User experience (UX) design can be a complicated and overwhelming field for newcomers, as it encompasses a wide range of topics (from accessibility to wireframing). Some of these topics overlap, while some of them complement one another. Therefore, it’s important to come to a common and basic understanding of what the term “user experience” means in a design context.
User experience design, as its name suggests, is about designing the ideal experience of using a service or product. As such, it can involve all types of products and services—think, for instance, about the design involved in a museum exhibition. However, in the main, the term user experience design is used in relation to websites, web applications and other software applications. Since the second half of this century’s first decade, technologies have become increasingly complex, and the functionality of applications and websites has become far broader and far more intricate. Early websites were simple static pages that served up information to feed curious searchers; however, a few decades later, what we can find a wealth of online are sites that are interactive and offer a much richer feel for users. In general, user experience is simply how people feel when they use a product or service. In most cases, that product will be a website or an application of some form. Every instance of human-object interaction has an associated user experience, but, in general, UX practitioners are interested in the relationship between human users and computers and computer-based products, such as websites, applications and systems. A UX designer is someone who investigates and analyses how users feel about the products he or she offers them. UX designers then apply this knowledge to product development in order to ensure that the user has the best possible experience with a product. UX designers conduct research, analyse their findings, inform other members of the development team of their findings, monitor development projects to ensure those findings are implemented, and do much more.
In times gone by, product design was simple; designers-built stuff they thought was cool and that they hoped their clients would like. Unfortunately, there are two problems with that approach. The first is that, back then, there was far less competition for people’s attention online. The second is that there’s no consideration for the user of the product at all in that approach—the success or failure of a development project was down to luck as much as it was down to the judgement of the design team. Focusing on UX enables design to focus on the user. It increases the chances of a project’s success when it finally comes to market, not least because it does not gamble on the faith of users in taking to a product just because it is a brand name.
UX Design can be found in a variety of project environments today, including:
i. Complex projects — the more complicated the project, the more essential UX design is. Too many features handled the wrong way can deter users like nothing else.
ii. Start-ups — you may not find dedicated UX teams in a start-up, but UX is always part of the objective. High-tech start-ups developing innovative projects need to understand how their users feel even more than established companies do.
iii. Projects with decent budgets — UX tends to get skipped in low-value projects, but any development project team with a decent budget will tend to allocate some of their financial resource to UX so as to ensure that the budget brings a return on investment.
iv. Long projects — the longer the project, the more resources it consumes; thus, UX becomes ever more important to delivering a return on the investment.
The main methodology used to guarantee the user experience in most projects is user-centred design. Simply put, user-centred design is all about designing with the users’ needs and expected behaviours in mind. It is important for us as UX designers to remember that user-centred design is a means of achieving good UX—and not the only methodology or tool that one can use to ensure optimal UX in a project. UX design is all about guiding product development to ensure how users feel when using our products. It is not a perfect method; sometimes, even with all the UX design know-how in the world behind it, a product will still fail. However, the appropriate use of UX design does offer a much higher chance that a product will be successful for our clients than products developed without the application of UX design principles.
These are the following ways in which you can start as an UX/UI designer:
1. Understand all the design directions: First, the most important thing for you now is understanding of what exactly you want to do. You must choose for yourself what do you want. No one will do it better than you.
1. Do you like working on the visual part of design? — If the answer is yes, then you should become a visual designer (UI).
2. Do you like thinking through the concept of how the product works with the user, make the interface convenient, analyse, test? — then you should become a user experience designer (UX).
3. Do you like both the first one and the second, plus you like to deeply understand the product, be in charge of the product, know and improve it? — then you should become a product designer.
4. Like magazines, posters, flyers, and other POS-materials, like working with company’s identity — then you should be a graphic designer.
5. and so on … Some people know a little bit about every design field. Start by finding out which specialization interests you the most.
2. Study the tools for work: I think that further explanation is not necessary. How can you succeed if you have not mastered the program you need yet? You are lucky if you are a beginner, then you will not have to switch from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, you can go directly to Sketch or Figma. Read about their differences and think about what you need to learn. A tip from me, if you have already chosen the design direction you want to follow, do not be lazy check out Headhunter, Linkedin or any other work finding platform and see what employers are looking for, what programs you should know and go from there.
