What do Psychologists, Doctors, and UX & UI Designers have in common? Their job is to solve people’s problems. That is exactly what a web designer has to do every day: to make life easier for users who use or will use an application or website.
As with the health field, sometimes things that seem to have been resolved today may have to be rethought in the future because a new problem may occur or even because a better solution may appear. The reality is that, applications/websites should be regarded as ‘patients’ who are in constant need for treatment and updates.
The digital transformation revealed the need to conceive new roles on digital design. The market realized that good technical work must be always supported by art and a clear understanding of the target audience. This is where, UX & UI Designer roles emerge.
So, what does UX & UI mean?
The two terms often appear together, because they are both user-centered, however, they focus on different aspects. Let’s deconstruct each one:
UX stands for user experience, so the mission is to understand the user needs and make sure that he gets exactly that. For this to happen, the designer will have to think about the path that each user has to take while navigating on the website or application, for that, he evaluates all interactions carried out during a certain period, including emotions that arise during and after the user experience.
The UI, which means user interface, has the purpose of ensuring the user with a visually satisfying experience in terms of appearance and interactions so the user enjoys browsing in the application. In a practical way, UI Designer will design the layouts, the graphics and create interactions and animations that enable the users to instantly find their way and get what they’re looking for.
Get into UX & UI Design
In some moments of our life, only when we experience a problem, we can understand frustration. So being empathetic it’s crucial for a good UX & UI Designer, he needs to be able to analyze the user’s problems and create solutions for them.
“What works for me will not always work for you. Each person has their own problems and UX Designers must always find what best fits everyone’s needs.”
That being said, a good UX & UI Designer has to master the following skills:
- Having excellent communication skills, because he will always have to work as a team, both with other designers as well with developers, and other management areas in the company. This is an essential skill because the designer needs to communicate his ideas in a clear way.
- For UX (User Experience), it’s crucial to have research and analysis skills, to be able to understand the problems and needs of users, starting by creating a path to the solution. And even after that, he will need to carry out usability tests on his proposal to verify if everything is working properly. And the job doesn’t stop there, as any product can (and should) be in continuous improvement.
- Visual design capabilities, so that you can provide an effective solution to the end-user by designing a graphic art that is attractive to the target audience. Knowing the principles of usability, typography and color theory.
- If the objective is to archive user delight, then empathy probably is the keyword to retain for a UX & UI Designer. It’s crucial to put yourself in the person’s mind and never assume things.
- Since we are talking about mobile applications or websites, it’s very useful that the designer has some knowledge about coding and even project management, because in that way will be a better teammate, who communicates more efficiently with a developer.
- Research, research, and research! Curiosity is a soft skill in any design field, and UX & UI are not different. It’s essential to find new ways to solve a problem.
How to choose the working tools
There are already countless prototyping software, all due to the increasing need for tools dedicated to this design field.
Whoever wants to embark on the UX & UI design journey or wishes to evolve trying new ways of working should take their own needs into account and find the tool that could better fulfill them.
Before deciding it’s important to understand what is the learning curve that the software has or how much time does the designer need to master the tool. And it’s crucial to be simple to share all the work with the other teammates, whether they are other designers with whom you should discuss various perspectives and ideas, or the developers who will receive the instructions to develop the application/website.
What are the best tools?
The essential tools for working in this area are already known and most of them have free plans for personal familiarity.
InVision is the most popular tool for team collaboration because the intention is to have everything in the same place. It enables the mockup creation and presentation to any member of the team that will have the ability to make comments or proposals for adjustments. It’s completely focused on discussion and collaboration and is, therefore, an excellent way of communication between designers and developers.
Works on: Web
Prototyping for: Android, iOS and Web
This was a great success since its beginning and is one of the most used tools despite being exclusive to Mac OS X. It’s quite similar to Adobe’s Illustrator and Photoshop tools, but much easier to use what turn out to be the main factor of all its success.
Works on: Mac OS X
Prototyping for: OS X, Mobile e Web
Adobe has a wide range of advanced graphic design tools. With the arrival and great success achieved by Sketch because of its clear focus on prototyping and designing websites/applications for desktop and mobile, Adobe created their own tool called XD. For those who already work with Adobe tools this is an excellent solution as it just simplifies what already exists in Illustrator and Photoshop, with the great advantage of being able to easily transition between the various applications, including quick ways to share work screens.
Works on: OS X, Windows, Android e iOS
Prototyping for: Everything
To achieve the same strength and quality as Sketch, InVision has also created its own desktop platform (for OS X and Windows), calling it InVision Studio. The tool presents a set of possibilities focusing more on the platform design (competing directly with Sketch). This software was released almost at the same time that the Adobe XD.
Works on: OS X, Windows
Prototyping for: Everything
As with InVision, Figma also focuses entirely on team collaboration, making it easier to work together. Many people can work on the same file at the same time. In just one platform it’s possible to design, prototype and instantly transfer everything to the developers.
Works on: Web
Prototyping for: Everything
You’re all set! Now you just need to go for it, take a risk! Don’t be afraid to share your work and analyze the reviews that you receive, while also doing your own reviews to other professional’s work. In UX & UI, the design is never for ourselves, it is always focused on the users which is why it is so important to listen and considerate all the feedback you can and be aware of people’s reactions and emotions becoming better and better at your job!
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Marco is Affinity’s Creative & Motion Designer. Master of multimedia communications, Marco's skills range from graphic design to motion, from UX/UI design to Frontend also including video production. This last one is, in fact, Marco’s greatest passion. He’s Affinity’s very own Christopher Nolan!