Starting a new career as a UX/UI designer is exciting. Whether you are freelancing or working with a company, it is a varied role that combines both practical and creative skills, and it also has a strong focus on problem-solving. Below are some of our top tips to help you rock your first project as a UX/UI designer.
Your First UX Designer Job
Newly-qualified designers actually have many advantages over more experienced designers. For starters, they tend to approach a project with fresh eyes and are not reliant on one particular, highly practised way of doing things. They tend to approach problems with a more open mind and can also offer additional insights into the user experience as they are less preoccupied with things like backend development. Many employers, managers and business owners value the fresh outlooks that new developers tend to have. They generally don’t have preconceived ideas about the best ways of doing things, which can be invaluable when working on a new project. New designers and anyone working on their first UX designer job are often more aware of the latest developments and best practices in the world of web design, as they will generally have completed an up-to-date course recently.
Tip #1 - Focus on Your "Soft Skills"
In any UX designer job, newly-qualified members often bring a great set of soft skills to a project, especially if they have worked in a different field previously. For example, expertise in time management and project management are two very important skills for a designer. A unique perspective plus transferable skills such as strong collaborative ability and sticking to deadlines are invaluable when working as a web developer. Be sure to bring these strengths to the fore when working on your first UX/UI designer job. Documenting and recording the web design process along the way will also go a long way in helping you learn on the job and provide a point of reference for future projects.
Tip #2 - Understand Your Role and Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Be sure you are clear on your role as UX/UI designer within the project, whether that’s within a company or as a solo, freelance UX designer. The design process can vary from company to company, so it is good to specify this at the start. Let both your team-mates and management know what they can expect at each stage, and what you will need from them. Researching additional resources such as techniques for developing UX design project ideas can also be useful when getting started and can support you in your role.
Knowing what is expected of you from the very start will help you begin confidently and help you to stay focused on the task at hand. Additionally, once you understand what you need to achieve, don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. As long as what you are doing is within the scope of your role, mistakes will simply offer opportunities for learning and development. A huge aspect of any UX designer’s job is problem-solving. There will always be issues to overcome in the development process. How you approach and handle them is what matters, and it is good to welcome ‘mistakes’ throughout the process. Most of the time they will result in greater learning and help you deliver excellent results on your first UX designer job.
Tip #3 - Collaborate and Communicate With Other Team Members
Stay aware of the fact that great web design is not just the job of the UX/UI designer. You will need to take other ideas on board. Whether it’s coming from the CEO of the company or a software engineer, their input can be invaluable and very helpful in implementing great web design. Testing your prototype on other colleagues and asking for their opinion at the prototype stage will also give you lots of information to work with and let you know if anything can be improved. Your primary goal is to create a website that offers an excellent experience for the user - so collecting insights from other users at this stage is worthwhile.
Tip #4 - Take Feedback on Board
Receiving feedback, both positive and constructive, is a great way to learn. Make the most of the collaborative process involved in web design and development, and listen to any feedback you are given. It can help you make great strides both in terms of your skills and ability as a designer and in terms of working as part of a team. Even if you are a solo freelancer, you will need to collaborate in order to undertake projects for clients, and feedback can be an invaluable source of knowledge. Requesting feedback from your project leader or co-workers will let you know how you are progressing and may give you ideas for future UX design projects.
Tip #5 - Learn About the Business
The role of the UX/UI designer is to create an easy-to-navigate, smooth website for the user. They should be able to browse a site comfortably and perform any online tasks or find information with ease. Understanding the overall business, goals and target audience will provide a lot of information about the type of product you need to design. Likewise, being aware of the target demographic will inform some decisions as a UX/UI designer, so it is worth researching this aspect of the business too.
Learn UX/UI Design
If you want to take the first steps towards a career in UX/UI design, check out our UX/UI Design Bootcamp. This will take you through User Experience and Interface Design and ensure that you are well-equipped to deliver a superb product in your first UX designer job or project.