Businesses can achieve an impressive ROI by investing in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. Unsurprisingly, organizations are increasingly sourcing skilled UI UX designers to develop high-performing digital applications for a seamless user experience.
In this guide, we will dive deeper into what UX and UI are and share the various routes you can take to learn UX UI design, including UI UX bootcamps, the various steps in pursuing this field, and the chief skills that will make you a top UI UX designer.
What is UX?
User experience (UX) encompasses the totality of a user’s journey as they experience a product, website, mobile app, software, or service till they complete their task. It includes ease of use, navigation simplicity, content clarity, and visualization.
For example, a person notices a sponsored advertisement of a clothing merchant on social media. They click on it and are quickly directed to a visually appealing website where they can browse through the categorized collections. The text on the website, referred to as microcopy, is a part of UX because it defines how the user will feel while reading it and if it will motivate them to continue browsing because 86 percentof visitors prefer to read more about the products on its website before purchase.
The user journey ends when they successfully buy the items and receive the confirmation without a glitch.
Creating this entire user-centric journey while pinpointing the potential issues the user may encounter forms the UX design.
Also Read: The Importance of UI UX in Web Design
What is UI?
The user interface (UI) focuses on the application itself. UI deals with the various modes in which the user may interact with the application to enable a smooth and productive UX. The modes of interaction include both physical as well as virtual elements.
For example, a gaming company wants to launch a new game. The customers should be able to access the UI using a laptop, phone, and tablet. The UI will be designed to appear elegant across all screens. This is critical as 45 percent of customers like an application that displays its content uniformly on all devices.
The UI design includes the text, colors, structure, buttons, and physical interaction such as the touchscreen, joystick, mouse, and keyboard. The games may also have auditory elements such as game sounds and options to interact with other gamers.
Some UI types are graphical, command line, menu-driven, touch, voice, form-based, and natural language. Some examples of efficient UI designing are ATMs, display screens, computer mice, virtual reality, and speedometers.
How are UX and UI Design Related?
People often think of UI as a subset of UX or vice-versa. In reality, they are complementary. They must work cooperatively with a mutual feedback channel to ensure the maximum output.
A good UI design delivers a great UX, while a great UX design defines the path for the UI design. This is crucial as 94 percentof the first impressions of a website depend on its design.
Differences Between UX and UI Design
Despite their complementary relationship, there are particular distinctions between UX and UI designs. Here are some key differences you should know when exploring how to learn UI UX design.
|Deals with the overall feel of the product
|Deals with the visual and interactive components
|Involves the creation of wireframes and testable prototypes of the service flow of the application
|Involves the construction of the actual application with a focus on color scheme, typography, layouts, CTA buttons, sounds, animation, etc.
|Includes composition of microcopy to drive dispersion of suitable information and CTA elements
|Includes designing the microcopy’s text font, color, location, and display forms.
|Involves conducting user research to note the requirements of the user to ensure a smooth user journey
|Involves conducting competitor research to evaluate how the application looks and fares and what it needs to rank higher than competitor applications.
Also Read: UI/UX Design Trends for 2024
Should You Learn UI or UX First?
Generally, there is no consensus in the UI UX community regarding this point. In fact, the job descriptions use the terms in the job title ‘UI UX designer,’ and the requirements have elements of both.
In the overall design process, UX comes first. The UX designer will conduct the user research, narrow down the key issues and requirements, establish the user personas, and create the information architecture and wireframes.
The UI designer will then jump in to construct the actual application by utilizing the prototype designed by the UX designer. They will work on the nitty-gritty to create a visually appealing and information-rich application.
For example, you are tasked with creating a new website for a grocery store.
As a UX designer, you analyze what products and categories the store offers to create user personas. For example, a user persona of a baker is more likely to buy bread, eggs, and baking soda. So, you ensure that a user selecting baking soda will see a CTA to buy the other items. Next, you will deal with various payment gateways the user prefers, including UPIs, net banking, credit-debit cards, and wallets.
Finally, you will create a prototype and incorporate the microcopy. For example, Uber Eats’s food delivery app has CTA phrases such as ‘Enjoy 10 free deliveries’ or ‘Coffee as you like it’, accompanied by a discount.
Now, as a UI designer, you will decide the location and appearance of the products, microcopy, and interactive elements and finalize its display on all devices.
UX is a good start if you like conceptualizing user research and the overall user experience more than interface design. Else, UI designing is the way to go. However, most job descriptions require you to know about both.
