Using smartphones… Playing a video game… Operating a vehicle…. Turning on a dishwasher…
What do all of these things have in common?
At first glance – nothing at all!
Not so fast.
If you dig deeper, you will see that all of those things include an interface that the user needs to operate!
Operating it perfectly means that the designer has done a good job. Not being able to use it… well, we all know what that means.
UI designer jobs are not really the newest in the industry. But the need for qualified people in the field is rising alongside the development of technology. Every piece of equipment that we use today needs to have an interface that people can successfully use.
So you can probably see the point and the importance of it.
Today we are here to talk more closely about the position and role of UI designers.
It is a role that combines creativity and a little bit of psychology. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, this may sound peculiar. But those of you who are well-versed in UI design this comes as an everyday thing.
We are here to help both sides – the beginners and the experts!
Novices will find out what user interface actually is while experienced professionals may find a better employment importunity this way.
To get us started, let’s go over some stats!
User interface design is, as you can see, an integral part when designing any kind of product today. It will make it or break it. Creating a good user interface is key.
That is why UI jobs are so much in demand today. That is why we are gathered here today.
We are going to help you find out more about the position. Hopefully, we will give you enough information on how to become a designer yourself.
Strap in lads, our course starts with the basic question…
What is UI Design?
User interface (UI) design is described as a design of user interface software and machines used for computers, home appliances, and mobile devices. It also aims to maximize usability and user experience. UI has a clear goal of making the interaction of users as simple and as efficient as possible. UI mainly refers to graphical user interface but may also include voice-controlled one.
User interface also brings concepts like visual design, interaction design, mobile interaction, and information architecture together. The goal is to come up with a perfect and suitable user-centered design.
Good user interface design will revolve around completing a task without attracting any unwanted attention to it. In order to achieve that, graphic design and typography are used to support its usability.
The idea behind UI is to allow the user to interact with a product in a seamless and pleasurable way. In order to do that UI works closely with UX, but the two processes are entirely different.
However, people still seem to be confused by the differences between the two. So, let’s talk about that.
What is the Difference Between UI and UX Design?
Basically speaking, UI comprises of all the elements that enable someone to interact with a product or servicе. UX is what the person interacting with the product or service is taking away from this experience.
UI stands for User Interface. UX is an abbreviation for User Experience.
The main difference comes down to this:
UX is all about the feel of the experience.
UI is concerned about how the product’s interfaces look and function.
To put it even simpler, a user experience designer is going to research and analyze what and how people wish to interact with the product. The user interface designer will create the very thing that the people will use to operate the product.
You can’t have one without the other. In order to create a perfect product or service UI and UX need to work together. That is why most firms employ two different people.
But since we are here to talk about UI, we will leave the UX designers aside.
Let’s continue with the description of the UI designer position.
UI Designer Job Description
UI designers are generally responsible for researching, collecting, evaluating, and investigating user requirements. The ultimate goal is to deliver quality user experience by making an intuitive and exceptional app or software design.
As a UI designer, you will be working closely with UX designers. The UX part involves talking with the customers and building user profiles that are very useful for UI. After the UX designers are done with their job, the UI designer takes over. It is their duty to create a clean and functional design based on the data gathered by the UX designer.
When creating the product UI designers need to ask themselves a few questions. For instance:
- Do the colors go together?
- How is the typography used to convey meaning and hierarchy?
- Is the app/program well designed?
- How can UI be improved?
- Would flat UI design work in this case?
Based on the employer’s requirements, the responsibilities of a user interface designer will differ. Sometimes they will change based on the necessities of the project. But the things mentioned above remain a staple for any type of job.
Let’s talk about responsibilities a bit deeper, shall we?
UI Design Jobs
Besides the things already discussed above, there are quite a lot of responsibilities that a UI designer has daily.
They might change based on the task or company, but here are some of the most common ones:
- Plan and implement new designs.
- Optimize existing user interface designs.
- Communicate with clients to better understand business goals.
- Test for intuitiveness y and experience.
- Combine creativity with an awareness of design elements.
- Develop technical and business requirements.
