In my previous article I’ve covered Designer Interview as the last main basic thing to consider for your success in Designer career.
In this article I’ll try to tell you about UI/UX Designers. Who we are, what we do, what is required to be successful etc.
WHAT UI/UX STANDS FOR ANYWAY
To better understand what is a UI/UX Designer role, you have to be familiar with the terms UI and UX.
UI – User Interface. UX – User Experience.
On the example of a button it could be explained like this:
– UI is the visual representation: the color of a button, it’s shape, position, font used for copy etc.
– UX is the functional representation: how well the color, shape, position, font etc. works to satisfy business requirements of a button.
And even more simple way to explain would be:
– UI is a set of images that shows how the Interface has to look.
– UX is how this Interface has to work. It defines the meaning of any design decision for each Interface element.
Again, UI is how it looks, UX is how it works.
What makes UI and UX to be good?
It’s a subjective topic. However, good UX is when the interface designed the way it is intuitive to understand, easy to remember and convenient to use.
And of course good UI supports user experience with contrast visual implementation, that makes a good UX possible.
What makes a good UI/UX to be great?
To my opinion Interface becomes great when a Designer is ready to move beyond design decisions that are just enough for a certain task.
What I mean by that is, when you create an Interface that is delightful to use, in terms of UX, but not just convenient. And when the visual part of a design, in terms of UI, is followed by beautiful design decisions, not just easy to look at. Using latest trends in your designs also makes both UI and UX great.
WHAT MAKES UI/UX DESIGNER DIFFERENT
UI/UX Designers have a lot of names in today’s world, so don’t freak out. Product Designer, Interaction Designer, Visual Designer, UI Designer, UX Designer, Android Designer, iOS Designer and even Web Designer etc., all of these names in job descriptions of multiple roles are very similar and sometimes even the same. But behind these names is covered the explanation of required skills.
First of all, the reason why UI/UX Designers are not called just Web Designers or whatever, like they were in the past, is because of higher industry requirements, where our “only visual skills” is not enough now. So to differentiate us from less qualified professionals, industry started calling us – UI/UX Designers.
Second, now there are much more different fields of software to design for, divided to Web, Android, iOS, Desktop (Windows/Mac OS) etc. So some companies are looking for professional with even more narrow experience with a certain environment.
Also, comparing to past years, when web designers were doing only 3-5 page websites, modern technology and interfaces themselves became more sophisticated and complex. Now Designers have not just to “draw” an interface, but they have to understand, collect, define and explain the logic of it’s interactions.
Biggest takeaway here is basically now we design not just images, but also a logic for interactions of those images between each other to satisfy business needs. Now it’s not just brochure website, now it’s a complex interactive application.
And it all leads us straight to a…
TYPICAL DAY AT WORK
To summarize all above and to understand what skills are actually required to be a UI/UX Designer – you have to know what UI/UX Designers do at work on a daily basis.
First of all Designer is still a Designer. The majority of UI/UX Designer work comes down to graphic design process. The main technical difference from other Design disciplines is that UI/UX Designer has to produce his designs for screen (display) device interfaces. That is why the basic requirement is to pay attention to a certain specifications of screen environment.
But also, UI/UX Designers today are like a glue that holds product creation together. We create, define, design, control implementation and iterate to improve interface on all stages of software production. That is why the UI/UX Designers are so important in today’s tech world.
Here are the main activities UI/UX Designer tackles every day:
- Collecting and understanding Business requirements for the project.
- Translating those requirements into wireframe (rough sketch of future product).
- Designing hight-fidelity design of the interface.
- Creating an interactive prototype.
- Testing design decisions to iterate and improve design before development.
- Collaborating with developers to help them produce the actual product exactly the way it was designed.
After all that is done UI/UX Designers repeat the process to improve the existing product.
As you’ve already noticed, UI/UX Designer do a lot more than just the design itself. Our work involves a lot of creative thinking, user flow architecture, collaboration and communication with co-workers, and constant improvement of past work and own skills.
And that is the reason why for the last few years more and more billion-dollar companies are founded by designers. It happens because we’re involved from day 1 of product creation and during the whole and every stage of it as well. So UI/UX Designer is the person that knows more than most of the team mates of how business and product operates, because we’re those who defines it.
UI/UX DESIGN TOOLS
Hope now you understand what we do. But let’s talk about how we do it.
The most common technical activities are Wireframing (low-fidelity), Visual Design (high-fidelity) and Interactive Prototyping. These are the top skills to have.
There are tons of tools to use, and it all comes down to price and preference. So I’ll name some that I use:
- Wireframing – Axure, Adobe Illustrator
- Visual Design – Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe AfterEffects
- Prototyping – InVision, Axure, POP
I hope now you understand the UI/UX Designer role much better. I’ll tell you more about what and how I use it in details in my future articles.
As always, thanks for reading. I highly appreciate your interest and support. Check out my blog for more articles.
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