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UI and UX design are two of the most sought after skillsets on the job market. Businesses across the spectrum need designers to guarantee a quality experience for their customers. Salt’s specialist recruiters work hard to find the UI or UX role that best puts your skills to use.
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UX design stands for user experience design, while UI refers to user interface. A UX designer’s role focuses on the experience a user has while interacting with a product. They determine what the experience should be, and in doing so are responsible for ensuring the product is useful and enjoyable for its users.
UI design is often considered a subset of UX design, but focuses solely on a product’s visual side. A UI designer is therefore responsible for determining how a user interacts with an interface, such as on an app, website or video game, and how they will use interactive elements to navigate from A to B. For instance, whether a user taps on an arrow to view a slideshow, or whether they simply swipe through a gallery.
Both UI and UX design are crucial to the product design process, and through working closely together, there are stark differences between the two. Essentially, UX is about a user’s overall experience with a product—what it feels like to use and interact with—while UI is about the actual interface through which users carry out that interaction.
UX is usually completed first, with UX designers handling much of the research that will validate the direction and development of the product. Once this is finalized, UI designers will begin to work on the visual design and interactive elements. It should also be noted that while UX design is employed across all products, services and interfaces, UI design is usually restricted to interfaces, although this includes everything from mobile devices and app interfaces to car dashboards and watch faces.
|Jr UX/UI Designer||$50,000 - $75,000|
|Mid-level UX Designer||$85,000 - $100,000|
|Sr UX Designer||$100,000 - $120,000|
|Sr Product Designer /UX Lead||$120,000 - $160,000|
|Design Manager||$150,000 - $200,000|
While some employers will consider a degree in a design-based field a prerequisite, precedence is often placed upon experience and being able to prove you have the necessary skills to succeed. A strong portfolio of work and a knowledge of specialist programs, software and coding languages will stand you in good stead. After all, there are plenty of people who have fallen into UX via different career paths.
Gaining a degree is of course beneficial, but if you are not formally trained you could teach yourself about UX by reading design blogs and books. Learning about design principles such as typography, colour psychology and balance is a good place to start. Becoming familiar with design software such as Adobe Creative Suite and Sketch will also be advantageous.
If you have no paid projects to add to your portfolio of work, practice your skills on your own non-commissioned projects and use these to show off what you’re capable of. Another great way to learn UX design and build up your portfolio is to find a design mentor who is willing to help. They will help you to nurture your design skills while also providing the all important feedback on how you can improve.
UI and UX designers will be highly sought after in the future. A recent Adobe study revealed 87% of UX design managers think hiring more designers is a top priority within their organisation. Major tech companies, including the likes of IBM and Atlassian, have almost doubled their design hiring goals within the last five years.
App and web development has become crucial to a company’s success, particularly for established brands that are adapting their services to appeal to a digital audience. Being able to offer a clear, smart, user-friendly design will become paramount to getting ahead of the competition. Furthermore, the unprecedented success of app-based businesses like Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb suggests more startups will follow a similar business model which relies on intelligent interface design.
Businesses of all sizes and industries now have use for UI and UX designers. While designers were previously restricted to creative sectors, the digital revolution means that all brands must have a user-friendly presence online and on mobile to stay ahead of the competition.
Startups which have successfully disrupted industries have all had improving user experience and user interface at their heart. Take Uber, who simplified the taxi booking process, or Tinder, who revolutionized dating with the simple swipe. Many other industries are waiting to be disrupted and modernized, meaning the scope for UX professionals is more widespread than ever before.
The difference between UI and UX roles has become more pronounced in recent years. Employers are beginning to understand that user experience and user interface are two different concepts. Yes, the UI and UX of a product is intrinsically connected, but they are two separate and equally important roles that should be filled by a professional with expertise in that particular area.
UI and UX designers have a relatively stable career path. You usually start out as a junior and then gain experience as you progress through the ranks to Head of User Experience or User Interface. With such a large pool of creatives specializing in UI and UX, it is imperative that you continue to learn and engage with new technologies in order to maintain your relevance within the market.
Employers are looking for driven Designers with passion for building products and delivering services through informed design. Confidence to lead the visual and UX process for a product is also essential. You should be someone who can see and deliver UI and UX strategies and knows how to create innovative solutions. In addition, it is beneficial if you are a hands-on Designer with a solid grasp of the latest user experience techniques.
You will need to have an impressive portfolio of product and service design case studies. Your portfolio should demonstrate good skills across user-centred design and cutting edge techniques and should be submitted together with your application.
Interviewers are likely to ask you questions about past projects you have been involved in. They might ask for your opinion on what constitutes a good user experience or user interface design. They will also want to know which kind of questions and thought processes you need in order to achieve a good design.
Be prepared to talk through your portfolio and give a quick presentation of your work. The interviewer will want to understand the role you played on each project, as well as the challenges you faced and the approaches and methods used to amend any issues.
A degree in a creative or programming field is desirable but UI & UX Designers can come from a variety of backgrounds. Many have chosen to retrain from a previous career path. However, with demand for UI and UX becoming greater, degrees in relevant fields or specialist degrees may become standard entry requirements.
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