The user interface is the visual part of a software that users see and interact with. So, this goes a long way in determining the user experience. Sewing how much the success or adoption of a digital product depends on it and how in-demand the job of a UI designer is, many would like to know the level of difficulty of this profession. So, is UI design hard?
How hard is the job of a UI designer?
With the growth of the online and digital environment, the work of a designer has become more complex. Today you not only have to think that the user likes the design of a website, but browsing and interacting must also be satisfactory.
This new aspect requires professionals with specific training and experience. More and more agencies and large companies are looking for UI designers. And yet it is difficult to find courses exclusively focused on user interface design.
That is why we want to see the fundamental aspects of UI designing and give answers to the most important questions about this profession, specialized knowledge, professional trajectory, and, of course, training opportunities.
What exactly does a UI designer do?
A UI designer creates the User Interface of a website or application based on the functional requirements and the desired User Experience. To achieve this, it is based on standards of design, aesthetics, and learned behavior from the user. These, thus, allow an easy to understand and fluid interaction with the graphical interface.
The User Interface Designer has several tools and design elements, such as typography, visual hierarchy, grids, and, of course, colors to generate this positive interaction. But before we delve into this, let’s clear up one of the most important questions.
UX and UI designs: What are the differences?
User Experience and User Interface designs are related and are often combined in the same workspace within companies. They overlap but have different goals. While user experience designers focus on User Experience, UI designer focuses on User Interaction with visual elements and product suggestions.
Let’s take the design of a car as an example:
The UX designer has to make sure that the entire driving experience offers the user a positive and logical experience. That is, actions such as looking, sitting, driving, and parking will be intuitive and entertaining actions.
The user experience designer, however, ensures that the interaction between the driver (user) and the system is simple. He ensures that the different functionalities do not hinder each other, “make it nice”, etc.
Therefore, to achieve a good result, both are necessary, and companies know this. That is why the UI (User Interface) designer must strive to understand and shape the entire part of UX (User Experience).
What characterizes a good UI designer?
The requirements to be a good UI designer are not only professional. The following characteristics illustrate what matters in the profession and will help you understand if it is an option for you.
- Willingness to learn
In an area as broad as UI design, continuous learning and further education should be on your agenda. Learnability is more important throughout a UI designer career than any other particular technical skill or tool.
- Empathy towards the user
The goal of a UI designer is to know the needs of users when using a product or service. Therefore, the UI designer represents the user by talking about needs that his team may have overlooked.
- Analytical thinking
He needs to justify design decisions based on best practices and data. This requires not only an affinity for data-driven and metric-driven design but also the ability to draw conclusions and ideas for improvement from qualitative user feedback.
- Solution-Oriented Thinking
A good UI designer must think of solutions that creatively align user requirements with business goals. He is responsible for offering a good solution to a design problem, identify the type of use and the context, taking into account technical restrictions.
- Attention to detail
Details are key, as they are often what determines whether a user stays on your website or app. Paying attention to detail can significantly minimize the risk of serious application errors and therefore help you work more efficiently.
Do you feel identified with these characteristics? Perfect! Then nothing will stand in your way to a good career as a UI designer. But is this career path worth it financially as well?
How much do UI designers make?
How much a UI designer earn will depend on the location, the experience, and the company. The average pay for UI designers is $85,277, according to Glassdoor. The lowest pay is estimated at around $59,000 while the highest earners can see around $128,000.
Below is a list of what top companies pay on average.
- IBM – $85,410/yr (Range: $79K to $103K)
- Verizon – $95,461/yr (Range: $69K to $115K)
- Capital One – $82,782/yr (Range: $77K to $128K)
- Ciber – $83,191/yr (Range: $82K to $94K)
- Zynga – $96,201/yr (Range: $73K to $136K)
- Nuance – $91,562/yr (Range: $88K to $97K)
- Cognizant Technology Solutions – $88,460/yr (Range: $75K to $97K)
- Amazon – $120,577/yr (Range: $88K to $141K
- AT&T – $91,827/yr (Range: $77K to $100K)
How to start your career as a UI designer
Interest in training as a UI designer or in finding jobs with this profile has increased dramatically in recent months. Most of those interested are graduates of technical studies, as well as graphic designers interested in changing their careers. They are also creatives from the advertising industry. However, the market’s demand for UI designers has also grown.
However, if you’d like to venture into this sector with no experience, it’ll be much more difficult for you to enter. Even companies desperately looking for UI designers opt for candidates with the right technical knowledge and a good portfolio. So, here are tips.
1. Reading and learning
Gather detailed information about what UI design is. Connect with industry experts and professionals through LinkedIn. Listen to related podcasts, and most importantly, read, read, and read!
- About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design: This book provides powerful and practical tools for designing great desktop apps, websites, and mobile apps. The authors’ design method, specifically aimed at achieving objectives, ranges from the investigation of user behavior to the application of navigation solutions based on certain profiles and scenarios.
- UI is Communication: This book reveals many secrets to good UI design and helps you make better design decisions beyond your personal preferences. What more could you want?
- The Design of Everyday Things: What would a design guide be without Don Norman? He is considered the founder of the term User Experience Design. His book is a classic and deals with the question of the useful design of everyday things.
2. Know the most important tools
In recent years, the combination of Sketch and InVision has been a very popular choice for many UI designers. But other tools also offer good features and options. The selection of prototyping and wireframe tools is better and wider than ever, so we’ve looked at the best in detail.
- Balsamiq: Do you want to develop structures and designs for your projects? The drag-and-drop elements on Balsamiq make it possible and make things much easier.
- Axure: Axure has always been one of the best wireframing tools on the market and is ideal for more complex projects that require dynamic data. Compared to Balsamiq, it offers more possibilities in terms of information structure and the preparation of large data sets.
- InVision: It is by far the most popular prototype tool in the world. On the project management page of InVision, you can organize components of design via the workflow status. You can set columns for certain tasks. You can drag the design components and drop them into the appropriate column. It works with a wide variety of formats, including JPG, AI, GIF, PNG, and PSD.
- Sketch: Sketch is similar to Photoshop, but it includes some useful unique features. You can easily adapt Sketch’s vector shapes to dynamic styles, designs, and sizes, saving many tedious adjustments that would otherwise have to be done manually.
- Figma: The Figma platform is the collaborative design tool par excellence and ideal for projects where developers, writers, and designers work in parallel. Also, Figma offers you all the functionalities of wireframing, prototyping, and UI and UX design. No need to install it. It runs through the browser and automatically stores everything in the cloud.
- Zeplin: Zeplin ensures a smooth transition from prototyping to digital product development. It lets you load designs from Sketch, XD, Photoshop, and Figma files and pass them directly to production. This ensures that the design can be implemented very well and saves time and effort.
Learning UI and UX design can be relatively hard for starters. But the good thing is that you can be self-taught and the profession is in demand. Learning it is not very difficult and some tools can make the learning stage faster and easier.
Obviously, this knowledge only settles by practicing. By fighting with the paper and then the software, you will develop ideas, you will learn your techniques and you will become the designer you want to be.
If you don’t have clients, invent your projects, take something you are passionate about; a hobby, a series, whatever, and develop your website. A good start is to subscribe to DailyUi, where they email you one challenge per day that you must solve. We also recommend CollectUI. Here, you can find designs of other more experienced designers, from which you can take inspiration.