We aim to assist anyone, anywhere, regardless of age, location,…
In Visual Design, you can easily get lost in the variety of possibilities. When it comes to choosing the area you want to specialize in, it’s all up to your imagination. UI, UX, product design, graphic design, interaction design, animation design, packaging design, editorial design and so on. You can cultivate and nurture your knowledge in any direction you want. If you feel uncertain about this being the right path for you, we’ll bring you closer to what UI/UX design means.
Table of Contents
What’s the difference between UI and UX design?
Where does UX end and UI begin? Well, in a nutshell, UX has everything to do with the end-user’s interaction with the product, the overall feel of the product (purpose and functionality of the product, usability, user research, content strategy, project management, and analysis), while UI is about the graphic interaction the end-user has with the product, how the product is laid out. It’s the artistic element since it’s all about aesthetics (it’s what the end-user sees, hears, and feels through the design of the product). The UX designer is responsible for the product’s logical flow, step by step – focusing on the user’s needs and emotions, while the UI designer makes sure that the UI visually communicates the path that the UX designer has shaped – creating the visual journey. It’s like climbing a mountain. The map which guides you on the path to the peak is the UX and the landscape around you is the UI. If the scenery doesn’t reflect the map you are following, you know that your UI needs serious adjustments.
Basically, UX is about features, UI is about graphic details. As Nick Babich says, “features are what draws people to your product. Details are what keeps them there. The best products do these 2 things well.” That’s why companies are starting to favor graphic designers with both UI and UX knowledge under their design belts.
So, where to start?
Begin with UI principles. Even from the start, some basic design knowledge is required. We’ll explain some of them below.
The user should always feel confident and well-informed. There are some things that have to be clear to the user, such as – what just happened, where the user is, what the user can do, and what’s gonna happen if the user does this or that.
A flexible design is one that looks good in any situation. The use of simple responsive layouts, bulletproof typography – black on white, large, and readable – and design for all resolutions definitely brings flexibility.
Users love simple and familiar things, as we all do. That means you’re allowed to use common solutions, conventional layouts. Of course, as a designer, you might want to design something memorable, but there’s no need to turn it into a puzzle.
The user’s effort has to be minimal. Think of streamlining every path the user can take, having in mind that the user has to complete tasks in the most efficient way.
Through consistency we reach familiarity. This is the way the user starts to feel familiar about particular things, even if they were unknown before. You can bring consistency through a strong visual hierarchy, alignment, consistent color scheme, navigation, etc.
Now, there’s much more to learn. Things like the psychology of colors, balance, contrast, typography, aesthetics, and so on. Here’s a list of the most acknowledged and recommended books that could get you more in the subject.
- About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design – Alan Cooper
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People – Susan Weinschenk
- Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work – Indi Young
- The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman
- Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug
- Evil by Design – Chris Nodder
- UI is Communication – Everett N McKay
- Designing with the Mind in Mind – Jeff Johnson
Is there a magical creative flow?
Yup, you could say so. Let’s think about the point where you start designing. You get a brief, you understand the brief through the user’s perspective, you try to find ideas in your head, then you scout around for ideas. Your head becomes crowded so you start putting your ideas on paper. It’s time to be creative and also organized. Experiment and implement, combine fantasy with reality. This creative process keeps going and going until you have the amazing result you hoped for. Pretty cool, right? 😎
Looking for a secret to evolve?
There’s no secret here. Just think of learning as of an ongoing process. It helps a lot to continuously educate your eye and your mind. So we suggest you look for inspiration and read lots of articles. Check out some of our favorite sources in the list below. It might come in handy at times 🙂
Feel like you’re drowning in a pool of tools?
As a software designer, you have more tools available than ever before. But there’s no need to know them all. The best way to get better in visual design is to choose your favorite tools and stay updated with the newest features and trends. Here are the most popular tools in the UI/UX world.
Sketch – interface design
Adobe Suite – interface design and prototyping
Figma – collaborative interface design
Balsamiq – low fidelity wireframing
Marvel App – interactive mockups
InVision – prototype and collaborate
Change of heart?
If somewhere along the way you feel this might not be your calling, there is also the possibility to deflect from the course, completely change your career and jump into an unexpected profession of graphic design, such as fashion design, game design or even teaching or pattern design. Maybe you didn’t consider this at all. We’re here to help. 😛
Create your Digitaljob profile and subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll send you cool stuff to help you decide and stay on top of Visual Design career trends. And that’s not all! Time is everything these days, so you’ll receive only career opportunities that match your career level and goals. Let’s do this, go big in digital! We’ve got your back 🙂
Searching for UI/UX Design jobs? Start with Digitaljob’s graphic design opportunities.