It goes beyond aesthetics; this is how to communicate what a product does in a clear and clean manner, no user should in any way misconstrue what action to carry out on a digital platform.
So what is UI Design, you might ask?
Let’s spell out the acronym UI Design which stands for, USER INTERFACE DESIGN.
This set of designers is focused on the look and feel of a digital interface like Apps, Mobile devices, Car screens and any interface a user interacts with.
Explaining what UI Design is
In my previous article on What is design, I mentioned that Design is not art but a problem-solving skill but both can co-exist within a space, I still stand on that hill.
A lot of people have different ideas of what UI Design is but let’s chill for a moment and get a basic understanding.
UI design is a subset of graphic design, but with a whole different rule and law surrounding it, in order to put things in check so that as a designer, one doesn’t go overboard with how an interface should communicate to the user.
The interaction design foundation defines UI Design as “The process designers use to build interfaces in software or computerized devices, focusing on looks or style. Designers aim to create interfaces which users find easy to use and pleasurable. UI design refers to graphical user interfaces and other forms like sound design and interaction design”
What does it feel like working as a UI Designer?
Writing from the point of a person whose day-to-day role requires designing User Interfaces, I move rectangles from one point to the other till I feel comfortable that the angle in which it is placed is perfect, some other time I add colours, typography, Hierarchy, Consistency, while other times I scout for icon sets or design them from scratch, and other times I just decide I will design the illustrations from scratch and many times I manage the design system of an entire organization, lest I forget, I manage a team if badass UI designers, so I get to manage resources and do quality control across org.
These are basically how my day-to-day as a UI designer goes, trust me, it only started with me just wanting to do the right thing for the customers.
For some reason, it might differ from one person to the other, but basically, this is what it entails and if you want to be a good UI designer, you should be ready to wear many hats within an org or your team.
What are the skills required to be a UI Designer?
As a UI designer, you apply both Soft and hard skills to your everyday activities, this helps you scale products and people in an easy and efficient way.
Creativity and design skills
Attention to details
Creativity and design skills: Creating UI designs with attractive features, enticing visuals and responsive interface elements requires a flair for creativity. Your awareness of design elements like textures, colour gradients and font styles is essential to incorporate designs that support business objectives and also engage with website audiences. Many UI designers develop their creativity through practical experience, as continuous practice with artistic design and digital interfaces are crucial to advance in their careers.
Technical skills: Your technical skills and knowledge of computer software and platforms for design are necessary for creating and integrating UI strategies into websites and applications. Evaluating and improving on technical aspects of a design also depends on your aptitude in this skill set. Developing your technical skills also gives you a basis that can support learning how to use new programs you may need for future projects.
Industry Knowledge: Web development fields like UI and UX design often change rapidly, with continuous innovations and advancements. New tools, methods and trends are often ongoing developments in UI design, so it’s important to stay aware by building your industry knowledge. Specialized skills in design strategies, current applications and other resources provide the background you need to continue advancing in your career.
Attention to details: Planning, integrating and modifying UI systems depend on attention to detail. Your ability to identify and improve on small but important elements is crucial for ensuring quality in your designs. Your attention to detail also showcases the ability to evaluate and use important information to make decisions regarding project outcomes. Effective organizational and time management skills are also essential aspects of your attention to detail
Problem-solving skills: Troubleshooting and applying solutions to overcome challenges are aspects of a UI designer’s job that depend on effective problem-solving skills. Many UI designers apply their problem-solving skills in collaboration with colleagues and clients to achieve successful results. Additionally, many employers look for UI team members who understand how to work with others to resolve conflicts or disagreements.
Planning skills: Planning effectively is necessary when initiating and outlining new projects. Developing strategies, evaluating specifications and incorporating feedback for your UI designs are aspects of planning that can support your career success. Your planning skills can also demonstrate your ability to set goals and create action plans to achieve important objectives.
Teamwork skills: UI designers work with diverse individuals and often as part of web development and design teams. This means your teamwork skills are integral to success in a UI design role. Collaboration and teamwork skills are also essential for creating and improving outcomes that support business goals and user needs.
Communication skills: Effective communication is also necessary for UI design, as collaborating with team members requires the ability to give input, listen actively and convey information. Your writing skills are another aspect of communication that can be essential in your career as a UI designer. Sending emails, taking notes, documenting and recording design processes are several key processes that rely on strong written communication skills. Many UI designers also develop communication skills to support negotiation and evaluation techniques for contracting projects with clients and giving feedback on design quality and usability.
What are the tools required to be a UI Designer?
The tools are just one phase, the most important thing as a designer to know is the fundamental principles of good UI design, this would help you scale design fast.
· Adobe illustrator
· Adobe photoshop
· Adobe XD
UI designers are part of the bedrock of a great product team, their aim is to make an interface appealing and interesting enough for users to interact with for a long period of time. In as much as the hard skill is important, the soft skill makes the journey even more interesting.
See you in my next episode, I would be touching more on this topic
Hey, I am Chinedu a professional Product Designer with emphasis on User Research, Lean UX Design Methodology and continuous optimization of the design thinking process. I believe that Good design shouldn’t lose the human feel, good design should be usable & accessible, good design should be human-centred, and good design is simple yet powerful.