The new year is coming in hot and for some people, new professional changes are on the horizon for 2024. We know that you may be thinking about changing careers and taking a ride down a new path; whether you are already in the tech industry or not, UX/UI design is an attractive option for many.
To best explain how to become a UI UX designer, we will first define what a UX/UI designer does, what responsibilities they have, and the qualities they bring to the table. We consider it important that before taking a step down the UX/UI design career path, that you fully understand them all. Are you ready? Let’s go.
What is a UX/UI Designer?
Creating a user interface from scratch is no easy task and requires a lot of planning, researching, designing, and innovating. Because UX/UI design entails so much, responsibilities are broken into two types of design: UX and UI.
UX design, or User eXperience design, focuses on much of the initial stages of planning and designing the framework and structure that the application or website will have. In addition, UX designers research and develop the experience based on client surveys, questionnaires, and other feedback. They are constantly finetuning their product so that clients are truly satisfied with the ease of use and interactivity of their product.
In contrast, UI design is about all the visual elements that attract users and these designers are the true artists in the process. UI stands for User Interface and UI designers choose the typography, font, layout, space, logotypes, and animation. Their job is to create an aesthetically pleasing and engaging final product.
Although these are two different disciplines, they are often grouped together as one position. Depending on the company and even the specific project, designers may be assigned to concentrate on one of them or even both; UX/UI designer is a versatile one that requires a mastery of several skills.
What are the responsibilities of a UX/UI designer?
Just like in the previous section, we are going to treat these two as two separate entities although they are sometimes considered as one intertwined, complex discipline. Let’s start with the tasks and responsibilities that UX designers carry out:
Research and feedback: from the beginning of the design process, UX designers need to be able to connect with users and collect their feedback and they normally do so by creating questionnaires and surveys or conducting interviews. This information is essential in guiding their product in the right direction.
User personas: UX designers establish the best products when they have their clients in the forefront of their minds, so they create user personas as a foundation for how users will interact with the app.
Prototype: the design process requires many steps and one of the most arduous ones culminates in a prototype. Prototypes allow for the product to be tested and have a foundation when testing.
User testing: users are also beneficial in the design process when determining how their product scores in intuitiveness, ease of use, satisfaction, and engagement. Similar to the research they conduct, user testing can provide very insightful feedback.
Layout creation and wireframing: one of the main goals of UX designers is to make wireframes that later help UX designers to create a functional and intuitive layout for the product.
UI design entails different responsibilities that are much more visual design oriented and include:
Visual design elements: there are a wide range of decisions that go into the UI design process and they all unite to create a finished product. Color palettes, pictures, typography, buttons, and other aesthetics are chosen with one main goal: satisfying users.
Interactivity: visual design elements include many aspects and yet one specifically ensures that people become engaged in the interface: interactive elements. UI designers can increase engagement and satisfaction with the product, thanks to including interactive elements.
Layout design: some may not consider the layout of an application or website to be the visual design, but it is a huge part of the design process. Similar to UX designers, UI designers need to think about page layout and the overall structure and framework of the final product.
Branding: although some companies are already established, other new businesses may need help with their brand identity by creating consistent design elements across several platforms. UI designers are helpful in supporting the creation of a reliable and aesthetically pleasing brand image.
How to Become a UX/UI Designer
Knowing the responsibilities and duties that a UX/UI designer must take on to complete their work, we can now dive deeper into what characteristics are in line with a successful UX/UI designer.
Qualities of a UX/UI designer
All professions are a combination of several hard and soft skills that professionals learn through both professional and educational experiences. Let’s focus on soft skills since they are transferable from other careers and previous experiences.
Some soft skills that UX designers need are:
Empathy with users: emotional connecting with your users is worth your weight in gold as a skill because humans are emotional beings. When we interact with an interface, we are feeling different emotions and tuning into them; empathizing with a user’s experience allows you to create a product attuned to their needs.
Curiosity to learn more: to discover more and more about the type of product that your clients and users want, it’s essential to have a limitless amount of curiosity. Since research and data analysis are responsibilities that a UX designer takes on, these professionals need to be motivated to learn more and go further down the rabbit hole.
Communication skills: UX designers are always in contact with people; whether they are clients, team members, or users, they must know how to effectively communicate with them. Strong communication skills are crucial to creating effective user surveys and questionnaires and conducting fruitful interviews.
UI designers require the following soft skills to be successful at their job:
Innovation and creativity: because of its main focus on aesthetics, UI design requires innovation and creativity from designers, especially in a world that tends to copy the main trends. Sometimes you have to be the trendsetter.
Attention to detail: there is so much effort and hard work that goes into application or website development and to ensure that the best product is designed, you need a UI designer that values attention to detail. Every visual design element makes a big difference to form the finished product.
Adaptability to the unknown: trends come and go and maybe your client doesn’t like some elements of your design. Collaborating with them and adapting to their needs aids in reaching a consensus on the finalized design.
Becoming a UX/UI designer
We know that if you’ve made it this far, that you are more than excited to discover how to make your dream of becoming a UX/UI designer a reality. To work in any career, you need an educational background and/or experience and to work in UX/UI design, this also applies. The following paths can be an amazing place to move forward:
University degree: since UX/UI design is a multidisciplinary profession, various degrees make for great foundations. Universities offer UX/UI design degrees directly; however, bachelor’s degrees in graphic design, web design, or other design-related fields are more than sufficient as a foundation. These degrees assist potential UX/UI designers in having experience working on the aesthetics of their projects, which is often a huge part of the job. A degree in psychology could also be seen as a strong way to connect with users. Further experiences on campus like work in organizations or projects can also benefit and supplement their degrees.
Courses: there are more and more online courses that can help curious professionals acquire the skills that they will need to become a UX/UI designer. They may be from several programs or sources, but developing expertise in several disciplines is possible both through payment and free of charge.
Videos, books, and other resources: many people want to share their knowledge with others on the internet and in books. Youtube has a wide selection of videos catered to people who want to learn more about UX/UI design and even stopping by your local bookstore can lead you to a book that can teach you a thing or two.
Although these methods can help you reach your goal, there is a more direct and straightforward way that will prepare you efficiently, quickly, and holistically: a bootcamp. An intensive bootcamp can provide anyone hoping to become a UX/UI designer with a strong foundation and all the right skills to land their first tech job.
Ironhack’s bootcamps are ready to put you to work and our staff is composed of professionals with work experience and knowledge of the field that will support and motivate you throughout the entire process. And thanks to current and constantly evolving curriculums, students graduate ready to join the workforce as a UX/UI designer.
We know you’re interested in UX/UI design and making it a career, so why not take the plunge? In as short as a few months, you can become a UX/UI designer, so check out Ironhack’s UX/UI Design Bootcamp below.