What is UX/UI Design and what does a UX/UI Designer do?

Difference between UX and UI

Although we may not realize it, we live surrounded by user experiences, both in the analog and digital world. It is very rare for a product to not be designed based on a reflection of our behavior with a service, on the way in which we seek information, or on our perception. It is a fact that experience design is the future, being that the UX profile is one of the most demanded jobs today, with an annual growth of 18% according to studies such as CNNMoney.

What is a UX designer?

If you are an individual who has come this far after a Google search to the likes of “what is a UX designer”, then we can answer you in a simple way by defining the UX Designer as a professional looking for the easy, intuitive, and friendly way to solve a problem based on the tastes, needs, and opinions of the users of a product or service. We refer, therefore, to the person in charge of designing the experience of a client in an optimal way.

Before continuing, it is important to differentiate between User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX), two disciplines that are often confused, probably because they work hand in hand and because of the similarity of their acronyms. The reality is that UI refers to the creation of the interface, which can be visual or developed mainly with languages ​​such as HTML, CSS, or Javascript, while UX focuses on usability, focusing on analysis and social relationships.

The professional in charge of the UI will focus on the design of the product, impacting the first visual impression of the user, something that determines if the website or application is to their liking, while the person in charge of the UX focuses on usability and easy navigation, creating certain emotions and sensations when using the interface. Another way of saying it: the UI designer is primarily responsible for the visual aspect of the interface, while the UX focuses on ensuring that the navigation and actions performed by the user are consistent, the UI is responsible for deciding the user's journey, while the UX focuses on the processes and actions that trigger the use.

Skills of a UX Designer

Tasks as important as creating experiences that meet the needs of customers, improving the perception of the brand, and creating a solid link with their products often falls into the hands of the UX Designer. Think for a moment about applications like Netflix or Spotify, tools like Google Sheets or Zapier, and digital products like Google Home or Philips Hue. We assure you that behind all of them there is an immense amount of user experience work, with the aim of creating an easy, intuitive, efficient, and beautiful application.

Creativity, empathy, and listening skills are some of the most important characteristics that a good UX Designer must have in order to soak up the user's context, the processes they undertake in their day-to-day life, and their needs. Being a good observer is also essential to notice those details that escape us at first glance when using an application, without neglecting business and communication skills, the latter being essential. Working on a good relationship with the rest of the team is essential, as well as researching everything related to usability and learning about software every day.

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The specialization of a UX Designer

Depending on the size of the team, a UX professional may need to develop into a certain role. One of these roles is the UX Researcher, who is in charge of analyzing users and helping them understand them by asking who they are, analyzing their behaviors, and focusing on their needs through interviews, surveys, and research. User experience maps, usability assessments, and analytics reports are often their main projects.

The UX Writer, for its part, is responsible for knowing and defining communication with the user, studying their language to learn how the product should speak in order to connect with the client. The tone and the strategy of communication are usually his or her tasks, defining the content creation strategy and its presentation to the user.

Another path of specialization is that of Service Design, which seeks to create or improve existing services with the aim of making them more usable, useful, and desirable, as well as more effective. Those who are dedicated to this work pursue the goal of having the best available service in the eyes of both the consumer and the company.

Whatever the final destination of a user experience designer may be, vacancies in the sector have grown by up to 560% in recent years, a finding that makes user experience professionals essential with companies increasingly aware of the importance of designing the best digital experiences.

Resources to get started in UX

Betting on practical and quality training is essential to enter the field, although we want to leave you some initial recommendations to get you started. A long time ago we published a list of eight must-read UX books, something that will excite readers. Trying an introductory course on Domestika or Coursera, whatching videos on channels like UXTips, learning these top UX principles or getting to know these top prototyping tools are some sure steps to get started in the profession.

If you are already determined to train in depth as a UX designer, your best choice is the full-time UX/UI design bootcamp at Ironhack, where you will adopt the leading mentality of the technology industry, you will learn to use the most cutting-edge product tools, and you will bring your digital products to life. If you want to completely transform the way people and brands interact, you have found your place. Ready to change your life? 

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