Yahoo or YouTube, framing the problem is always a good thing for your interviewers.

** Explain technical methods used and also WHY: performance boosts (any stats? comparisons?), ease of refactoring, modularity of code, etc. What are the pros/cons, risks, issues, etc. Please don’t just say, “And here I used CSS3 selector blah blah”. Why? What benefits achieved?

** Describe approaches to triangulating amongst Design, Dev, and Research all together… prototyping for tests vs quick explorations, vs handing code to Dev.  What challenges were faced and how were they handled?

** Perhaps the most critical keys to success for a UI Prototyper are communication and chemistry with the team. What do you do to enable that, and how do you respond when things break down a bit?


There’s many more, but these are the major points that should lead to a successful portfolio review and interview round for UI Prototypers. Good luck!


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