UX Master Certified by Baymard – Interview with Sławomir Majchrzycki

Julia Łączyńska

aymard Institute is the most important institution that studies user experience in the e-commerce sector, so we are proud to announce that our Product Designer Sławomir Majchrzycki is one of 3 professionals in the world to have earned the highest certification "UX Master Certified by Baymard"!

The life and work of a UX Product Designer

Sławomir Majchrzycki has been involved with the UX industry for more than 10 years. Since 2020, as a Product Designer at Strix, he has been responsible for designing, auditing, and optimising e-commerce websites. His work serves to increase conversions and the value of the shopping process for the customer and improve the end-user experience. Over the course of his career, Slawek has designed e-commerce sites for Polish and foreign brands, focusing on pharma and lifestyle industries.

In August 2023, Sławek received the highest certification of UX Master by Baymard Institute. Such a distinction was the perfect opportunity for us to ask him about the certification process, the behind-the-scenes work of a Product Designer, and professional inspirations.

Interview with Slawomir Majchrzycki

You’ve recently received the title of "UX Master Certified by Baymard". What does this certification mean? What skills does it validate?

"UX Master Certified by Baymard" is the highest level of certification awarded by the Baymard Institute, an independent agency that studies user experience in e-commerce. According to Baymard, this certification confirms being among the top 5% of e-commerce UX designers in the world. Apart from the whole marketing aspect, including the status of the institute itself and how difficult it is to earn such a title, the certificate is simply a confirmation that I know how to design e-commerce sites that are accessible to the end user.

What was the preparation and exam process like? How many people can boast a similar title?

To receive Baymard's highest certification, you have to pass 6 exams on specific areas of e-commerce sites, namely: the home page and navigation, category list, search engine, product card, shopping cart and checkout, and user account. After passing these, you can take the final exam, which is an audit of an online store and a presentation about it. In my case, it was revolve.com – a premium fashion retailer focused on the millennial and Gen Z demographics that offers more than 49,000 products to its customers.

Until now, Baymard has only provided one level of certification – Professional. This year, they introduced two more (the lower level is Practitioner and the higher level is Master). I passed the Professional exam a year ago and thought I was done, but when the higher level – Master – appeared, I said to myself that I try to get it. Passing the exams required about 2 months of reading the Institute's articles in every spare moment. 

The final "Master" exam, which includes a store audit, can be taken every 4 months so I had to hurry. So far, only one such exam has been held, and as a result, I am one of the first 3 people in the world to hold this title. The next opportunity to approach this certification is in October, so the Master group will probably expand in November.

What does the Baymard Institute mean for e-commerce UX designers? 

The Baymard Institute is an independent organization that studies the usability of e-commerce platforms, although they are now expanding their research to include booking and subscription services. Baymard has a database of more than 650 articles that cover in great detail most of the issues related to optimizing the experience on an online store site. For example, for a detail such as an image gallery on a product card, there are as many as 12 articles in Baymard's library describing possible problems and their solutions.

Baymard's recommendations are backed by numerous studies and research. For e-commerce UX experts, the organization is the authority on how to design the various elements of the site in the best possible way. Whenever we have doubts about a project or need to verify a client's ideas, Baymard's recommendations are our starting point when looking for the best solutions. Surely, every idea needs to be tested further and context needs to be taken into account, such as standards in a particular country or the needs of a specific target group. However, Baymard provides a base of good practice that all e-commerce UX designers can refer to when needed.

Why is e-commerce UX so important?

E-commerce website design is all about responding to certain behavioral and buying patterns that are common to different customers. When users enter a store's website, they intuitively look for certain features in particular places, such as the search window, shopping cart, or categories. As UX designers, our goal is to enable users to find a specific product, help them make a purchase decision, and design the easiest, most intuitive customer path. 

Every e-commerce site is different, and what interests a customer searching for a laptop differs from what interests the one looking for a new suit. One will pay more attention to technical specifications and the ability to compare it with other products, while the other will pay more attention to images and the ease of return if the wrong size is chosen. You need to take these differences into account when planning the product page, category, and search, but there is no point in reinventing the wheel. It's worth focusing on good patterns and optimizing the customer's experience as well as the implementation team's because often even small changes to a checkout mean a few extra days of work for the developer... if at all possible. 

What inspires you at work?

I find great inspiration in implemented projects that allow me to see the newest solutions used in practice. I collect the most interesting ideas. If I'm looking for a particular solution - Baymard has a library of nearly 14,000 thoroughly described projects, which I use regularly. Mobbin or Nicelydone galleries are also a source of inspiration. I try to keep up to date with trends and new products, so I also regularly review Modern Retail or Thing Testing. The market is evolving fast and checking what's going on in the industry is the best way to look for new ideas and update my knowledge.

UX is a field at the intersection of design and psychology, which is developing very intensively. What advice would you give to UX adepts to become better specialists?

First of all, focus on a niche and profile your competencies. Many UX juniors want to learn everything. Such a strategy may work well in the beginning, when you don't yet know what you want to do, but the market increasingly values specialization in a particular direction. 15 years ago, one person dealt with graphics and programming. 10 years ago we had a division between "graphic designers" and "UX designers". Today, I can't imagine that an experienced UX designer dealing with, for example, designing banking applications would know how to design an e-commerce site well. When working in different industries, experiences, and customer profiles, it makes sense to focus on one chosen sector and deepen your knowledge in that area to become an expert.

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