Below you can find a list of the latest programs that can be useful to know:
• Sketch for interface design
• Figma for interface design with collaboration capability
• Balsamiq for creating layouts
• Adobe XD for interface design, prototyping
• Invision App for prototyping and collaboration
• RedPen for collaboration
3. Start paying attention to design: If you decide to become an interface designer, start paying attention to everything and ask yourself the following questions: why did they put the logo here, and not there? And why a certain button is at the end, and not in the beginning? Learn what the site usually consists of? (I’m talking about simple things such as header, body and footer). Asking yourself questions and answering them, scrolling through the options in your head, you will start not only using the website, but evaluating it from a professional point of view.
4. Surround yourself with design: My advice to you is to dive completely into design, start looking at other people’s work every day. There are millions of resources, below are the ones I use:
1. Behance portfolio platform
2. Dribbble portfolio platform
3. Awwwards platform-awarded the title of the best in web design
This practice of viewing other people’s works and portfolios will help you enter the design track, see what others are doing (also in good projects there are job descriptions and decision making descriptions), you will become aware of fashion trends, and will get some inspiration.
5. Watch and Copy Others: Start stupidly repeating and copying other people’s work, the sites that you liked. Just sit down, choose a site, and copy the entire website. I do not advise you to use someone else’s work in your portfolio. Look at it as a lesson.
6. Find mentors and become mentors: The professionals have extraordinarily little free time, especially for beginners. Therefore, I do not advise you to find yourself a victim and bother that person to teach you design. Subscribe to the top designers you like, watch what they read, what conferences they go to, what new programs they study, so without much effort you will be aware of all the popular design events and novelties. If you are a beginner, you can still become a mentor yourself. For example, you can start writing your own blog about your first steps in the design industry. Or you can talk to your friend about interesting things you learned or found. Repeating and talking to someone about your newly acquired knowledge will help you to deeper understand the subject and remember the material better.
7. Take course: Many people ask the question if the courses are really necessary. Everyone is different, some people are more interested in and more comfortable with digging into the new profession at home, watching YouTube videos, reading books and articles. Others need a design environment and atmosphere. If you are the second type, plus you have some financial freedom and time to pass the courses, then I will say yes! Take the course! — they will help. Just make sure you make the right choice, view the comments and reviews, and see how popular the school is.
8. Read: I am just going to give you an example of a couple of books that inspired me and hopefully they will help you to speed up the process:
1. “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” — Brian Tracy
2. “Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should” — Michael Janda
3. “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” — Austin Kleon
4. “Show Your Work! 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered” — Austin Kleon
A huge list of resources for UX designers you can find here:
1. InVision The world’s leading prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform.
2. @muzli the best design inspiration — expertly curated, exactly to your taste.
3. prototypr.io Daily design news and inspiration from all over the web. Everything you need to supercharge your design skills.
4. uxdesign.cc Curated stories on user experience, usability, and product design.
5. Planet UX UX Planet is a one-stop resource for everything related to user experience.
6. Google Design Google Design is a cooperative effort led by a group of designers, writers, and developers at Google to support and further design and technology.
7. Facebook Design Stories from designers at Facebook offices across the world.
8. Sidebar subscription. This is a resource that will send you a daily email with 5 the most useful popular design articles (these articles are selected by the team inside the project) and this will serve as some kind of ping not to stop.
9. Muzli browser extension. After installing the Muzli browser extension, your newly opened browser window will always have a list of all sorts of things from the design articles and news, to just the design inspirations.
9. Create your portfolio and a resume: The last and the MOST IMPORTANT step when you are looking for a job. Of course, they look and of course you NEED the portfolio. Some vacancies even have the note that candidates without a portfolio will not be considered. Portfolio is your business card; by looking at it the employer will decide whether to start the interview process with you or to choose another candidate. The good news is that there is no need to have your own website (of course, if you have the time and opportunity to create your own site, but if you cannot do it these will help you:
a. Behance portfolio platform
b. Dribbble portfolio platform
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath