UX/UI design has become evermore important as the tech industry grows and companies are seeing the need to center user experience and the importance of creating user-friendly interfaces. Designers will undoubtedly face challenges while creating websites and web applications; that said, knowing how to not crack under the stress of those challenges is the task for UX/UI designers. We’re going to look over a couple common bumps in the road for UX/UI designers and offer our two cents in navigating those roadblocks.
UX/UI Design: a Quick Summary
User Experience (UX) design and User Interface (UI) design are two closely related fields that center users in creating web applications and digital interfaces. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, UX design and UI design are two distinct areas of website and web application design.
UX design is focused on the user experience while utilizing a given website or application. UX designers concentrate on user satisfaction and look to optimize a web app’s functionality. Similarly, UX designers create wireframes and prototypes that offer a structure and form, ensuring that the application is more user-friendly and intuitive.
UI design, on the other hand, is focused on the visual aspects of website and interface design. Their work zeros in on what is visually pleasing to users, meaning they focus on everything from color schemes to page layouts, fonts, and other interactive elements like buttons that will visually enhance a user’s experience.
What Responsibilities do UX/UI Designers Have?
UX and UI designers play a crucial role in the final result of web design and user experience while utilizing those products. Their responsibilities range from research to coordination to design and product testing, with the following highlighted:
User research: UX/UI designers must carry out their own user research in order to get a stronger idea about user needs, behaviors, and preferences. This research may involve interviews, surveys, and usability testing to inform design decisions.
Information architecture: designers must organize website information into a logical and easy-to-understand structure such that users are not overwhelmed. They create sitemaps, user flows, and navigation systems that ensure easy access to desired content and features.
Wireframing and prototyping: UX/UI designers develop wireframes, low-fidelity visual representations of an interface, in order to secure user feedback on the design. Equally, they’ll create prototypes in order to stimulate the user experience, gain insights from those simulations, and adapt the designs accordingly.
Scenarios and testing: UX/UI designers must adapt their work in relation to what their perceived users are looking for. This research is achieved through creating fictional user personas in order to better understand target groups, and simulating user interaction with the interface to identify the effectiveness of the design, user path points, and secure other feedback which then informs design improvements.
Communication and coordination: a crucial component of UX/UI design is communication and coordination with stakeholders, developers, and other team members. Whether they be communicating design concepts, debating solutions to a design challenge, or simply working to get a shared understanding of the design process, it’s one of their most important responsibilities.
Ultimately UX/UI designer’s responsibilities will vary based on the organization, project scope, team structure, and current company needs, but these are some of the basics that structure a UX/UI designer’s work.
Challenges in UX/UI Design
UX/UI design work is no walk in the park. There are very high expectations on UX/Ui designers, there’s a lot of competition in the field, trends are always changing, and the work has its fair share of challenges. Here are a few of the biggest challenges UX/UI designers will face and Ironhack’s tips in addressing them.
Straddling originality with usability
The pressures on UX/UI designers to create something new and unique is great, but often the decision to focus deeply on a visually appealing design or to create unheard of features compromises the quality of the user-friendly aspect of the web application. Even if someone is drawn to the visual aspect of the design, if the product proves to be difficult to use, it’s useless.
Ironhack’s tip: designers should not shy away from replicating designs that have proven to satisfy user needs and demands. This means doing the necessary research to understand your target audience, who your users are or will be, creating scenarios, and working to design a product that fits their needs. Once you’re sure that the features and navigation systems will appeal to your target group, you can add your special touch or experiment with a couple new features. Of course you should embrace creativity, but do so hand in hand with research and testing such that both use and aesthetic goals are met.
Staying up-to-date on the latest trends
Technology and design techniques are constanding changing, and there are always more and more tech tools that can give you the competitive advantage as you improve your products. Staying up-to-date on these recent tools, programs, and designs trends is crucial to a UX/UI designer’s success.
Ironhack’s tip: UX/UI designers should find ways to keep up with the latest tech trends. Ironhack has a number of recommendations on how to stay up-to-date with tech industry developments on our blog. We’d recommend regularly reading blogs, finding podcasts, or enrolling in courses to stay informed and overcome the challenge that the quickly developing industry imposes on tech professionals.
UX/UI coding challenges
Undoubtedly, UX/UI designers will face new coding challenges. This may be because of the complexities surrounding designing for multiple platforms and devices, or simply because designers often face technical constraints while working with developers to implement their designs.
Ironhack tip: of course UX/UI designers will always face coding challenges. In order to be successful, UX/UI designers simply need to practice and train their skills in order to remain sharp and not narrow their vision of what’s possible by simply failing to dedicate time to upskilling and reskilling their skills. This means carving out time to practice with real-world coding exercises, training yourself in crucial skills and new tools, and creating portfolio-worthy deliverables. At the same time, it requires strong collaboration and communication with developers, customers, and other stakeholders.
UX/UI design ethical challenges
Today, there are more and more ethical questions when it comes to UX/UI design given questions surrounding data protection, transparency, privacy, creating inclusive designs, and environmental sustainability. Designers have more ethical challenges than ever and need to be smart in how they go about addressing those potential challenges.
Ironhack tip: UX/UI designers must take ethical challenges seriously and work to prioritize the well-being of users, create culturally sensitive and inclusive designs, and design considering the impact of energy consumption, and electronic waste. Equally, data protection must be taken seriously, you can check out our article on how UX/UI designers can collaborate with cybersecurity professionals to ensure the integrity and security of their designs.
These challenges are a testament to the complexities and multidisciplinary aspects of UX/UI design. Addressing these challenges head on is crucial to a UX/UI designer’s success. Doing so will require research, creativity, collaboration and a user-centric approach. If you’re interested in learning more about UX/UI design, check out our blog!