UI Designer

Must have skills for a career in UI design

10 must have designer skill
Written by Mallikarjuna
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ever since the inception of GUI (graphical user interface), there has been a demand for UI designers who design user interfaces. A career as a UI designer is challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Continue reading if you are one among many who is perhaps considering a career in UI.

You might have google searched about ‘UI design’ by now, and we can say that you are more confused now than before! The confusion is that – UI is always linked to UX, and sometimes both are used interchangeably.

Are UI and UX the same thing?

Short answer: No, they are not. 

So, what is the difference, you ask? 

We will get to the differences later, but first, let us understand what UI and UX are.

UI/UX refers to the User Interface and User Experience. Though both are user-centric, they are different from each other. UX and UI differ in their core roles and responsibilities with some overlapping. However, the UI/UX designer skills vary with some exceptions.

What is the difference between a User Interface and User Experience?

UI – It is a point of interaction between the user and the machine. For example, the touchscreen is the UI in a smartphone. 

UX – It is the experience of the users concerning the interface of the product. Don Norman, the cognitive scientist who coined the term ‘User Experience,’ describes it as something that – encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

Let us now move on to what UI design is and what skills are needed to become a UI designer:

What is a UI design?

User Interface designing or user interface engineering is all about designing user interfaces for software and machines. UI design of an app is all about the app’s interactivity, look, and feel. 

The focus of UI design

The main focus of UI design is the visual experience of a product – be it an app, website, or video game. The interface design must remain as intuitive as possible. Remember the visual aspects – icons, images, buttons, layout, Spacing, color schemes, and responsive design when you think of UI.

Not just the visual aspect, but UI concentrates on the human aspect as well. Consider a scenario where you are going to design an app that lists the properties to buy. As a designer, think in the user’s shoes and anticipate what they are looking for.

A good designer works on making the app simple for the user. A first-rate app is easy on the eyes and lets the user navigate A to B naturally, without any hassle. 

Pro Tip – Remember the keyword ‘Intuitive’ when designing an interface. Make use of spacing, pattern, and color to guide the user. 

UI designer skills

Learning UI designer skills is about gaining technical skills and working on soft skills to thrive in your team and carrying out your responsibilities smoothly. 

  1. Wireframing and Prototyping: A wireframe is a website layout that shows what interface elements must exist on critical pages. Wireframing implies designing websites at a structural level.

Prototyping refers to the initial stage of design where designers implement and test their design. Some of the tools that help with the above tasks are InVision, Marvel, Sketch, and Adobe XD.

  1. Responsive design: The interface of an app or a website is good if it is adaptive and looks great on all screens. So as a web designer you must learn it.
  1. Visual branding skills: Visual aspects form the core of interface; therefore, understanding color theory, typography, icon design, button design, and others are essential.
  1. Interaction design skills: The interface must have seamless user flow. Be interactive and aesthetically pleasing. Earning intuitive design skills leads to developing a user-friendly interface.
  1. Coding skills: UI/UX designer skills do not require hardcore coding skills. However, it is good to know about markup languages such as HTML. Also, learning CSS (Cascading style sheets) has its own merits.
  1. Design and Animation: Web designers must have a solid understanding of fundamental theories, methods, and practices, and knowledge of animation.
  1. Communication: As a UI designer, you will need to communicate with web developers to explain and sometimes justify your design. And this happens with proper communication skills.
  1. Collaboration: You must collaborate with your teammates at every level. There would be stakeholders, clients, web developers, and UX designers to communicate and collaborate.
  1. Empathy & Flexibility: A good UI/UX designer designs the interface by walking through the user’s shoes keeping aside personal ego and bias. Being flexible and willing to listen to user’s requirements can help to design better.
  1. Curiosity: Stay curious about users. Your job is not limited to interface designing alone. Go that extra mile and be curious about the user’s pain points.

These are some of the UI designer skills that a hiring manager will look for. Learn these if you are serious about having a career in UI designing. Understand how people work, what makes them tick, how a visual element shapes their experience to design a user-friendly interface. 

A quick look at the difference between UI and UX

User ExperienceUser Interface
It is not specific and can be applied to any product or serviceIt is specific to digital products
It is about identifying and solving the users’ problemIt is about designing intuitive and interactive interfaces
UX designing comes first in the product designing processUI designing follows UX design

To sum it up

  1. UI design is a digital practice, unlike UX design.
  2. UI design aims to create an intuitive and visually appealing interface using visual elements like – icons, buttons, Spacing, color schemes, typography, and responsive design.
  3. UI is different from UX on many levels. However, both UI and UX focus on the user and strive to be user-friendly. 

What does a User Interface designer do?

The primary role of an interface designer is to work on the look and feel of the product/ interface and design an intuitive and responsive interface.

Some essential tasks in UI designing:

  • Customer analysis
  • Design research and graphic development
  • Designing icons, buttons, and animations
  • The color palette and typography selection
  • Creating a visual style guide
  • Creating wireframes and prototypes
  • Collaborating with UX designers and developers

The role of UI is crucial to any digital interface, and as an interactive designer, you have the responsibility to uphold the brand image through the product design.

What is the salary of a UI designer?

Salary depends on factors like – location, industry, experience, project/product type. On average, both UI and UX jobs have similar salary ranges. However, car companies and medical equipment manufacturers may offer more profitable opportunities than tech industries like mobile fields. 

According to the salary estimation done by Glassdoor, the UX/UI employee can expect a salary between $66K (lowest possible wage) and $130K (highest potential salary) annually. At the same time, the average base pay is estimated to be $90K – $93K.

The above estimation does not include freelance earnings. An entry-level employee will have less salary compared to a mid-level employee. The wages given here are just a calculation, and the actual salary will depend on the factors mentioned above.

Final words

We now believe that you know the difference between UI and UX and the skills needed to become a UI designer. You now know what an interface designer does and how much a UI designing job pays. We hope you are clear about UI and can now pursue a career in UI design with these insights. All the best! We hope you have a spectacular job.

About the author

Mallikarjuna

Mallikarjuna is a Search Engine Optimization specialist at 24Task, a leading online freelancing platform. Mallikarjuna is a search engine enthusiast and a specialist in Digital Marketing who has helped businesses reach their audience digitally through his expertise in Inbound Marketing Techniques.

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