Hey Eila! I remember you talking about how you are an UI/UX designer without having learned about anything like that in school. How did you get interested in this? And how did you learn more and get experience? Any good online resources to suggest?
How to Become a UX/UI Designer - A Comprehensive Guide
I’ll just do a comprehensive guide on this :D
Is UX/UI designing right for you?
You’ll love UX designing if
- You love analyzing & solving problems - UX designing = designing the most efficient and simplistic way to achieve business goals through a product. You must analyze:
- 1) The client’s business, their goals & vision
- 2) The target users’ behaviors & preferences
- 3) All possible flows that users may interact with your product (e.g. website, app) and achieve what you want them to achieve.
- Then, find the best
solution that translates into user flow charts and wireframes.
- You love psychology (cognition & behaviors) - As a UX designer, you need to understand different groups of users, the differences in their behaviors, and why they do those things.
- You love researching - It’s a huge advantage to know what competitors (of your clients) are doing and what worked for them, or recent trends among your target users, or what’s new in the design & tech world. These will help make design decisions.
- You are able to put functionality and efficiency first - Sometimes you must sacrifice beauty, but if it boosts sales by 20%, so be it.
- You are attentive to details - There are many more components to a website or app than what you’d usually see. You must think of all scenarios that can happen like error messages, forgot password popups, blank states, on-boarding, etc. You don’t want users to get stuck in limbo somewhere, become frustrated, and quit forever. This comes with experience and studying other people’s products.
You’ll love UI designing if
- You love to communicate (a clear message) visually - As a UI designer, you’re not just creating whatever you want that looks nice. Your job is to design the best way to visually communicate your client’s brand at first glance. Think of how you can translate these points into visuals:
- What are they trying to tell their customers?
- What kind of brand are they? Fun & young, sophisticated & classy, or formal & reliable?
- What is the most important call to action (in line with business goal)? Getting users to sign up, subscribe, buy something, or sign a petition?
- What distinguish them for their competitors?
- You love psychology (perception) - As a UI designer, your goal is to influence users to take the actions you want by using colors, typography, and layout. Understand what catches attention, how to direct the eyes to the most important part first, etc.
- Your workflow is consistent and systematic - A website/app should have a clear colors scheme with 1-3 fonts, not a big mess of 7 different greens in 12 fonts for no purpose. The same colors and styles should link the same things (e.g. everything related to signing up is orange). Planning what elements you will use and why from the beginning will save you a lot of time.
- You are adaptable - In the end, you are being paid by a client. You can make suggestions that you think is best, but sometimes it is the client’s final say, especially when it comes to visual style which depends on personal preferences.
Always a bonus
skills - You must be able to effectively communicate to your clients
why you make certain design decisions, and how they would help
improve their business.
- Basic coding skills - Knowing how to code allows to effectively communicate with developers and avoid impossible designs (i.e. designs that are impossible to code, or would take a way to long to do so). You should at least know how responsive design and bootstrap grid work.
- Networking skills - This is especially important if you’re a freelancer. One easy way to find work is networking at tech and startup events, as well as getting referred through connections.
- Sketch (design software) - The best thing that ever happened. Best UX/UI design software ever. It’s lightweight, simple, does everything you need, updates constantly, has TONS of open-source plugins that will save you a lot of time (unlike photoshop, illustrator, or any other design software, really). Links for essential plugins and a crap ton of templates to save your time.
- Zeplin (send designs to devs) - An app (& Sketch plugin) that transforms your designs into redlines & CSS automatically. Developers LOVE this thing.
- Invision (prototyping & sharing with clients) - Upload your designs & create a rough interactive prototype to share with clients or developers. Clients LOVE this. They recently added the exact same functions as Zeplin.
- Nounproject (icon library) - Free icons to use in your designs (non-commercially). Your clients can pay if they want to keep using them (pretty cheap).
- Simple Icons (logos) - Free .svg logos of companies (& social networks)
- Unsplash (stock photos) - Free beautiful stock photos for placeholders