- Usability testing before implementation.
- Create prototypes.
- Conduct ongoing user and field research.
- Design graphic user interface elements.
- Provide adjustments based on user feedback.
But in order to complete all of these tasks a UI designer needs to be qualified and have certain skills.
Let’s mention a few necessary skills first…
UI Developer Skills
Each job or project will come with certain responsibilities that can only be handled by someone with the specific skills necessary. Luckily, you can learn most of these skills with experience and the necessary courses.
Here are some skills that UI designers need:
Visual & Non-Visual Communication: The designer needs to be able to explain and convey the story that they are trying to say. Being able to communicate visually without words to explain the goal of a product is a good skill to have.
Rapid Prototyping: With new software versions and updates being released every day. Thus, UI designer jobs include being able to evaluate and iterate a design quickly. This is achievable by employing rapid prototyping skills.
Revising Skills: In order to create a perfect product, one has to communicate and test out different ideas. By following feedback you will be able to revise a product and improve it until it works properly.
Participatory Design: This means opening the process to as many interested or concerned parties as possible. With more organizations involved it also means that more people have to be on board for the process. So collaboration would be key.
Responsive Design Skills: This is an important skill for UI design. It includes creating modular designs and moving from sketching to prototyping really fast.
Aesthetics: One of the most important parts of UI is the way things look. Thus having skills related to aesthetics will greatly add to your profile and enhance it.
Besides the skillset a user interface designer needs some sort of qualifications.
Keep reading to find out which!
User Interface Designer Education
As far as UI development employers go, they do require their designer to have a certain level of education. Although experience is a major factor, you can’t skip formal education in certain instances.
UI designer qualifications often include having a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, human-computer interaction, web development, mobile computing, software engineering, graphic design or any related field.
But it is equally important to have a strong portfolio. A portfolio is an absolute necessity for any project-driven role and will play an integral part in getting a UI job.
Some marketable skills that employers look for include front-end web development, usability inspection, interactive media design, mobile design, and graphic design. Most of them are offered as courses in formal education facilities.
UI designers can get an added edge by acquiring certain certifications.
But which ones are the best?
UI Designer Certifications
When an employer starts looking at your CV, they will surely focus on your degree and years of experience. After that, they’ll turn their attention to your portfolio.
It will be brilliant if you can add various certificates that you have acquired. It backs up your work. UI certifications are legitimate proof of your skills and talents. Getting involved in this field will most likely require you getting a certificate of some sort down the line.
Many rookies wonder about how to become a UI designer with no experience. Having a certificate will mean legitimate proof of your abilities and the experience of come in time.
There are many online courses available and classes that you might take. You better start your research now to find the most suitable one for you.
But an experienced UI designer needs to know their stuff. So a major part of their arsenal is the software they are proficient in using. Adding this toolkit of along with the certification for it is a great combination to have when applying for a job.
So let’s learn something about the UI software that you might use.
UI Design Software
Every artist, or in this case designer, has to have their tools. Painters have their brushes and canvas. Sculptors have chisels and hammers. In our case, a UI designer needs to bring various software to the table as those are the tools of the trade for graphic design.
To help you devise your UI toolkit as best as possible, here are a few types of software that you might care to learn:
- InVision: This is a web-based prototyping tool where you can upload static design files and create high fidelity, interactive prototypes.
- Balsamiq: This is a great wireframing tool and is necessary for UI designer jobs. It is a perfect “in-between” tool for designers, developers, and product managers.
- Zeplin: This tool allows you to upload your design and after, it automatically generates fitting specs and guidelines.
- Sketch: A digital design app and a vector-based tool that allows you to resize anything that you draw without losing sharpness.
- Flinto: This is an interactive prototyping app available for Mac users. It allows you to do almost anything when it comes to design.
- Figma: This is the very first in-browser interface tool. It allows you to design, prototype and gather feedback with loads of available handy features.
So now when you have your bag of tricks prepared we have some additional advice for you on how to best design user interface.
Best Practices for User Interface Design
In order to create the best UI possible, interface designers have to know their audience. Everything starts with being able to understand their goals, preferences, and tendencies.
