UI (User Interface) design looks at how users interact with products and figures out how to make those interactions the most successful they can be. UI Designers focus on the aesthetics and function of the product. UI design is heavily visual and in terms of digital products, it is concerned with how a website or mobile app looks.
What Do UI Designers Do?
UI Designers create the overall experience of using a product. They focus primarily on the visual portion of the product and how the user interacts with it. UI Designers often have backgrounds in art or graphic design and part of their job is to create or uphold the language of the design. This is the visual consistency across products or within one example. For instance, the different pages of a website should look similar and have buttons and drop-down menus in the same locations.
Because UI design is so visual, designers are concerned with subjects like typography, colors, style and branding, spacing, boldness, the number of items on a screen, icons or images that are part of the design. Successful user interfaces are predictable, simple and obvious to use, and forgivable, that is when users make a mistake, it is easy to see how to get back on track.
The UI Design Process
While UX Designers work with people quite a bit, UI Designers are more on their own. UI Designers focus on the visual aspect (so how the website or app looks) and if it does what it is supposed to. The UX Designer hands off the blueprint for the product to the UI Designer who is responsible for the final outcome of the product. They use software applications to create websites and applications that are at least easy to use and at best fun. build different levels of prototypes and test them to see how successful they are. The UI Designer is ultimately responsible for upholding the company brand in the design.
Qualities of UI Designers
Qualities that successful UI Designers share are curiosity and a love of figuring things out. You also need to be a good communicator and a careful listener because UI Designers often work as part of a team. Empathy is an important quality for UI Designers because you need to be able to understand how the user feels and what they want. UI Designers also need to be analytical problem solvers and able to stick with a problem until they find a solution.
Some abilities that UI Designers need are a knowledge of graphic design and typography, as well as knowing how to create wireframes and prototypes. An understanding of interactive design, branding, and color theory is also necessary.
What Apps and Tools Do UX Designers Use?
UI Designers use different types of software in their work. These tools allow them to design mobile apps and websites often without having to do any coding. Some of the most common are listed below.
Adobe XD is a design tool based on vector graphics that allows you to create digital designs for everything from mobile apps to websites. XD is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and works well with other CC apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate. There are many repeating features that make your workflow move faster, and XD also includes collaboration features that make it easy to share and test prototypes. You can run XD on both macOS and Windows.
Sketch is a Mac application that doesn’t work on Windows. You can use vector editing tools or design at the pixel level. It allows you to scale to any screen size and speed up your workflow with mathematical shortcuts. As with XD, there are repeatable components and you can organize your design so everything is easy to find. Sketch recently added real-time collaboration, so now it is easier for a team to work together, and you can also create libraries of the elements the team is using. There are also many plugins available to customize your workspace.
InVision works to support the design process from brainstorming and collaborating with Freehand, or prototyping with Cloud, or designing with Studio. You can create design libraries for the team. InVision works on the web, android phones, and on iPhones.
Figma is another design application. It includes FigJam which provides an online whiteboard for collaboration to let your design team plan, define, and workshop together. You can use the pen tool for vector graphics or plugins like an instant arc design. Auto Layout moves and stretches items automatically, and Figma makes the work move along efficiently. Figma runs on a browser so it will work with macOS, Windows, or Linux systems.
How to Learn UI Design
If you would like to learn how to use software like Adobe XD in order to switch to a career in UX or UI design, one of the best ways to do that is to sign up for classes. You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn XD, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.
The best way to prepare for a career shift to a field like UX or UI design is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run from a few weeks to a few months and will cover motion graphics and animation in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality sample video portfolio that you can show to prospective employers.
It’s easy to take UX design classes and start a new career. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online UX design courses and attend from anywhere. Find UX bootcamps in your area and get started in a new direction today.