User Interface (UI) designer role is responsible for the visual aesthetics, interactive design and theme of the website/blog/product of the organisation. A search for “UI designer” on Google will display results for both the UI/UX designer, thereby creating confusion and making it difficult to understand the exact difference between the two. In a nutshell, UI design is a subset of UX, and UI design communicates the path laid out by the designer. While both are focused on creating the best user experience of the product, UI designers are very specific about how the product is laid out. The UI designer focuses on the visual experience of the product and also help users to reach from point A to point B in the user journey with the help of clickable buttons or gestures, designing graphic user interface (GUI) elements such as menus, tabs and widgets. The UI designer is responsible to choose the font, colour palette and appeal of the product/app/website. In this blog, let’s find out how to become a UI Designer.
How to Become a UI Designer?
Every person will have different ways to become a UI designer. Here are a few tips and practical advice from Springboard’s design experts and mentors on how to get that dream job of a UI designer
1. How to Become a UI Designer: Learn the Basic Design Principles
The first step towards the UI designer role is to familiarise yourself with the design principles. The core principles of UI design are –
- User should be able to interact easily with the product
- Make sure the UI elements are consistent
- Users should be in control of the interface at any point in time
- Don’t make users spend a lot of time to use/understand the product
By adhering to these design principles, it will help increase your “creativity” and also help you look at the design from an angle where it will be a success or a failure. You must understand the principles of using the right colour, contrast, choosing the correct fonts and maintaining consistency throughout. One of the best ways to learn the design principles is by performing A/B testing. By performing this, every UI will get better with UI changes. For example, in one version of the landing page, you can display the checkout button at the bottom, while in another, you can place the button at the top with a different colour theme. In the end, you can analyse which one performs well and choose that for your website. You must also be aware of the design rules for different operating systems such as Windows, Android, iOS. This will be handy especially when you are designing a UI for a mobile application or a mobile responsive website.
2. Be Creative in your Designs
It’s just not enough if you can build a good UI design. You must be creative with the design and you need to have a good eye for detail. From looking at it, you must be able to identify if the UI is well designed or poorly designed. As a beginner, to build your creativity curve, try to get inspired by other UI designs that catch your eye and take a leaf out of their creations.
Here are some websites that can help you get started –
Say, you come across a design that catches your eye. Immediately, try to understand what makes that design stand out from the others. Is it the fonts or the colours or the design. Takedown notes of what impressed you. This way you always have ideas or samples that can become your best practices when working on real-time projects.
3. How to Become a UI Designer: Read up on UI Design
There are a countless number of articles floating on the internet on the UI design topic. Some of the blog sites where you can get quality content are
- Smashing Magazine
- UX Magazine
Did You Know? Springboard also publishes content specific to UI/UX design. Check out the content that will help you get started with your career.
4. Learn the Proper Tools
There are plenty of tools out there in the market. Make your choice and try to master what you pick. Remember to stay updated with the latest version updates and new features. For UI, the tools are divided into two types – visual designing tools and prototyping tools.
Visual designing tools help you to create wireframes of your UI concept ideas. Before even using a visual designing tool, draw the wireframe on a piece of paper. Later, you can convert this into a digital drawing using the tools. Some of the popular visual design tools are listed below.
After you’ve created the wireframes, the next step is to create the prototypes from the wireframe. You can use the Prototyping tools to prepare a draft version of the website/app that you can send to stakeholders for review. Most of the visual design tools also offer the prototyping option. Some of the other common tools are
Some of these listed tools offer tutorials to help you get started with the tools for visual designing and prototyping.
5. How to Become a UI Designer: Build your Portfolio
Make sure every sample website/app design that you create goes into your portfolio. Ensure that only the best of your UI designs make it to the portfolio. Remember that your portfolio is your resume! This will help you land either a full-time job or a freelance gig project. You can build your portfolio on websites such as Dribbble, Uxfol, TapChief, etc,
6. How to Become a UI Designer: Networking
Networking plays a vital role in connecting with like-minded people. Networking also helps to find a person who can be your mentor and guide you into the world of UI designing. Get feedback from your mentor or your network for the designs that you create. This will help you learn from their experience. Get yourself registered in local community meetup events which will help you to build your networking skills. Build a social media profile (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.,) and follow people who are already working in the industry as UI designers, join Slack channels as part of enhancing your knowledge and skill-set.
The key to being a successful designer is to never stop experimenting and trying out new things with your designs. If you are serious in considering a career as a UI designer, this is the time to get started. Thinking of how to proceed to the next step? Get started by registering for professional courses that will help you to build the required skill set. So, we’ve built the UI/UX design career track program to give our students a combination of theory, project-based learning, 1:1 mentoring and coaching along with a job guarantee. Check it out now.