So you want to be a UI/UX Designer but do not know how to go about it? then this post is for you.
Before we delve into steps to becoming a UI/UX designer in 2021, let's talk about what a user interface design is, who a UI/UX designer is, and their roles in the industry.
User Interface design refers to the interface design of mobile and web applications.
User Interface Designer (UI Designer) works on the visual part of websites and mobile applications, they select the right elements like fonts, colors, text fields, icons, etc. They are also responsible for creating wireframes, mood boards, and mockups.
User Experience Designer (UX Designer) is responsible for user satisfaction and experiences. UX designers identify and point out user problems, conducts intensive user research, creates user personas, usability testing, and prototyping to know which designs will most effectively help users meet their goals.
What are the best ways to become a UI/UX Designer?
Now that we have understood what their roles are in the industry, here are steps to becoming a UI/UX Designer:
1. Research: there are tons of posts, videos, and podcasts out there about becoming a UI/UX Designer; dig deep and get more insights about what it means to become one.
2. Get Educated: reading about how to become a UI/UX Designer is not enough, you have to get educated, learn the tools of trade, principles, practices, and concepts. You don't have to go back to school or get a degree because there are great online courses that will help you achieve this goal; a few of them are:
3. Learn About UI Principles: first and foremost before you practice design, there are design principles you should learn to help your career. These are basic principles that help to train your eye to identify good designs and they are:
4. Read Design Articles & Books: Design articles are also a great way to stay up to date with trends and tools. You also get the opportunity to learn from other designers, how they started, and other tips that would be helpful to your career. Here is a list of my favorite design articles
Books are another way to know more about designs, and here is a list of books that I recommend:
- Refactoring UI by Adam Wathan
- Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett
5. Strengthen Your Design Muscle: while getting to know the principles of design and training your eyes to identify good and bad designs as a beginner, I will also advise you to partake in the 100 days UI Challenge as it helps to build your design muscle and eyes. Find inspirations from Dribble, Behance, AWWWARDS, and Uplabs.
Remember, consistency leads to perfection.
6. Watch Youtube Videos: when breaking into a field, you have to exhaust every resource out there. Youtube tutorials are also great learning tools for newbie designers. Here are my favorite youtube channels:
7. Learn the Best Design Tools: there are various UI/UX Design tools out there and you don't need to know them all. Just learn the best one for you and stick with it. Here is a list of design tools and what they do:
- Figma: is a collaborative tool that can be used for user interface design and prototype.
- Sketch: for interface designs and available for only mac users.
- Adobe XD: used for user interface design and prototyping.
- Marvel App: used for making mockups interactive.
- Balsamiq: used for making low fidelity wireframes.
- Invision: used for collaboration and prototyping.
8. Find a Mentor: finding a designer friend or a mentor who is willing g to help you in your career is a great way to become better in the field. They will review your work and give you tips on where to work on.
9. Build Fake Projects: in the long run, you will need to start building your portfolio to show to your clients or future employers that you are ready and experienced to take on jobs and you can't do that without building fake projects to showcase your talents, it could be a UX Case study or 3-5 screens of an app; refer to dribble and Behance for inspiration, also check out UX Design Mastery for case study briefs that you can use to make your portfolio great.
10. Work With Small Teams: it is very important to work with a small team so you can get a first-hand experience of what it feels like to work on real-life projects, it could be voluntarily or a small pay like internships then you can start applying for entry-level or junior roles.
Becoming a UI/UX Designer is not just aesthetics, there are rules and practices to follow which requires patience, time, hard work to become an expert in this field, and following these steps above will help you a great deal.
If you enjoyed this article, do check out how I made my career change to the design industry.
Good luck in your new-found field.