The dynamics of career and learning have changed drastically over the last eight to ten months. The pandemic has wreaked havoc over the world economy, with thousands of people losing their jobs, lakhs of them enduring excruciating pay cuts and a multitude of businesses shutting down. Those who have managed to stay afloat are now looking at careers that could self-sustain in the coming months when the economy would be trying hard to recover.
This general air of instability has led many to take a closer look at their skill sets and find courses that could prepare them for a sustainable career. One such subject, that many people are looking at, is to learn UI UX design. Through a comprehensive and practical course, one can easily develop UI UX designer skills to bag some lucrative and challenging jobs.
As with any technical program, there are many myths surrounding the UI UX design program. Articles ranging from how to learn UI UX design to what kind of job, salary as well as the depth of knowledge required, are explored on the internet. However, what isn’t clear in any of those articles, is how to prepare for a course. People who wish to pursue a career in UI UX design would go to the internet to search for courses that would help them learn. However, what is also important is to find someone who already has an established career in the said field, who can guide you to the correct path, without getting side-tracked by the various wrong ideas.
As you are preparing for a career change, you cannot blindly take the plunge. You need to research each and every aspect of the UI UX design thoroughly, assess your current skill sets, find out what new skills you need to learn and develop and then look for a course that specifically caters to your needs as well as is affordable to you. In short, before you even start to search the internet to learn UI UX design, you need to prepare for it.
In this blog, we are going to start with a brief introduction on what exactly UI UX design is and then go into detail about what kind of preparation is needed to learn UI UX design. Along the way, we will try to bust some myths regarding the courses and find out what exactly is it that you need to know before applying for a job.
What is UI UX Design?
In today’s day and age of the internet, any business that is looking to expand its horizons needs to have a website or application. Even then, a simple website or application can only help so much. To gain maximum reach, approach and recall, the website or application needs to engage the users by giving them a full experience. This is called User Experience (UX).
Once a company has decided that its website is going to be a complete user experience based one, they would hire UI UX designers, who would then set to work upon User Interface (UI) for the website, using various design elements and UI UX designer skills. A UI is basically how the website functions for the user with respect to making it user friendly, easy and simple. A UX designer will then research, interact with the user to find out what exactly they would like in the company’s website and come up with a wireframe and prototype, which he will then test with a select group of users to find out if it gives them a complete experience.
Based on these interactions, changes would then be made in the prototype. Once the website is up and running, the UI designer will keep a check on whether the user experience he created is being accepted and appreciated, whether users are facing any issues and if so, then work on solving the said issue.
In short, a UI designer works to create a user interface that gives a great user experience. With various companies, products, apps, industry sectors and businesses looking to give a great user experience to their customers, instead of simply selling their products, UI UX designers are suddenly in demand. As the aspects of UI UX design is an amalgamation of various other fields, it is quite easy to transition from almost any career to UI UX design. This has led to a great scramble for courses.
It is also important to know that UI UX design is not just a one dimensional field. It has various subsets, aspects, and specializations, that in-depth knowledge could lead to a more lucrative career. With the right guidance, one can learn UI UX design course well and land a lucrative, creative and challenging job, which has great future prospects too.
Learn UI UX Design with the Help of a Course
If you browse the internet, you will find a plethora of UI UX design courses that would promise you a great career. But before you decide on which one to pursue, you need to do certain things. Firstly, whether you are a fresher or a career person looking for a shift, you need to assess your current skill set. Make a list of all your skills.
Then do your research on UI UX design to see which of your skills could be used in the various aspects. Finally, look for a design course that delves into theory in detail and then lets you work on projects to build up the practical knowledge. It would be ideal if you can find a mentor, an industry veteran to help you in the process of learning UI UX design. An internship with a company who handles practical projects could be an icing on the cake because you could learn so much more from being hands on.
While you are working as a part of various projects and learning the theoretical concepts, you can start building your portfolio. When you apply for a UI UX designer job, nothing more than an amazing portfolio can be a better proof of your skills. This is why there are various courses that let you work on various practical projects in a bid to help you build your portfolio and/or enhance it.
How to Learn UI UX Design
When you are doing your research for the UI UX design course, you would have come across various articles on what you should know before getting into the field. The problem is each article would give different types of information leading to a lot of confusion.
Along with that, the idea that UI UX design being a computer based technical field, knowing certain things like coding or hardware or programming language would be essential, is another source of worry. This might lead to one doubting their skill sets and wondering if additional courses may be required to compensate for these lack of skills.
Let us assure you that simple UI UX design programs, like those from Springboard, are more than enough to prepare you for a great career.
