The Day-to-Day as a UI Designer
UI stands for user interface. User Interface Designers build interfaces for the web, applications, and computerized devices. They typically focus on the visual and functional aspects of the application to provide users with easy and enjoyable experiences. Some user interface designers also work on voice-controlled or gesture-based interfaces. UI Designers often work alongside User Experience (UX) Designers, Developers, Project Managers, Product Managers, and clients when designing the interface of a product or service. and clients, use UX research and wireframes as compositions for their work, design each piece of the product, and work through multiple stages of prototypes.
UI Designers work in many industries from corporate retail to tech startups. They usually work onsite but can also find remote opportunities. They usually work a 40-hour week but might work overtime during certain phases of a project. UI Designers will mock-up designs for industry-standard apps using design software, conduct research and interviews, meet with their teammates, iterate on designs, and conduct A/B testing.
What Skills Should UI Designers Have?
UI Designers must be good, empathetic communicators in order to do their job well. Other soft skills UI Designers will find necessary are persuasion and social proofing, customer service, and teamwork. For the most part, UI designers won’t need to be proficient coders but they will need to be able to communicate their technical needs to developers. They’ll also need to be proficient in Invision, Photoshop, Axure, Sketch, and Illustrator, though the choice of which software to use might depend on the individual Designer or employer.
Above all else, UI Designers need to have a grasp on design and design theory. This includes branding, visual design, color, typography, layouts, research, interactivity, and some animation. Some UI Designers might specialize in mobile applications, specific tech stacks (programming language and tool combinations), or industries. All UI Designers must understand empathetic and accessible design concepts to serve their user-base properly.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a UI Designer
Graphic design is the creation of visual content to communicate a message. Graphic design uses visual hierarchy, typography, photo editing, spacial awareness, empathy, color theory, and more to create visually appealing and communicative images. Graphic design can be done with software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, Figma, and Sketch.
Visual design is a set of strategic best practices used to improve a design or product's aesthetic appeal and usability through the selection of appropriate images, typography, use of space, hierarchy, color, and layout.
Sketch is a design platform used to create, share, and collaborate prototypes and wireframes.
HTML & CSS
HTML is Hypertext Markup Language and CSS is Cascading Style Sheets. HTML is used to create web page structure and text while CSS is used to style the structure and text visually. HTML can be used to create objects like sections, menus, and functions within a webpage. CSS is used to select those objects and style them with fonts, colors, layout, and more to make the webpage visually appealing.
Illustrator is a computer program for design developed by Adobe. Illustrator is used by designers to create and edit vector graphics. It can be used for print, web, applications, videos, animations, and more.
UI Designer Salaries
A UI Designer in the United States makes, on average, $89,632 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for UI Designers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some UI Designer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $89K source n/a
New York City
Orange County, CA
- U.S. Average $89K source n/a
Los Angeles, CA
Typical Qualifications to Become a UI Designer
You do not need a higher education degree to become a UI Designer. Some UI Designers do have a bachelor’s degree in a design or marketing related capacity. UI is a nascent career field and formal requirements are virtually nonexistent as long as proficiency in the necessary skills are demonstrated. There are no industry standard certifications for this role, but some online courses and bootcamps will award completion certificates which can help freelance and startup UI Designers establish trust among their clients.
Searching for UI Designer Jobs
UI Designers work in a variety of environments including corporate companies, startups, freelance, contract, or for a government entity. They can find jobs in nearly any industry in freelance or full-time capacities both onsite and remotely.
User Interface Designers can find jobs on these sites:
- Google Jobs
- Authentic Jobs
- AIGA Design Jobs
- Dsgn Jbs
- Designer Startup Jobs
You can find freelance, contract, or remote UI Designer jobs on these sites:
Tips to Become a UI Designer
Inexperienced UI Designers should start with looking for Junior roles. Rising through the ranks as a UI Designer won’t take very long, though, because the demand for UI Designers outweighs the supply of UI Design talent.
UI Designers should have a well-rounded portfolio that showcases their work with designing interfaces. A good portfolio might include case studies that show the process of designing user interfaces from start to finish, articulate the process and reasoning behind building a single aspect of the interface, or an interactive and complete minimum viable product (MVP). Posting these portfolio examples on a cleanly designed blog is common practice so that potential employers can view your work.
UI Designers should also be networking and job hunting on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date, including all past experience even in unrelated fields, and include keywords relating to UI Designer skills and responsibilities. It should also show and tell how your past experiences offer transferable value to your position as a UI Designer. You can use the LinkedIn job search engine to find jobs to apply to and to find out if you have any connections that work at that organization.
To get a leg up, try to connect with a point person with a letter of introduction at each company you send an application to, whether you applied via LinkedIn or not. This will provide you name recognition and sometimes first-hand advice. You should also make these connections with people who might be your manager at any company you would like to work for regardless of whether they have posted job openings. These connections will also help freelance Designers grow their client base.
What Job Titles Would a UI Designer Hold?
UI Designers can apply for positions in many industries which may be narrowed down based on location, company size, and niche. UI Designers will likely begin with entry-level, junior, or startup positions but will find that rising the ranks to a senior position at a larger company or going freelance is possible relatively quickly and will result in a much higher annual salary.
UI Designers can look for these job titles:
- UI Designer
- Interaction Designer
- Visual Designer
- UI/UX Designer
- UI Architect
- UI Engineer
- UI Developer
- Product Designer
Additional UI Designer Resources
- UI Designer Job Description
- What Software Do UI Designers Use?
- Best Cities for UI Designers
- Is UI Design a Good Career?
- Is UI Design Right For Me?
- What Degree Do You Need to Become a UI Designer?
- UI Designer Career Path
- UI Designer Certifications
- How to Become a UI Designer Without a Degree
- How to Become a Freelance UI Designer
- How to Become a UI Designer in 3 Months
- UI Designer Interview Questions
- UI Designer Resume Guide & Tips
- UI Designer Cover Letter
- UI Designer LinkedIn Profile Guide & Tips
- Where and How to Secure UI Designer Freelance Jobs
- UI Designer Portfolio Website Guide & Tips
- UI Designer Job Outlook
Salary Comparison to UI Designer
Visual designers focus on what users see on their screens—banners, menus, graphics, navigation, and more. They use their knowledge of best practices to design digital elements such as page designs, banner ads, icons, and overlays. Working for platforms such as websites, apps, movies, games, and wearables, visual designers strive to provide beautiful user interface. Visual designers often work with software such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop, and more.Learn about becoming a Visual Designer
User Experience Designer
User experience (UX) designers are responsible for ensuring that digital products offer a seamless user experience, through prototyping, user research, and user testing. They will test the navigation and functionality of websites, apps, and more. UX designers must stay current on design trends to ensure ongoing adherence to best practices. They will also conduct ongoing user research to understand the habits and needs of users.Learn about becoming a User Experience Designer
Web designers design the appearance and workings of a website. They use their understanding of both visual design and technical design principles to create functional web layouts. Some web designers work from home and enjoy the flexibility of freelance work, while others work for agencies or businesses. Good web designers have the experience and foresight to anticipate the end-user experience and design for ease of use and navigation.Learn about becoming a Web Designer
Graphic designers work with both digital and physical media to create art that communicates and inspires. Using graphics, text, colors, and animations, graphics designers develop media assets for branding, advertising, and messaging. Graphics designers can work for agencies or themselves. They create a wide variety of design elements, such as brochures, infographics, marketing material layouts, and design elements for print, video, or web use.Learn about becoming a Graphic Designer