If you’re a designer, writer, product person or developer, you’re probably already doing some UX Design whether you know it or not.
In this article, I will cover some things you can do to become a UX Designer. I will also touch on some of the need-to-know skills of User Interface Design , so you can get on the way to starting your new career.
The Need-to-Know Core Skills
The scope of UX Design is massive, which is great because it gives you a large number of possible areas you can specialise in and become an expert at. However, if you’re a generalist, taking projects from end-to-end, you will need the following skills to deliver a lean UX project:
1. Strategy & Content
Knowing your objectives is a good place to start. Consider the business and user objectives.
In a nutshell, what are your client’s business goals? What are they trying to achieve? How are you going to measure this? What are the metrics to use?
Who would be the potential users of the system? What are their goals, frustrations and motivations?
Another factor you need to consider is the user flow, which is the path a user takes through your app, website or other system to complete a task. For example, request and invite, make a purchase, or book a reservation.
2. Wireframing & Prototyping
You will need to outline the scope of the project and list metadata for the different sections of the app in order to begin wireframing and prototyping. In my experience, UXPin is the best tool for both the beginner and seasoned expert as it can show responsive designs, it is a collaborative tool and it’s quick and easy to use—no coding required!
3. Visual Design
Visual design is the process of transforming your wireframe ideas into mock ups. It is important to consider the platform you’re designing in order to understand the needs of the developers.
My top tip is to seek out some nice icon sets online. My personal preferences are those with a flat, minimal style. I also refer to pttrns.com to keep up to date with the latest trends in app design. Patterntap.com is good for web design inspiration.
4. Metrics & Analytics
Once the team has launched an initial iteration of your product it is important to measure the effectiveness of the initiative. UX pioneer Grace Hopper says:
“One accurate measurement is worth more than a thousand expert opinions.”
Effectively, what matters most is not how it looks, but how it works.
Ask yourself these questions: How is it performing in terms of task completion rates? What are the bounce rates? What is the churn rate?
Generally, these questions will circle back to the business objectives you identified in the initial phases of the project. You should work to continually measure and to optimise.
Get Agency Experience
I was working in agencies before I became a full-time freelancer. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got an insight into the different personnel required to launch a successful app or website. I also gained an insight into how to go about working as a UX Designer and what tools to use etc.
In my experience the most important lesson I learned was the standard of work that is required to succeed. Your work will be the launching pad for landing future projects, so make sure that each time you do something it’s of top notch quality. Ask, yourself “is this of agency quality? Am I proud to call this my own?” Always give it your best.
Read Books, Magazines, And Blogs
Books, magazines & blogs are another good way to learn some of the need to know skills of UX/UI Design.
Below you’ll find the books that have helped me on real world projects:
- Information Architecture for the World Wide Web - Morville & Rosenfeld
- A Project Guide to UX Design - Unger & Chandler
- About Face 3 - The Essentials of Interaction Design - Cooper
- Communicating Design - Brown
- Observing the User Experience - Goodman, Kuniavsky, Moed
- Prototyping - Zaki Warfel
- Designing Interfaces - Tidwell
If you’re just after some inspiration check out Web Designer Magazine which showcases the work of a lot of talented designers.
If you’re looking for some more recommended reading, check out our article on the best UX Design books.
I hope this article has helped you to get some idea of how to go about getting some practical experience in UI/UX design. The most important thing to remember is to understand the needs of the user and different stakeholders of the project and to design in a way that avoids functional bloat, so that simplicity can be achieved.
CareerFoundry offers a great curriculum to get you up to speed across all fronts. If you’re itching to establish yourself in UX sooner rather than later, check the UX Design course and UI Design course today!
What You Should Do Now
- Get a hands-on introduction to UX with a free, 6-day short course.
- Become a qualified UX designer in 5-10 months—complete with a job guarantee.
- Talk to a Career Advisor to discuss career change and find out if UX is right for you.
- Learn about our graduates, see their portfolio projects, and find out where they’re at now.
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