Glassdoor included UX/UI Designer roles in their list of 50 Best Jobs in America. Based on the Indeed data, the average salary for a User Experience Designer is $95,992 per year. Nielsen Norman Group predicts that by the year 2050, the world will need about 100 million UX professionals instead of the current one million. All of these figures confirm that you should take a closer look at UI/UX jobs if you are considering a new career in tech.
This article will discuss the skills you need to become a UI/UX Designer, including necessary technical knowledge, soft skills, and proficiency in the most often used software applications.
UI/UX Designer Technical Skills
First, we will focus on industry-specific skills that you must possess to be considered for UX/UI Designer positions.
1) UX Research Skills
Understanding user behavior, needs, and challenges is at the core of any UX job. That is why user research skills are vital in this field. As a UI/UX Designer, you must be able to collect quantitative and qualitative data using such techniques as one-on-one interviews, online surveys, discussions with focus groups, and A/B testing. You will also need to know how to analyze gathered data and identify patterns and trends. Properly conducted UX research and analysis helps you develop data-driven solutions for the problem at hand.
2) Information Architecture
To ensure a positive user experience, an app's content should be well organized and structured. In other words, users should be able to find what they want quickly and complete desired actions easily. Therefore, knowledge of information architecture best practices is another essential UX Designer skill. Building good information architecture involves content inventory, grouping, audits, labeling, and developing hierarchy and navigation.
3) Wireframing and Prototyping
Wireframing and prototyping are essential parts of the product design process. UI/UX Designers create wireframes to outline an app's page structure, layout, and functionality. They can be drawn by hand or built out digitally and serve as a basic representation of the product concept. Wireframes allow UX professionals to present essential elements and features of a future product to all stakeholders and quickly change the design if necessary. After everyone agrees on how an application should look and behave, the UI/UX Designer can move to the next stage, creating working prototypes of the product and high-fidelity mockups. Strong skills in creating and working with wireframes, prototypes, and mockups are crucial for most UX/UI roles.
4) UX Writing Skills
The language used in the app (including menus, captions, calls to action, and error messages) significantly impacts how easy or difficult interface navigation is for users. UX writing skills help UI/UX Designers choose the right words. Larger design teams often have UX writer positions responsible for an application's microcopy.
5) Visual Communication
To build a UX/UI design career, you also need to learn the principles of effective visual communication. This skill will allow you to minimize the need for written instructions in your designs. Understanding best practices in typography, color theory, layout, and icons will allow you to create interfaces that are easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing.
6) Interaction Design Skills
UX/UI Designers must also be familiar with interaction design best practices, as the interaction between a user and the product shapes the user experience significantly.
7) Usability Testing
UX/UI Designers can only create great final products by using an iterative design process based on observations of real users. That is why usability testing is so important. Usability testing uncovers pain points in the user journey, identifies opportunities for improvement, and discovers more about the target user's behavior.
Although this list of hard skills is not exhaustive, it should give you an idea of where to start if you want to become a UI/UX Designer. And if you are looking for structured training where you can learn all of the skills above, enroll in our UX Design Training Program. Over 14 weeks, our product, interaction, and UX design experts will teach you everything you need to know about UX research methods, problem statements, data analysis techniques, personas, user flows, creating minimum viable products, testing, and more. You will also gain real-world experience in our internship program, create a portfolio, and prepare for UX job interviews.
UI/UX Designer Soft Skills
Soft skills are equally crucial for success in the UX field. Employers most often look for candidates with the following qualities:
8) Communication Skills
Communication skills are vital for UI/UX Designers. Many daily tasks in this field require the ability to express thoughts clearly, tell compelling stories, and present ideas to stakeholders. Strong communication skills also help UX Designers get more valuable data during user interviews and convince teammates about certain design choices.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your users is another essential skill for success in the UX design field. Without understanding other people's needs and frustrations, you cannot get to the core of the problem and find the most effective solution. Empathy allows you to set aside your assumptions and look at the product from the user's perspective.
10) Problem-Solving Skills
The job of a UX Designer is to resolve users' pain points. These professionals examine issues from different angles, create problem statements, generate ideas, and propose solutions on a daily basis. Hence, problem-solving skills are critical in this career.
UX/UI Designers need to work closely with Product Managers, Developers, Marketers, Customer Support Representatives, and other teams. They need to be able to give and receive feedback respectfully and politely, be open to ideas proposed by other team members, and value the expertise of everyone involved in a project.
UX/UI Designers are constantly looking for ways to improve user experience. And curiosity helps them get to the root of any problem. It also keeps them motivated to learn continuously, which is especially important in the multidisciplinary field of UX design.
14) Analytical Thinking
UI/UX Designers develop solutions based on what they learn during research. Their ability to analyze gathered information helps them make data-driven decisions and develop more effective solutions.
15) Time Management Skills
UI/UX Designers often work simultaneously on multiple projects or different parts of the same project. Therefore, they must be able to manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks to address the most critical issues first.
Do not feel discouraged if you lack some of these qualities. You can learn soft skills, and identifying what you need to improve is the first step. Next, ask for feedback, observe others, and seek opportunities to practice.
Essential Programs UI/UX Designers Use
UI/UX Designers use different tools to streamline various tasks, from developing information architecture and analyzing data from user surveys to creating wireframes and designing mockups. Here is a brief overview of some popular applications:
Figma lets Designers build dynamic prototypes and mockups and test them for usability. This tool allows you to customize your workflow and collaborate easily with other team members.
Sketch is another popular tool for prototyping. It is a powerful tool for streamlining the design process and allows for easy iteration at any stage.
18) Adobe XD
Many design teams work in Adobe XD. With this tool, you can create wireframes, mockups, and true-to-life prototypes with motion. Adobe XD includes many valuable features, including content-aware layouts, repeat grids, and reusable components.
Miro is an online whiteboard platform widely used by Designers for ideation and collaboration. It allows easy customer journey mapping, persona descriptions, and asynchronous brainstorming.
Maze is a tool UX/UI Designers often use to test prototypes and validate different solutions. It allows Designers to create targeted research campaigns, gather feedback, and generate reports for every test they run. Besides, this tool can be easily integrated with Figma or Adobe XD.
Of course, there are many tools in the market, and no one can become an expert in all of them. Get familiar with a couple of the most popular apps, and be ready to learn new things if a company uses something different.
This list of skills needed to become a UI/UX Designer might feel overwhelming. However, with proper planning, some effort, and guidance from experienced instructors, you can learn everything you need for your first job in just a few months. Are you ready to take the first step toward a career in the exciting and lucrative world of UI/UX design? Enroll in our training today!