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UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level

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UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden
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Are you looking for a way to evaluate the skills of a UX/UI designer? Cieden's competency matrix is here to help!

As a digital product design agency, Cieden faces the fact that many companies struggle with evaluating and organizing their teams effectively. That's why I am excited to share our internal competency matrix with you. The story is the same as with the guide on how to hire a UX/UI designer in 2024 — we created something so valuable that we must share it with the world. Our design team has spent over a year iteratively refining and perfecting this tool, which can be used to form winning teams, assign roles, and identify strengths and areas for professional improvement. 

Scroll down to access the template and discover how the design matrix can help streamline your workflow and achieve better results, whether you're a designer, manager, or team lead. Let's get started!

A quick onboarding: what is a UX/UI competency matrix?

UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden

The competency matrix for a UX/UI designer typically consists of a table that lists the various detailed competencies required for a job role and the level of proficiency expected for each competency. This tool allows design directors and team leads to evaluate their teammates' skills and knowledge, identify gaps, and develop training plans to bridge them.

The competency matrix also helps the designers themselves, enabling them to get a fair 360 degrees view of their strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, they can get a plan with specific action items towards improving lacking skills and knowledge to grow professionally and become more effective in their current roles. 

UI/UX skills matrix structure

UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden

The UX/UI competency matrix isn't your standard checklist. Instead, it's a multi-layered tool with different blocks and internal rules that help assess designers, increase the team's potential, or hire new talent. Let’s take a closer look at every part of the matrix.

Get a copy of our UX/UI skills matrix  template
We've spent over a year refining and perfecting the competency matrix, which can help you form winning teams, assign roles, and identify areas for professional improvement.


Many available matrices fall short, expecting one person to test all competencies in just two hours. Cieden's matrix suggests each skill is assigned to someone who knows it best and has enough experience to assess it. Plus, the reviewer updates the corresponding block with requirements, conditions, and practical tasks for designers.

Cieden's matrix breaks down the design tasks into digestible blocks, each evaluated by a specialist. For instance, I am a pro at design systems and multi-device design. So I am on the front lines of these topics, evaluating the skills of others. 

Our UX evaluation process at Cieden takes approximately 17 hours to assess all the blocks together from start to end. It may take longer than a "standard" review, but the result is worth it.  I had a goal to make it user-friendly and considerate of our designers' needs. We spread the process over a month, so designers don't feel overwhelmed with a non-stop sprint to "defend" their acquired skills for eight hours straight.

A feedback about competency matrix from Cieden's designer Max
Our approach fosters a natural progression of skill development with small meetings that designers can get used to and see as logical stages in their professional growth. That is way better than your average review process.


An exceptional specialist and a gifted designer might seem like they have it all, but if they're constantly late for meetings, can't communicate with colleagues, lack English proficiency, or can't talk to clients, all their potential goes to waste. At Cieden, we understand that designers need to excel in more than just design skills to achieve success. That's why the design matrix encompasses three groups of skills:

Interface Design Skills. This group covers all aspects of mobile and web app design, including visual design, prototyping, and other essential elements of the tech stack.

Block with interface design skills.

Research Skills. This set includes a database of competencies in competitor and user research, UX audit, and workshop facilitation. User experience evaluation is an essential aspect of UX design, as it allows designers to gather feedback and data from users to improve the overall user experience.

Block with research and audit skills.

Soft Skills. This is where "human meets designer." Soft skills can make or break a designer's career. They're the secret ingredient that can turn a good design into a great one or a bad design into a disaster. Sure, hard skills are essential, but soft skills — like communication, collaboration, and empathy — really set designers apart. They enable designers to sell their solutions, maintain strong customer relationships, and thrive in their careers.

Block with soft skills for designers.

Additionally, the UX skills matrix includes specialities, such as motion design, photo retouching, no-code or low-code platforms, 3D modeling, and rendering. So whether you're looking for a designer who can create a 3D model or someone with solid motion design skills, the matrix can help you prioritize the right skills.

All blocks and sets have the same structure. For instance, in web design, there is a list of requirements and practical tasks that a designer must accomplish at each level. Then, blocks cover all possible practical issues, recommended sources, and tips from the evaluator of the skill set.

Block with requirements for juniors, middles, and seniors.

Designer levels

Climbing the UX/UI competence ladder is no easy feat. As designers undergo the matrix assessment, their knowledge and skills determine their level, ranging from junior to junior strong, middle, middle strong, and senior.

Achieving the level of junior strong or middle strong is only granted at the reviewers' discretion, and it's usually given when a designer exhibits exceptional qualities, even though they may not entirely meet the higher level's requirements.


Imagine a budding designer aspiring to reach the level of a middle designer. While it would be ideal for them to know all the skills mentioned in the middle level, some of these skills carry more weight than others and thus require different levels of expertise.

We have categorized all the skills in the matrix based on their level of importance, which can help designers prioritize their learning efforts.

For instance, creating great UX texts is undoubtedly an asset, but it may not be necessary for someone aiming to become a Middle-level designer. Even if they only possess junior-level knowledge of UX copywriting, it wouldn't hinder their progress in reaching the next level.