How to Learn UI UX Design: Roadmap
Step 1: Get the proper education
In a survey by the Neilsen Norman group, almost 81 percent of the UX designers attested to possessing a degree, with nearly 35 percent having a UX-related degree. An undergraduate degree in graphic design, visual communication, product design, or interaction design would serve well to begin as a UI UX designer. For specifically UI designing, an undergraduate degree will impart an in-depth knowledge of all the theory and practice of each visual and interactive element.
Step 2: Gain extra qualifications if needed
If you are someone who already has a degree, fear not.
A diverse background gives you an advantage as a UI UX designer for specific sectors. Let’s say you’re a sociology graduate tasked with creating an application for a non-profit organization. In that case, you can mark down the user personas and journeys as you know the audience most likely to access the NGO website.
If you have a bioengineering background but want to transition into UI UX designing, your education will help you create software related to biostatistics. You know the user personas and can design a wireframe encompassing all the features they might want for a particular application.
You can always go for UI UX bootcamps, such as the one offered by UMass Amherst in collaboration with Simplilearn, for a smooth transition into the UI UX field.
Step 3: Research the skills to acquire and understand the job
UI UX designers must have common qualities such as prototyping, research skills, visual design, instructional design, HTML-CSS, and cross-functional collaboration. The best UI UX programs include skills such as clickstream analysis, design thinking, and Gestalt principles. These qualities enable you to envision an attractive and user-friendly application.
Additional skills in market research, writing copy, data visualization, content strategy, and user acceptance testing would be helpful for an excellent UX design. Meanwhile, UI design requires you to focus on style guides, creativity, design patterns, and design documentation.
Hence, it is a good idea to begin imbibing, improving, and applying these skills from the get-go.
Step 4: Self-learning
If you have missed the bus for a full-time degree and cannot gain a postgraduate degree in design, self-learning is the next best option.
There are several blogs and YouTube videos created by top UI UX designers where they give an overview of the basics and delve into the software. You can familiarize yourself with some commonly used software for UI UX design, such as:
- Adobe XD
- InVision Studio
- Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
- Abode After Effect and Adobe Premier Pro
You should learn or refresh your knowledge about front-end technologies and content management systems (CMS).
In self-learning, it is critical to devote time every day to practice your skills in addition to theory. Explore the practice examples found online, or try creating an application independently.
Build a good portfolio of your work, as most job descriptions require you to provide one with the application.
Step 5: Structure your learning through UX UI bootcamps and courses
This field continuously evolves, with new concepts, coding languages, and software emerging daily. Hence, staying on your toes and keeping pace with the developments is essential.
Reputed UI UX bootcamps train you in the fundamentals of user experience design, user interface and design principles, wireframe, and prototyping.
A structured learning mode lets you refresh your knowledge and be in the loop regarding the upcoming trends in this field.
Step 6: Network with peers and industry experts
Finally, you must connect with your peers and leaders in this field. No knowledge is greater than work experience. The insights offered by your peers from their learning experiences will give you a lead in your career as a UI UX designer.
You can join social media groups on LinkedIn, Slack, Facebook, Tumblr, or something more design-focused like Dribbble to exchange thoughts and ideas with UI UX designers from around the globe. It’s worth following the top UI UX designers on Linkedin and studying their career paths. Also, watch out for mentorship opportunities in these social groups.
How to Learn UI UX Design: How Long Does it Take?
If you opt for online courses, you can learn UI UX design in 4 to 12 months, on weekdays or weekends. They may be self-paced or live classes. Some also offer regular assignments and a final project to gain the certificate. At the end of your education, you will be equipped to join a workforce that is expected to grow by 16 percent by 2032, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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- Can I learn UX design on my own?
Yes, you can learn UX design on your own. You can find excellent online resources such as bootcamps, YouTube videos, and educational blogs that impart UX fundamentals and skills.
- Is UI UX design easy to learn?
UI UX design is easy to learn if you love the concept of artistry and creation, coupled with coding and front-end technological skills to facilitate a smooth user experience.
- What should I study to become a UI UX designer?
You can apply for a full-time undergraduate program focused on design. You can also join online courses and UI UX training to strengthen your base and gain practical experience through hands-on projects.
- How to learn UI UX design from scratch?
Here are some things you can do to learn UI UX design from scratch:
- Explore online resources such as YouTube videos and courses.
- Devote some time to familiarize yourself with coding and UI UX design software.
- Follow the course structure and look up educational blogs for additional information on UI UX design.
- Practice your software skills by creating new interfaces.
- Build a portfolio of your work, including your practice examples.