A Brief Introduction to UI/UX Design
User Interface & User Experience design is a very lucrative and rewarding field. Wether you’re a veteran graphic designer or an information analyst with a creative background, learning this trade can be a great step towards financial freedom and a new satisfying career.
We hope this article will help you learn the basics of what UI/UX is, why it’s such a sought after service and some of the processes that go into creating a fully fledged digital experience.
What is UX Design?
UX design is often known as the actual experience behind digital interfaces for software and hardware products. Wether it’s Facebook, Instagram or your mobile phone operating system. They have been carefully designed to provide you with a seamless experience.
How to provide this experience is determined by deploying research strategies in an effort to try and understand their target demographic, users and competitors.
You need to be fully aware what the users and market are, in order to be able provide them with a well tailored experience.
A key step to creating said experiences, is creating low fidelity designs and wireframes to map products out, and test them before shipping off and building.
You definitely don’t want to jump straight into exactly how the product should look. Within UX design, the focus is set on making sure the navigation, flow and usability is ideal for the demographic before slapping on colours and making it look pretty.
Upon finishing and testing the low fidelity design, the next step is creating a high fidelity designs and working with developers to implement it precisely in the way you have designed it to work. This ensures that the usability aspect conforms to what your demographic wants, needs and expects from a digital product.
UI/UX is a highly lucrative field with high reward and high demand. It’s a skill that if learnt, will provide you with plenty of opportunities to make money and develop your skillset. Below we’ve outlined some great reasons to move towards this field and learn its ropes.
UI/UX is a highly in sought after creative skill. If you’re constantly in demand, you’re always going to be making money.
The usual market rate for a UI/UX agency’s services is around £400/£450 per day. It’s an established norm within the trade.
Very high charge out rates for experienced designers. Up to £800 per day depending on your experience and skillset.
It allows you to supplement your offerings and up sell. If you’re offering web design/building, you can increase price of your service because you’re skilled UX designer with knowledge rooted in research and consumer psychology.
It provides truly great career opportunities. You can earn up to $80,000 per year working for an agency in a lot of cases. Especially if you’re a lead/senior designer (up to $100,000 per year).
Once you become an expert and have a couple of years under your belt, UX design becomes second nature. You’re able to pump out consistently effective work with minimal effort.
You’re greeted with opportunities to work with great companies and world known start up’s.
Whats the difference between UI & UX?
Designing the way software looks. Fonts, colours, sizes, etc.
The digital experience of software. Usability, navigation flows, psychology principles etc.
The two go hand in hand and preferably should come as a package of being a UI/UX designer.
The key UI principle is: minimise the amount of clicks to do something. The less navigation it takes to get somewhere, the better the UX is.
What software can you use for UX design?
It’s completely free.
Easy to use. The UX experience is great.
Browser Based. No downloads. 60FPS.
Popular Mac only software.
£100 per year.
Similar to Sketch.
Free of charge.
Integrate animations natively.
Free of charge.
Can integrate animations.
What does UX software do?
Create or edit layers.
Interfaces are made up of squares, text, circles etc.
Create shapes & text.
Add & change colours.
A UX Design process.
Below we’ve provided a quick example of how a UI/UX design process is often handled, in order to help you visualise the process.
Stage One: Speak to a client on the phone to introduces yourself and explain what the scope of this business transaction is about.
Stage Two: Meet with the client to discuss requirements of the process in detail and discuss the pricing. It’s highly important to understand exactly what they want it to do.
Stage Three: Estimate the project in order to relay a price to the client.
Stage Four: The project starts with a conduction of a competitor analysis, demographic research and market insights.
Stage Five: Compile results of it, and begin to understand the users of the product.
Stage Six: Relay to the client the findings of the above research, so that we can verify the authenticity and provide the client with a one up on their competitors.
Stage Seven: Wireframe designs and make sure navigation and user flows are correct. Speak to the client: does this look easy to navigate for you? Would you know where to click, and accomplish what you’re trying to do?
Stage Seven: Complete the high fidelity designs, and get it signed off by the client. At this point you’ve essentially completed the project.
Stage Eight: Work with the developers to ensure they implement the designs properly. Make sure they’re doing everything the way you’ve envisioned and designed it in order to truly implement the design in a way which the target demographic will love.
The estimation is a key process which has to be carefully analysed and carried out in order to secure your client and provide them with an equal amount of value to the amount of money you’re getting paid.
Through estimating, you're using detailed project requirements to understand how long a project will take from start to finish. This can be done as whole or can be broken down into phases and milestones.
The rest is known as a contractual agreement. It involves the information they have to agree to, how long the project will take, and the general scope of the work. This is often presented as a singular document that often also features the outline of the project, the processes, as well as the final price.
The project scope should be presented as a list of tasks to confirm to the client precisely what needs to be designed.
It’s usually recommended to not add the total price, just the daily rate.
This process involves looking for competitors of your clients business to see what they’re doing well, bad and how you can improve on that information. The goal is to get a one up on the competition for your client.
You have to evaluate and improve on what they done.
Analyse at the very least 3 competitors.
Present the analysis. Create a presentation, take screenshots and write side text to what they done well, and what they haven’t done well. At the end talk about how you’re going to improve on what the competitors have done, with the design you’re going to create.
You want to make sure the client is a leader in their niche.
What if you cant access the product to analyse effectively?
Ask client to set up a meeting with someone who has access to the software.
Ask client to pay for software to grant you access.
Look on Google Images for screenshots of the interior of the software.
Getting into UX design
First thing you should do is become proficient in designing user interface.
Go visit Dribbble, find inspiration, figure out what a good UX design does and what are some of the consistencies within them.
Understand user experience principles and how to apply them. Best way is to look at case studies by other designers and agencies. Read about their processes. Understand why they made certain decisions.
Create example projects, and start designing. It showcases the quality of your work and your skill, people need to see what you’re good at. Upload them as case studies to your website. When speaking to someone who’s interested in the services, send them to the portfolio and let them see your previous work and the results.
Work for free. You have to work for free at first. Then explain that you’d like to do the project for free, to build real world commercial experience. It goes both ways. Be completely up front and honest about your lack of experience. If they’re unsure, do the first phase of the project so you don’t run the risk of wasting yours and their time.