1. Coding Not Required
First and foremost, let us address the most widely asked question. If you are looking to build a career in UI UX design and are looking to learn UI UX design, you do not need to know coding.
If you go to look at companies offering UI UX designer jobs, you will see that they list coding as a skill set. However, it is a fact that most UI UX designer jobs do not require the candidate to know coding. Companies, however, list coding as an additional skill set because it is good if a UI UX designer knows coding. Most companies simply expect you to know the basic principles of coding. Knowing how to write code is simply an additional skill, not a required one.
If you look at the job profile of a UI UX designer or even talk to an industry veteran, you will find that coding is not part of a UI UX designer job. Coding is not required in any day to day aspect of UI UX designing.
If you are looking to change careers, you need to find a course that caters to your skill set. If you are interested, you can learn coding as an additional skill too. Companies appreciate employees donning multiple hats but it is absolutely not a prerequisite.
2. Talk to Other UI UX Designers
If you browse the internet with the intention of finding a suitable program for you to learn UI UX design, you would find tons of material. You would definitely need to research and find your own way. However, in an industry as niche yet vibrant as UI UX design, it is quite easy to get side-tracked. What you need, along with research, is proper guidance.
You need to find and talk to a UI UX designer. If you are able to find an industry veteran, someone who has been in the field for some time, to see a bit of the design evolution, they could guide you through your learning.
They could give you a realistic picture on how the industry works, what skillsets are in demand, how and where to develop them, what kind of courses would help you build your dream career and what kind of specialization you can work on. They can help you with an honest assessment of your skills as well.
Building a portfolio is a huge part of learning UI UX design. Your portfolio is more than your resume when you start applying for jobs. It will showcase your skill, creativity, technical aptitude as well as your strong foundation. So, when you are building your portfolio, a mentor will help you guide in making your portfolio a solid and creative endeavour. He can help you with what the industry expects, what are the trending aspects of design in the industry and give useful tips to enhance your portfolio.
No research would help you as much as talking and taking guidance from a mentor would.
3. Interactive Prototyping
When you start to learn UI UX design, you would understand that wireframe and prototype are two important aspects of UI UX design. Wireframing basically means that you would sketch the layout of the website or application to make your client understand how things can be. It is usually the first step in the process of designing. Prototyping is where you convert your idea into the actual product to determine if it works for the users. The resultant research and data collected from how the users reacted to the prototype, is ultimately used to enhance the website or product for better user experience.
While most of the prototyping is done using various prototyping tools or via sketching, interactive prototyping has become an integral part of UI UX design in the last couple of years. Interactive prototyping is when you create an interactive prototype to give the user an exact experience the product will give. In short, instead of a sketch or prototyping tool, you use an interactive mock-up of the intended product to gauge the user’s reaction. Interactive prototyping especially works when there is a lot of abstract design involved. Learning interactive prototyping tools like Adobe XD, Axure RP, InVision, JustInMind and Balsamiq, would be an asset.
4. Learn UI UX Tools
The software and tools UI UX designers use, keep evolving. Each designer or company uses certain tools, while some use a totally different tool. How can one become a much in demand UI UX designer? By learning and knowing all the tools.
Tools like InVision Studio, Sketch, Craft, Marvel, Figma, etc. are just some that are currently in use. Having expertise in various such tools can be a great marketing strategy to present yourself as a good UI UX designer to a company. Not just learning them, but as these tools keep evolving, you need to be updated on what new software is in the market and how to use them.
5. User Testing and Research Skills
You may be learning all the UI UX designer skills, software as well as theoretical concepts through the course. However, your interpersonal skills are put to test when you are conducting user testing and collecting data to form your research.
User testing is an important aspect of the interactive design process. After you have created a wireframe and made a prototype depending on your assumptions, it is important to test the prototype through an interactive user testing process. This is where the prototype is handed over to the users, they are asked to undergo the intended user experience and then their feedback is collected through a statistical method. This data is then used to research more about the users and then used to enhance the product to suit the user better. In short, a user testing process decides how your product is going to be designed.
There is going to be a lot of interaction with the users during the user testing process and research data collection. This is where your social skills would be put to use. Users may know what they want, but not how to express it. It is your job to find out what exactly it is that they desire. Once you have collected the data regarding the user experience, you have to use your research skills to convert the data into the actual product.
Developing your interpersonal skills would be a great addition to become a UI UX designer.
A UI UX designer job is one of the top trending jobs in the world right now. If you are looking to become one, you need to find a program to learn UI UX design, that caters to your specific skill set. These help you gauge your existing skillset, designing a specific practical-approach based program for you to enhance your skills and get a lucrative and challenging job.
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