Fireside Chat Recap: From Tester to UX Designer, insights and learnings along the way

On Thursday, July 24th, UXTesting Inc. organized a virtual fireside chat about “From Tester to UX Designer, insights and learnings along the way”.  The session was joined by Kimberly Snoyl, User Experience Specialist at Politie Nederland and Aldrich Huang, CEO and Co-founder of

Virtual group picture

The fireside chat created an interactive way for members of the public to interact with the speakers and learn more about Kimberly’s transition from being a user experience tester to being a user experience specialist.

From Tester to UX Practitioner

In the first part of the fireside chat, Kimberly shared how her 6 years of experience as a tester helped pave the way for her career as a UX practitioner. Her prior experience allowed her to better empathize with the users of a product, making her a suitable member to bridge the gap between users and the business. She was able to better communicate with testers and businesses, asking the right questions to uncover the needs of both parties.

Applying for a UX Position Without Prior Experience

Having a UX portfolio is considered essential when applying for a position as a UX Practitioner. Aldrich stressed the importance of having an informative portfolio that showcases one’s best work. Each project needs to have its business goals clearly stated, reasons for running the tests and reasons for setting up specific tasks.

However, for someone looking for a career switch, may not be an option. Aldrich and Kimberly shared some practical tips to navigate this:

  1. Contact a non-profit organization to redesign their website/ product and include it in your portfolio
  2. Redesign a website/ product of an existing company and explain clearly in your portfolio why you choose to make certain changes

Both speakers highlighted that the most important thing about building a UX portfolio is to position one as a problem solver. Kimberly also encouraged interested attendees to make use of online resources or take a UX certification course to educate themselves on the important UX concepts and frameworks. Kimberly herself followed a UX course at the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), however there are many other options available such as UX academy, NN group and HFI.

Essential Skills UX Practitioners Should Possess

Aside from communication skills, another skill Kimberly considers essential for UX Practitioners is visualizing. She encouraged the attendees to be familiar with at least one or two prototyping software such as Sketch and InVision to help others visualize their thought process. Aldrich added that the focus should be placed on leveraging visualization tools to convey their message properly instead of mastering a specific tool.

He also believes that the most important skills all UX practitioners should possess is observation and empathy. He encouraged the attendees to hone this skill by going to public areas to observe people and create narratives based on their facial expressions and body language.

This article provided useful and practical tips that were discussed during UXTesting's fireside chat on “From Tester to UX Designer, insights and learnings along the way”. At UXTesting, we provide remote user insight solutions to enterprises that can help further your UX research. For questions or more information about how UXTesting can help your company, please contact us on


Shi Ning Peh
Marketing at UXTesting