LinkedIn ranked UX design as the fifth most in-demand skill in 2020. And it’s well-paying too — the average UX designer salary in India is about Rs. 900,000 per annum. Given the rapid internet and mobile penetration, the rise of home-grown Indian startups, and the accelerating interest of companies across industries in adopting future technologies, UX designer jobs are opening up everywhere. If design excites you and you want to make a career of it, here is how to become a UX designer.

How to Become a UX Designer?

One of the most common questions we get asked from the student community is this! We asked Springboard’s teachers and mentors their best advice on how to become a UX designer and here is what they had to say! 

#1 Understand what UX designers do

UX designers combine market research, product development, strategy, and design principles to create seamless user experiences for web/mobile products. We’ve deliberately kept the definition vast to include all possibilities. Depending on the size of the company, type of product etc., the exact day-to-day role might vary. 

  • Speak to UX designers in your network and ask about their work.
  • Look at job descriptions and identify what skills they possess.
  • Join UX designers communities on LinkedIn, Facebook etc., and observe what they discuss.

#2 How to Become a UX Designer: Learn UX principles

Once you know what a UX designer role might entail, next is to learn the basic principles. The key principles that Springboard experts recommend UX designers learn and follow are:

User centricity: The foremost focus of UX design is to keep the customer at the heart of the product. Any decision you make should be centered around what the customer wants and how you can improve their experience.

Hierarchy: UX design should ensure a customer’s smooth journey across the product. Information hierarchy plays a key role in achieving this. Learn to arrange information in a hierarchical manner, through menus, typography, visuals etc.

Consistency: Good user experience requires internal consistency. For example, if you have the ‘sign up’ button in red on one page and green on the other, the customer is bound to be confused. Learn to keep your design consistent, so the user can remember and take action easily.

Accessibility: Good UX design should remove obstacles for all types of users using the product. For example, having a read-aloud option on a website will help visually impaired users to experience your website. Learn about global accessibility standards and protocols.

Confirmation: Asking the user to confirm action is an important principle in UX design. For example, confirmation before delete gives the user another chance to reconsider his decision. Learn how to make confirmation a non-intrusive and effective UX.

#3 How to Become a UX Designer: Learn UX methods

Once you have the principles solid, learn the practice of UX design.

Research

  • User research: Understanding your user, their needs and prerogatives is fundamental to UX design. Learn how you can use methods like surveys, interviews, usability tests etc. to know your customer deeply.
  • Persona creation: Leverage customer personas and empathy maps to build a crystallized idea of your ideal user.

Design

  • Information architecture: Learn to organize content based on the importance of information for your customer persona. Also learn to balance this with the information that you need your customer to have.
  • Wireframing and storyboarding: Identify how you are going to present the information. This will play a central role in how your customer navigates through your application and takes action. 
  • Prototyping: Create prototypes for how the user will interact with your app, and how the app will respond. 

Testing

  • Learn the various kinds of testing such as moderating testing, unmoderated testing, card sorting etc. that you need to perform before you can take the application to users. 

#4 Explore structured learning options

In the era of the internet, you can self-learn absolutely anything. But that doesn’t make it the best way to learn. You might lose valuable time and energy in finding the right information, getting answers to your questions, receiving feedback for your projects etc. A good learning program must accelerate your learning and get you ready for a career in the field. For that, it needs to have:

  • Industry-ready course structure
  • Project-based hands-on learning
  • Closely knit community
  • Mentorship and coaching
  • Job support

#5 Put your learning to practice

Choose small apps and websites that already exist. Pick one that you think has the maximum potential for improvement and redesign it. Make sure you go through the entire process of research, design and testing. Repeat this until you feel comfortable and attempt redesigning more complex apps.

#6 Build a UX designer portfolio

If you’re just beginning a career as a UX designer, you might not have any work experience to show. It is here that a UX designer portfolio will help. Bring together your practice projects in one place. You can also volunteer for an NGO and redesign their UX, which you can show as real work experience. If you can, find a UX design internship too.

Make sure you have all your work presented well on sites like Dribble, Behance etc. along with the details of the project such as customer personas or any specific problem you were solving in case of a redesign.

#7 Network with the community

Start online on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora etc. Follow industry leaders, join groups and take part in conversations. Once you feel comfortable, find local design communities in your city and join them. You can also look for design events and participate in them. 

UX designer jobs are plenty and companies are always looking for great talent. Springboard’s experts strongly believe that becoming a UX designer is one-part learning, one-part practice and one-part mentorship and support. So, we’ve built the UX design online learning 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.