There are some common practices that will help you create a perfect graphical user interface design:
- Use simple interfaces and clear language!
- Maintain consistency by using elements that users are familiar with!
- Use smart and purposeful page layouts so you can draw attention to the most important aspects of the website!
- Use appropriate colors and textures to draw attention to particular components, also important for web designer jobs!
- Use typeface to increase the readability and legibility of the content!
- Use defaults to reduce the burden on the user!
- Make sure that the system communicates on what is happening!
There you go!
If you follow these guidelines you will more than likely end up with the perfect user interface design.
Now that you are familiar with the necessities and best practices for designing, we can talk money.
After all, money is an important part of every job even though most of us love what we do.
Now it’s time to give you some employment tips on where to start looking for a job.
UI Jobs by City
If you are thinking about the best place to find a job related to user interface, you best bet is the USA. Most professionals that are working in UI have found great job opportunities there. The market is vast and expanding. Besides the obvious choices, smaller cities are also becoming a hotbed for UI.
UI designer salary in NYC is the highest. The Big Apple is also where many design schools are located. They offer courses on web design, industrial design and similar crafts that might help one advance their skills in UI.
Another obvious choice is San Francisco! Silicon Valley has been home to many startups that become profitable. This wouldn’t be possible without all the professionals lined up there and all the job opportunities.
Seattle is another place that comes to mind when talking about UI design. UI designer salary in Seattle is on the rise. Duh! The Emerald City is home to companies like Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft.
Finally, perhaps a small market but one that needs mentioning is Charlotte, NC. This city has evolved technologically in the past ten years and has now become a perfect place for smaller-minded designers, looking to start their careers.
Now let’s bring this show to a close!
To Sum Up
Now when you know what it takes to start a career in UI and are familiar with all the UI designer requirements, would you like to do it?
For example, next time you are looking at a site or using a mobile app, think about its usability.
Do you like it? Are you comfortable using it? Are other people going to be comfortable as well? How can it be improved?
If you are able to think of suitable answers to these questions and have ideas on how to resolve them, then my friend you just may have what it takes to start a career in user interface.
Now is the opportunity to prove it!
This article is a wonderful guide for your first steps to acquiring one of the many UI designer jobs out there.
If you still have some questions, please refer to our frequently asked questions part that we have prepared in the end.
Good luck on your journey to becoming a UI designer!
Q: What is user interface design?
A: User interface is the process of creating interfaces in software or computerized devices focusing solely on looks or style. The aim is to create a design that will be both appealing to the user and easy to use. To further answer the question “What is UI?” is that it does not only refer to graphical design but also finds use with voice-controlled ones.
Q: What is the salary of a UI designer?
A: Working in UI comes with all kinds of benefits. One of them is certainly a pretty decent salary that you will be getting. Although it greatly depends on the firm, location and the actual position, the salary for UI designers averages at around $80,000 per year or $40 per hour in the US.
Q: What are the duties of a UI designer?
A: Many people are curious about what does a UI designer do. Their responsibilities mostly revolve around planning and implementing new designs, optimizing existing user interface, software maintenance, intuitiveness, testing, user and task analysis, communicating with clients, etc. Keep in mind that duties vary, depending on the exact position and seniority level.
Q: Are UI designers in demand?
A: User interface design is a very sought after field nowadays. The mere fact that there are 1.94 billion websites, 4 million mobile apps, and 4 billion users worldwide tells us just how important user interface is. With the rapid development of technology, UI designers will only become more sought after in the future. The demand is already high and it will continue to grow.
Q: How to become a UI designer?
A: In order to become a UI designer one has to start by getting familiar with both UI and UX design. A valuable point would be to understand the UI vs UX difference as well. Once you understand the needs, you will be able to understand the skills that you will need. The next step would be learning all the design fundamentals, followed by being able to do projects. Practice until you are ready to prepare a portfolio. Make sure that you are up to date with all the current trends and you will be ready to apply for a legit job at a firm in no time!
Well, are you into UI designer jobs?
Have a great day, everyone!