In today’s business world, it’s all about the customers! Their needs and wants are the driving forces behind every business’ products and services. Businesses who produce digital products like mobile applications or websites, turn to UI and UX design to ensure their customer’s needs are met with the best user-friendly technology. However, many people still think UI and UX design mean the same thing. So before we delve into the skills of a UI/UX designer, let’s decipher the concepts of UI and UX design.
First, what is UI design?
User Interface (UI) design is the process of designing a user interface of a digital product like electronic devices, mobile application or websites to maximize its usability and user experience. Essentially, it is about the appearance of the product. In UI design, you typically aim to design an easy-to-use product with a great visual appeal.
Now, let’s understand what UX design is.
User Experience (UX) design deals with the designing of a product that is easy to use and provides an exceptional interactive experience while meeting the product’s objectives. In this stage of designing a product, designers primarily focus on enhancing the experience of a user’s interaction with the product and make sure it satisfies the user’s needs.
UI and UX design are clearly two very distinct elements of customer experience, but today, employers are increasingly looking for designers with both UX skills and UI skills. While there are many reasons for the rise in the demand for UI/UX designers, gaining expertise in both these fields will definitely give you a significant competitive edge.
Which is why, in this blog, I’ve listed out the top 10 UI UX designer skills you need to gain an undeniable edge among your peers while looking for a job.
Top 10 Essential UI UX Designer Skills
1. Information Architecture
Information Architecture, also known as IA, is the art of organising and structuring information effectively and understandably. The primary aim of creating an information architecture is to increase the accessibility of a product to its users. It helps the users to find everything they are looking for without putting in a lot of effort.
Because of the increasing amount of information available on the internet, information architecture has become even more important. As a UI/UX designer, you need to learn this principle to create an effective information architecture which provides the best navigational structure while keeping the user in mind.
2. Interaction Design
Interaction design, as the name suggests, is the design of interaction between a user and a product via an interface. In other words, it is a conversation a product has with its users. The principal goal of interaction design is to predict a user’s interaction with a product and provide the user with the best possible way to carry on the particular interaction. Thus, it requires careful inspection of a user’s needs and limitations to provide a product programmed to deliver every demand.
Interaction design is often confused with UX design, however, they are not, you can call it a subset of UX design. It also includes elements like aesthetics, motion, sound, space and more, which involve further specialisations.
3. Research Skills
To create a product with brilliant user experience, you need to polish your research skills. A successful designer always asks the right questions before looking for the obvious answers. Hence, research is the cornerstone of any UX design. Thorough research lays down the foundation of pleasant user experience.
Hence, a designer scrutinizes its user’s needs and the competitor products through meticulous investigation methods like interviews, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and observation. You need to use your critical thinking skills to weed out the useless information and focus on the answers that will enable you to create a user-centred product.
The lines between a designer and developer are slowly blurring away. But that doesn’t mean you need to become a full-stack developer either! A basic understanding of code will allow you as a designer to see from a developer’s perspective and understand what’s possible and what’s not.
5. Agile & Lean Software Development Skills
Agile software development is a set of values and principles that guide you to develop a more flexible and simple software. And lean software development is a sub-framework of agile software development. In today’s business world, as a UI/UX designer, you have no option but to work in an agile environment. Hence, it is one of the indispensable UI/UX designer skills to have in the industry.
Wireframing is a way of designing a product at a structural level. It is about creating a sample of a product you are designing to test its feature, look and usability. Wireframes are a low-fidelity representation of your product. They typically follow a grey-scale colour scheme, lines and boxes that represent only the core structure of your design.
Wireframing is an important aspect of UX design as it allows you to explore all the design solutions without having to invest a colossal sum of money or time. It is the cheapest way of evaluating the functionality of the product.
A prototype is nothing but a high-fidelity version of a wireframe, it gives you a more elaborate look at the visual attributes of your design. Prototyping allows designers to validate their work by adding advanced interaction elements before jumping to the next step of UI implementation.
Compared to wireframing, prototyping is more time-consuming and expensive, however, it is an important step while designing a product. It is an important UI/UX skill to have as you’re required to create efficient prototypes as quickly as you can.
Yes, Analytics! I know the numbers make everybody a little queasy, but the trick is to think of numbers as a story. Imagine if you could decipher your potential users’ preferred formats before you began designing. Thus, analytics puts strategies in your pocket that has a greater chance of paying off.
Analytics will help you in testing your products and iterating better designs. Hence, by decoding data, you can enhance the performance of your design.
9. User Empathy
I’m sure you already know about this by now, user empathy is the key to successful product design. User empathy is about “putting yourself in your user’s shoes” and trying to solve a problem from a user’s perspective. It essentially means you represent your users’ best interest while deciding on the design of a product. That’s why user empathy is one of the vital UI UX designer skills to have.
10. Communication (Visual & Non-Visual)
Visual communication deals with combining visual arts and technology to communicate your ideas. As a designer, you should be able to communicate your ideas to your team through visual aids by using tools, software or programming languages. It also includes the use of graphic design, typography, animation, colour, drawing, illustration, industrial design and more.
Non-visual communication deals with a designer’s ability to explain his idea or plan to the development, marketing or any other team involved in the process simply and understandably.
In India, a study estimates that around 1500 to 2000 UI/UX designer jobs for freshers are available in the market every month. This tells us that companies are desperately looking for UI/UX designers. However, many designers lack the UI UX designer skills required by the industry. In order to become a valuable UI/UX designer you need both: the up-to-date technical and soft skills, to help you differentiate from the others.
Keeping this in mind, the best thing you could do right now is sign up for a course that equips you with the aforementioned UI/UX skills. Speaking of courses, if you’re keen on learning the skills of a UI/UX designer, I’d take a look at IIDE. They provide an 11-month Postgraduate course in Digital Design that will help you gain the complete skill-set of a UI/UX designer.
And that’s a wrap! I hope this article on the 10 essential UI UX designer skills helped you gain a better insight. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment below.