Preparing for a Whiteboard Challenge in a UX Designer Interview



The whiteboard challenge is an integral part of many UX designer interviews. It tests not just your design skills, but also your problem-solving, communication, and collaboration abilities.

However, don’t let stress get the better of you. Being prepared can make a significant difference in your performance, stick to the process and don’t hesitate to ask questions. In this guide, we’ll delve into each stage of the whiteboard challenge.

Understanding the Whiteboard Challenge

The whiteboard challenge typically involves solving a design problem in real-time, often collaborating with the interviewers. It aims to evaluate the following:

1. Problem-Solving Skills

This aspect evaluates your ability to understand, analyze, and propose solutions to a design problem.

How It Works

You’ll be given a design problem or scenario and are expected to work through it step-by-step. Interviewers look for how you identify user needs, constraints, and potential solutions.


  • Clearly state the problem you’re solving.
  • Break down the problem into smaller, manageable pieces.
  • Consider multiple approaches before committing to one.

2. Communication Abilities

This evaluates your skill in articulating your thought process and the reasoning behind your design decisions.

How It Works

As you sketch and propose solutions, you’re expected to verbalize your thought process. This helps the interviewers understand your rationale and approach.


  • Keep your explanations simple but precise.
  • Use language that both technical and non-technical team members can understand.
  • Don’t assume; clarify any ambiguities in the problem statement or the design brief.

3. Collaboration

This focuses on how well you can work in a team, particularly in incorporating feedback and iterating your designs.

How It Works

Interviewers may play the role of stakeholders or team members, offering critiques or asking for adjustments. Your ability to accept, process, and implement feedback is assessed here.


  • Listen actively to feedback.
  • Be open to changing your designs.
  • Show empathy and understanding toward hypothetical user needs and stakeholder concerns.

4. Technical Competence

This evaluates your practical skills in UX design, such as wireframing, user flows, and knowledge of design tools and methodologies.

How It Works

You’ll be expected to showcase technical aspects of design, like creating wireframes, mapping out user journeys, or discussing UI patterns.


  • Keep your designs focused and aligned with the problem statement.
  • If you use specific design jargon, be prepared to explain it.
  • Show familiarity with design tools, even if you can’t use them during the whiteboarding session.

Understanding these evaluation stages can give you a more well-rounded preparation strategy, ensuring that you not only showcase your design skills but also exhibit strong problem-solving, communication, and collaborative abilities.

Before the Interview

1. Research the Company

Knowing the company’s focus and design philosophy can help you tailor your approach. If you’re interviewing at a healthcare insurance company, for example, understanding how they prioritize user needs could be beneficial.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Recreate a whiteboarding scenario with a friend or mentor. Practice sketching out your thoughts quickly and clearly, ensuring you understand the problem and can articulate your solutions.

Here are some websites that can offer you a range of UX design scenarios to practice with:

And here is a template which you can use for the exercise, and potentially in the interview itself:

3. Familiarize Yourself with Common Questions

Questions might vary, but they often involve designing an app, solving a specific user problem, or improving an existing design. Familiarize yourself with these formats.

During the Interview

1. Briefing

The interviewers present you with a design problem or scenario, often outlining specific constraints.

Your Focus

  • Clarification: Understand the problem thoroughly.
  • Scope: Define the boundaries.

Questions to Ask

  • Can you provide more context around this problem?
  • Who is the primary user we’re focusing on?
  • Are there any time or budget constraints?


  • Ask questions to eliminate any ambiguities.
  • Make a note of key points.

2. Problem Analysis

You analyze the problem and consider potential solutions, perhaps sketching rough outlines.

Your Focus

  • Understanding User Needs
  • Identifying Constraints:

Questions to Ask

  • Who’s your user? What do they need?
  • What’s the success criteria for this design?
  • Are there any technical limitations?


  • Break the problem into smaller parts.
  • Share your initial thoughts with the interviewers to check your understanding.

3. Ideation

Brainstorm solutions, sketching wireframes or flows as needed.


Whiteboard Challenge
Whiteboard Challenge in FigJam


Your Focus

  • Creativity: Think outside the box.
  • Feasibility: Ensure your ideas can actually be implemented.

Questions to Ask

  • “Would this feature be considered a ‘must-have’ or a ‘nice-to-have’?”
  • “How does this idea align with the company’s overall strategy?”
  • “Can I get some initial feedback on these concepts?”


  • Sketch a Rough Layout. Use the whiteboard to sketch a basic wireframe or flowchart. This acts as a visual guide both for you and the interviewers.
  • Start with a broad perspective, then narrow down.
  • Verbalize your thought process. This offers valuable insights into how you approach problems, making it easier for the interviewers to follow your thinking. Ask for the feedback.
  • Don’t hesitate to erase and redraw elements of your design. It shows your willingness to adapt and improve.
  • Be open to feedback. Engage with your interviewers as you would with team members, demonstrating your collaboration skills.

4. Design Presentation

You present your design, explaining your rationale and thought process.

Your Focus

  • Clarity: Make it easy to understand.
  • Justification: Explain your choices.

Questions to Ask

  • “Does this solution meet the user’s key objectives?”
  • “How does this design choice affect the overall user experience?”
  • “Are there any concerns about the feasibility of this feature?”


  • Walk the interviewers through your design methodically.
  • Explain how your design meets both user needs and business goals.

5. Feedback and Iteration

What Happens

The interviewers give feedback, which might include challenging your design or suggesting changes.

Your Focus

  • Flexibility: Are you willing to adapt?
  • Collaboration: Can you work constructively with feedback?

Questions to Ask

  • Could you clarify what aspect needs improvement?
  • How would this change align with the project’s objectives?
  • Is the feedback based on user needs, business goals, or both?


  • Be open to critiques; they’re an opportunity for improvement.
  • Validate new requirements or changes before altering your design.

6. Conclusion

The challenge concludes with a debrief, often led by the interviewers.

Your Focus

  • Self-assessment: Reflect on your performance.
  • Closing Remarks: Leave a strong impression.

Questions to Ask

  • Is there anything more you’d like to see if time permitted?
  • How did my solution align with your expectations?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?


  • Thank your interviewers and express enthusiasm for the next steps in the process.
  • Reflect on both your successes and areas for improvement.

After the Interview

1. Post-Mortem

Reflect on what went well and what didn’t. This exercise will help you improve for future interviews.

2. Follow-up

Send a polite thank-you note to your interviewers, reiterating your enthusiasm for the role.


The whiteboard challenge is more than a test of your design skills; it’s an opportunity to showcase your problem-solving and collaboration abilities. With ample preparation and the right mindset, you’re well on your way to acing this challenge.

Good luck, and may your designs always be user-centric!