The matrix does not expect designers to have perfect knowledge of every skill listed, especially for juniors, where certain skills may not be considered at all. An example of such prioritization may look like this:

Prioritization of skills for different levels.

The UX prioritization matrix helps designers make informed decisions by balancing the business goals with the user needs. Moreover, we can always tailor the matrix to specific requirements. For instance, if the project requirements are focused on creating a brand-new design according to the latest trends, I can highlight which skills are critical, essential, and desirable for this exact role.


Experience beats memorization any day. That's why this UX/UI skill matrix focuses on the practical application of knowledge. We evaluate designers based on the tasks they've tackled, the challenges they've overcome, and their accomplishments. With our matrix, you can build a team of skilled designers who are more than just a theory.

UX/UI competency matrix doesn't rely on lengthy prep or stuffy exams. That's why our matrix doesn't require lengthy preparation, and there are no tickets like in an exam, where you must convince the lecturer in 3 minutes that you know the topic.

Block with practical questions and requirements for juniors, middles, and seniors.

Practice uncovers hidden pitfalls that theory alone cannot reveal, and the practical application of knowledge truly sets the masters apart. Only hands-on experience counts when a designer wants to prove their level — reading or watching a video is not enough to make someone a senior specialist.

UI/UX designer skill set

Our UX/UI designer matrix is like a chameleon, changing to fit your company's specific needs. While it covers essential skills, it can be tailored to fit any situation or position. Let’s take a detailed look at the skills we assess.

UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden

Hard skills

  • Web & Mobile app design: Creating a solution based on developed user experience to solve user problems and needs. Designing visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces for web and mobile-based applications that meet the needs of modern consumers.
  • Visual design: The ability to work on brand aesthetics, usability, and recognition through colors, typography, and layout. Creation of high-quality interfaces that solve problems and leave a lasting impression.
  • Design systems: A design system is a set of standardized components and guidelines that allow teams to build multiple, consistent interfaces.
  • Prototyping: Creating a scaled-down product version to quickly validate ideas, features, and flows in the product design stage without involving development and massive expenses.
  • Design tools & File management: Efficiently using design software tools such as Figma, Figjam, Miro, Protopie, and Principle is essential to speed up the design process and adhere to quality standards and design organization.
  • Handoff & Design documentation: Creating and sharing design assets and specifications with developers or other stakeholders to ensure the project has everything necessary for a successful design implementation.
  • Designing for multiple devices: Capability to create interfaces that cover all use cases under different circumstances, from the web to mobile.
  • Data visualization: Skill to visualize any data to help businesses efficiently communicate complex information.
  • Estimation & WBS: The ability to estimate the amount of time and effort required for a particular project and create and manage a work breakdown structure (WBS) to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • UX writing: Creating clear, concise, and compelling text for interfaces that enhance the user experience.

Research skills

  • Competitor research:  This skill involves researching key competitors' products and their strengths and weaknesses to make quality product design decisions. Analyzing and comparing UX patterns and components competitors use is crucial for identifying best practices and staying ahead of the competition.
  • UX audit & Report: User experience skills, including the ability to review a product or service to analyze its usability, accessibility, and overall user satisfaction and enhance the overall product or service quality.
  • User research: The ability to identify user needs, behaviors, and pain points and use this data to increase the product's usability.
  • Workshop facilitation: The ability to organize and facilitate brainstorming sessions to generate innovative ideas and foster collaboration within a team.

Soft skills

Generally, it is a bit harder to evaluate software skills because they are primarily based on feedback about people. Evaluating a designer's soft skills in isolation is not enough. It's equally important to assess how they respond to criticism and answer client questions, as well as their ability to explain new features. This comprehensive approach provides a more accurate picture of their overall software skills.

Evaluating a designer's soft skills is just as important as assessing their technical abilities. If you don't have a direct supervisor to provide feedback, there are alternative methods, such as interviewing colleagues or recording calls with clients.

The UX design matrix assesses various soft skills:

  • English: A proper language test should be done by a teacher who understands design fundamentals and the terminology needed for effective communication.
  • Competency scope: a good designer needs to be an effective problem-solver and critical thinker to understand and address various challenges during the design process.
  • Self-management/responsibility: A designer should be able to perform tasks without supervision, timely report problems, and solve them.
  • Presentation: The ability to present design to clients, explain and justify the choice of a particular solution to a problem, and "defend” design.
  • Mentoring: The ability to explain, share, and transfer experience with teammates, not just doing it for them but teaching them to understand how and why it works that way.

Steps of passing UX/UI design matrix

How to improve design skills using the matrix? Here are three steps to working with the design matrix.

Step 1. Self-assessment of knowledge

Assess your skills for each requirement in the matrix and fill in your personal profile.

Step 2. Assessment of skills with reviewers

Select skills and meet with the reviewer to showcase your relevant work and demonstrate your theoretical and practical knowledge.

  • Designers should prepare relevant examples of their work according to the requirements.
  • During the meeting, the reviewer checks the designer's theoretical knowledge from the requirements section and their practical application.

Contact reviewers to arrange meetings for assessing each skill.

