Getting Started in UX Design: 5 Things You Should Know
Thinking about becoming a UX designer? Learn about these creative, fulfilling careers today!
UX designers are all about User eXperience. They make tech products intuitive, engaging, efficient, and easy-to-use. It’s a creative area of work, that’s fulfilling and has plenty of job opportunities. UX designers fuse new ideas with insights from psychology, business, market research, design, and technology.
1. What is UX design?
UX design focuses on every aspect of a user’s experience with a digital product (such as software, websites, apps, or tech services). They do research to plan, design, and test how a product will be used, what interactions a user will have, and how these interactions contribute to the user’s overall experience with a brand.
What does a UX designer do?
Understand the user
Considering how people use a product, and why. What is the user’s goal? What do they need? And how can we make the experience easier and more meaningful?
Design user interactions with a brand
What technologies do users come in contact with? How do you make their experience seamless and engaging, with good usability?
Conduct user research
Running focus groups of intended end users and finding out: what do users need? What frustrates them and what could fix their frustrations? The overall aim of UX researchers is to make user experience more delightful.
Conduct market research
What similar products are already out there? What are their strengths and weaknesses? And what opportunities are there to create something new and better for users? What are your user personas — who are you targeting?
Come up with solutions
Drawing on the insights gained from your user research, you creatively find innovative solutions.
Providing a basic outline of products and the way users interact with it as a structural plan you can work towards and show others.
UX design involves crafting the content of the product that will be read by the users, ensuring its clear, useful, meaningful to users, and reflects the brand’s voice.
Integrates visual design elements
UX designers are involved with making products visually attractive, accessible, and unique.
Prototyping and user testing
Observing user experiences with beta versions of the product to see what’s working, and what improvements could be made.
Interacts with stakeholders
You’ll need to explain your UX strategy, your research findings, and solutions to clients, graphic designers, and technical teams using mockups.
2. Is UX design a good career?
UX design is among the most fun jobs in Australia because it mixes satisfying problem-solving with creative expression. Good UX design is fulfilling work, making life easier for users and accessible to everyone. UX design also pays well, with a pay range of $51-108k and strong expected future growth.
expected future growth
Among jobs that will be most in-demand by 2024 are those in the tech sector such as software applications and programming. UX designer jobs don’t necessarily include coding (although it is a useful skill to have), but their skills squarely meet the increasing need for tech products that are easy, engaging and fun to use.
3. UX vs UI design
UX design is a related but different job title to UI design (user interface design). UI design is a subset of overall UX design. UI design is about the appearance of technology interfaces like on machines, in applications, and on software. Both UX and UI designers are interaction design fields, interested in how users engage with a digital product, product development, and product design.
But while UX design focuses on the usability of a product and how users interact with it, UI designers focus on the appearance of the elements.
Take an online delivery mobile app, for example. A UI designer creates the layout of menus, makes visual choices such as the colours, fonts and pictures used, and enhances the functionality of each screen.
A UX design process would be interested in how those interface choices would inform the user’s experience, but also the whole user journey from downloading the app to getting the food, and overall how interactions with the brand felt to users.
Both are important, and there’s overlap in how they work, but these job descriptions show the distinction between UX/UI design:
|User experience designer||User interface designer|
|Primarily focused on how users interact with a specific product and the brand generally.||Primarily focused on graphic design elements of a specific product such as typography, colours, and layouts. They may also be involved in non-visual design, such as integrating voice recognition, gestures, and compatibility with accessible technologies such as screen readers.|
|Asks whether the product is easy to use, accessible, and engaging, and if it contributes positively to an overall brand experience.||Asks whether the product is visually striking, clear, and accessible.|
|Undertakes UX research and testing to inform their design ideas.||Involved in prototyping and usability testing, and creatively responding to research with their own ideas.|
|Interested in creating meaningful communication in various forms: the written content of a product, visual communication, and the range of interactions users have with a brand.||Focused on visual communication, and the ways certain visual elements impact engagement and clarity.|
4. How to become a UX designer
UX designers work at a range of different organisations: from non-profits, startups, and tech giants. No formal qualifications are required for a UX job, but various qualifications are well-regarded such as degrees in product design, business, computer science and IT.
UX designers need a big skill set, and a range of vocational courses provide useful upskilling to extend on your existing qualifications and both hard and soft skills, including diplomas, short courses, and boot camps in:
Adjacent jobs in business analysis, data analysis, market and consumer research, and project management can give you useful experience towards applying for a UX role. UX internships and work experience can also provide on-the-job training.
5. How to build your UX portfolio
UX designers require a portfolio to apply for jobs. You can build yours by:
UX design is a fulfilling job that allows for satisfying problem-solving to enhance the lives of users of a diverse array of tech products. Good UX designers are in high demand, and the profession brings opportunities for creative expression within the growing tech industry, with expected strong future growth, and good pay.
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