The Beginner’s Guide to Successful UI-UX Design

According to this blog, top companies like Facebook, Apple, and Square are increasingly adopting a design-centric ethos to set themselves apart from the competition. The blog goes on to quote a Design Management Institute study that showed “utilizing top design talent in hardware, software and service interactions helps companies grow faster through differentiation and better customer experiences.”

Thanks to the focus of new age companies on great design, there is a renewed demand for designers all over the world. However, no longer can design jobs be bracketed into graphic or web design alone. New age design jobs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) design are two of the most coveted jobs in the contemporary design world.

But before we learn about UI-UX design and its prospects in India, we have to understand what each term means. While UI and UX design are often used interchangeably, at times even by industry insiders, they do not mean the same thing. The below definitions sum up each term in the simplest possible manner:

UI Design: UI design stands for User Interface design and involves laying out the content in a way that it appeals to the user. User interface refers to the look and feel of a product, its presentation and interactivity.

UX design: UX design stands for user experience design and it is more about how the product feels to the user. It aims at improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure derived from interacting with a product with the goal to enhance customer loyalty.

Individuals interested in the above careers can choose either of the two specialties. That being said, many go on to become generalists, which means they dabble in a little bit of both UI and UX design. The first step to becoming a UI or UX designer is to choose your specialty. And before taking the first step, you need to ask yourself this question…

Do you have what it takes?

Even before you choose a specialty, you need to introspect whether you have what it takes to be a successful UI-UX designer. Here are some skills and character traits that make for a successful designer.

  1. Creativity

Needless to say, you should be creative. Considering that visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual,your head should be full of ideas on how to make a product visually appealing.

  1. Passion

Any career in design cannot be a practical choice. You cannot choose to be a designer because it pays well or offers bright prospects. You choose to be a designer because you simply cannot think of being anything else. You literally eat, drink, and sleep design. To summarize, your decision to become a designer should befueled by passion and passion alone.

  1. Curiosity

If you are not comfortable asking questions and digging deep into things, a career in design is not for you. Designers should be naturally curious about the world and the people around them. Only then will they be able to get to the bottom of human behavior – understanding of which is the mainstay of a design career.

  1. Empathy

As someone who designs products for others, you need the ability to get into their shoes and think like them. What they will like, what they won’t like, how might they interact with a product, what obstacles they could face – these are some of the questions that you may have to address on a regular basis as a UI-UX designer.

Get your hands dirty

There’s nothing like gaining some hands-on experience inUI-UX design.One way to do that is to find a mentor and then shadow them. You will pick up some essential practical skills and if you are lucky, you might even learn some peripheral skills like presenting ideas, working together with the other teams or individuals (client, copywriters, project managers, and marketing).

As useful as it is to have a mentor, you have to understand that you are the most important person driving your career. So, take matters into your own hands and work on some projects even if they are for free or fake.

There will always be a small business or an NGO looking for someone to design their website that will be happy to enlist your help. If not, work on a personal project and have a portfolio ready by the time you hit the job market.

Get the right tools

There are hundreds and hundreds of tools, apps and/or software you can use to refine your skills. Some may be free, some may require you to pay a nominal registration/download fee, but experience in working with them is necessary to launch your career.

You need a range of tools – from prototyping and wireframing tools like Invision and Moqups to user feedback tools like Usabilla and User Testing, and web analytics ones like Google Analytics and KISSMetrics.

Self-education is the key

Education is a continuous process, especially if you are in a field as dynamic as UI-UX design. You cannot stop learning, so immerse yourself in the process. Take time out to read the latest design articles and books.

Subscribe to design blogs. Watch online tutorials – there’s no dearth of them on the internet. Get inspired by looking at other people’s design work.

Take the leap – Get formally trained

For a truly successful career, you need to lay a strong foundation – the kind that comes from a solid education. Many higher education institutes like Seamedu offer web design and UI-UX design coursesin India and it will be worth your while to complete a formal training program in the field. These courses will train you in the programming languages that you need to know to work as a UI-UX designer such as HTML, XML, etc. in addition to other design essentials.

Good design can be the difference between an awful user experience and a great one. Great user experience can lead to higher conversions. Higher conversions mean bigger profits for businesses. That puts you – the UI/UX designer – in the driver’s seat so far as sales and revenue are concerned; and design houses (and their clients) love that.

So, are you ready toroll?