Step 3. The results

After assessing all skills, a designer should have a final meeting, get general feedback recommendations for the PDP, and discuss the achieved level.

To become a better designer, you need to keep learning and growing. Seek feedback from peers and pros, attend workshops and conferences, and stay up-to-date with the latest design trends and tech. With a little effort and determination, you can elevate your skills to the next level and stand out in your field.

UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden

Typical uses of UX/UI design matrix

UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden

The UX/UI skill matrix has many uses, including assessing employee performance, managing talent, recruiting, team development, project planning, and more. This section will explore some common uses of the UX/UI skill matrix and how it can benefit different areas of a company's operations.

Talent management

The competency matrix helps keep track of a designers’ progress and identify what skills they need to improve. It outlines the critical competencies required for each level of professional growth, providing a clear understanding of what is expected at each stage. It's like a roadmap for growth and success that allows us to create customized training plans and clear guidance for improvement.


Instead of scouring the internet for a "list of questions for a mid-level designer interview," recruiters can use the matrix to define the skills and abilities needed for the job. Moreover, if the company needs a specific design skill set, it can prioritize relevant parts of the matrix to assess the candidate. And in terms of length, this will be just like a regular interview.

Team development and Project planning

For agencies and IT service providers with many designers, the matrix is a great way to shape the perfect team for a project. Managers can choose designers with the needed skills, ensuring the project goes well. Plus, the matrix helps managers see where their team might need more training or even new members.

Overall, the UI/UX matrix can provide clear guidance and direction whether you're composing a team, developing your skills, or hiring new talent.

What does this matrix give Cieden as an agency?

UI/UX skills matrix template to evaluate designers level Cieden

We have found that using a matrix is an effective way to evaluate people objectively. It structures the recruiting process and ensures consistency across all interviews. With the matrix, we can identify the best candidates and hire top talent that matches our needs and expectations. As a result, we can keep a close watch on the quality of the solutions we offer our clients.

Furthermore, the matrix is also helpful because we can assess candidates in a structured and complete way. It helps us determine their strengths and areas for improvement. This is helpful for our agency and the candidates as they receive constructive feedback and see the next steps for development.

Overall, the matrix is used everywhere — from finding a new designer for Cieden and creating a team for a client to the personal development of every team member. When the company has no clearly defined requirements and competencies, all these processes look more like a round of Sea battles.


What are the benefits of using a competency matrix for UX/UI designers?

A competency matrix for UX/UI designers can bring numerous benefits to an organization, including:

  • enabling an objective evaluation of designers' competencies for better team building that caters to specific projects.
  • helping project managers build an optimal team composition for a particular project.
  • assisting designers in setting their professional growth and development goals and providing insights on the skills to focus on and the direction to follow.
  • offering a prioritized list of skills required for a specific role or project.
  • Assessing designers' skills and knowledge based on both theoretical and practical experience.
  • Categorizing skills into critical, important, and normal levels to highlight essential skills for a specific role or project.

What key skills and competencies are included in a UX/UI designer competency matrix?

The skills in a UX/UI designer competency matrix can vary based on the organization and its specific needs. Still, some common competencies include user research, information architecture, interaction design, visual design, prototyping, usability testing, collaborative skills, communication skills, industry knowledge, etc.

Does a competency matrix for a UX/UI designer provide precise results and accurately measure the designer's level of competency?

The accuracy depends on the expertise of the evaluator. The evaluator must thoroughly understand the topic being assessed to give an accurate result and meaningful feedback about a designer's skills.

While the competency matrix covers all the critical skills, the actual evaluation of a designer's ability comes down to their experience and the number of projects they have completed. Only a designer who truly understands the subject matter can conduct an adequate evaluation, confidently determining the designer's level of competency and areas for improvement.

Who can use a UX designer skills matrix?

The matrix is designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of designers, allowing teams to be composed based on their skill sets.

By running designers through the matrix, a company can better understand each designer's abilities and where they need to improve. This allows teams to be composed in a way that leverages the strengths of each designer and addresses any gaps in skill or knowledge.

The UX/UI matrix can also serve as a knowledge base for designers of all levels and specialties. It collects the main checkpoints for any level of designer, including those who are just starting out and those who are more experienced.

How is a UX competency matrix different from a job description or performance evaluation?

A job description outlines the duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required for a specific job. It provides a general overview of the job and the expectations for the position but does not necessarily identify particular competencies or skills required.

A performance evaluation is a review of how well an employee has done their job over a certain period. It is usually done by a supervisor or manager and looks at how well the employee has met their job requirements.

The UX UI designer level matrix is a tool that can be used to evaluate the skills, competencies, and experience of UX/UI designers at different levels within an organization. It identifies the specific areas of expertise necessary for success in the role and provides a framework for assessing and developing those skills.


Want to build a design dream team that can easily tackle any project? Look no further than the UX/UI skill matrix! The UX/UI competency matrix covers hard, research, and soft skills and can be tailored to fit specific company requirements. It can be used for assessing employee performance, managing talent, recruiting, team development, project planning, and more.

And the best part? You can get a free copy of Cieden's ready-made matrix by leaving your email. Don't miss out on this game-changing tool for building design teams!

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