The vast and ever-growing digital industry comprises of a whole lot of disciplines which over the years have been a great source of employment opportunities to millennials. One of these disciplines without which the digital ecosystem will be incomplete is UI/UX design.
Have you ever wondered why it’s always UI/UX and never written separately? Do you have a flair for design but do not know how to venture into UI/UX?
If Yes, then this article is for you. You will learn the concept behind UI/UX and the things to know before you kickstart a career in UI/UX design.
Every techpreneur or business owner is after one purpose and one purpose only; To provide or at least be perceived to provide the best possible solution to their customers whenever and however they choose to interact with their product or business at any point in time.
With more businesses including the digital strategy in their marketing effort, it is pertinent to ensure that their images online offer a great experience that will not only convert a visitor to a buyer but also make him a continuous buyer and business advocate. This exactly is where UI/UX comes in.
UI – User Interface is mainly about the design, look and feel of an idea while
UX – User Experience which is more of an architectural process, covers the feelings and thoughts of users when they use their product.
A familiar way to put it is the diverse processes involved in building a house. Starting with the architect who designs the wireframe of how many doors, windows, and rooms as well as how they are all linked together. It would be abnormal for him to link the garage to the kitchen.
He thinks of the necessities in the garage, like a carved-out corner where car parts can be kept. Or how a restroom for first-time visitors should be accessible from the sitting room.
He makes life easier for prospective occupants such that they have their desired privacy as well as live comfortably. Think about the idea of a restroom in each bedroom. Awesome right? That is the work of the UX designer. I trust the picture is getting clearer. Read on.
As for the UI. Once the work of the architect is done, the finished document is passed to the engineer who will contract the best professionals to bring that awesome idea to reality. They start by laying foundations, decking, and roofing as directed by the plan provided by the architect.
Eventually, it gets to the painter who gives the building befitting colours. The importance of colour and external designed cannot be overemphasized because it tells the first-timer about the quality of work and expertise put into building the house. Got the picture?
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the things you should know before kickstarting a career in UI/UX design. This article is a product of thoughts gathered from several UI/UX design professionals who shared their experiences over the years.
The following factors were gathered from their contributions.
1. Personal career conviction
Does this point being the top of the list communicate anything to you? You’re right! It is important that you know your why. Knowing and being sure that it is what you want to do because to be great at anything, most especially UI/UX, you need to be dedicated to developing yourself as it requires lots of personal practice.
Most of the UI/UX professionals I interviewed affirmed that they have gotten so good at what they do because they were able to induce it into their lifestyle. In other words, their passion for the art has helped them to remain at the top of their game.
Tenacity is one of the important soft skills you need to have a stand in the digital world, think of the guys that invented most of the gadgets which make life easier today. Without tenacity and persistence, we would not know about them and life as we know it may have been easier.
Design is not inborn. No one inherits the ability to design genetically. A designer needs applications and tools without which he will not be able to make anything.
These applications and tools are taught which means anyone can learn their functions and become a designer. Most times, what differentiates a great designer from a good one is the way they approach and solve problems – creativity.
One way to examine yourself is trying to tell a good design from bad ones in terms of color, shape, size, and arrangement. According to studies, having an eye for good designs is an advantage as you will be able to correct yourself after every work before the presentation.
This should not discourage you because you are bound to have a better understanding by the time you start designing. This is because added to your knowledge of the rudiments, you will have a better position to think creatively as regards UI/UX.
Whether you choose to work in a company or you prefer to be a freelance designer, you need to be able to communicate and work collectively with people. Working in a company will require you to work with people from other departments to work on projects together and your ability to understand people and view things from their perspectives will help you thrive as a UI/UX designer.
As a freelancer, you will need to interact with your clients as well as network with other professionals to get exposed to more opportunities and be aware of updates in the process.
4. Expect criticism
For you to grow as a UI/UX designer, you must be open to feedback; good or bad. You must also be willing and able to adjust accordingly.
One of the UI/UX experts I spoke to narrated how almost all of his first set of designs had negative feedback from clients and employers but his passion and tenacity kept him going and now, he can go a year without having to redesign any project.
The key point is that you should leverage on feedbacks to develop yourself and get better at your designs. Eventually, what you think will not fly with the client will surprisingly blow them away. This is a usual experience for most UI/UX designers.
5. Research is an ongoing process
One of the expert’s answers to my questions got me amazed. I asked “how long it took to learn UI/UX” and he replied by saying “I’m still learning it”. This particular guy has been a designer for about 5 years and counting and he is still learning? Wow!
He went further by saying that as far as UI/UX is concerned, there is no such thing as I’ve learned it all because you learn by doing. He added that to date, he still finds time to replicate some designs he feels are awesome as well as design fake projects just for the sake of practice.
He added that Working on fake projects is actually a way for a beginner to start since no one would want to give a contract to someone without a portfolio.
UI/UX design is one of the most promising careers you can pursue in the digital world and with all the views and experiences of experts shared above, I believe you are no longer in the dark as to what to expect when you choose UI/UX design as a career.
However, you need to start for you to get ahead and the best time to start is now!
You can enroll for our UI/UX Design training today to kickstart your career with unlimited opportunities.