What Is a UI Designer? (With Tips and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 29, 2021

Many businesses need digital design experts to create products, websites and applications. Technology is useful in many career industries, which may increase the need for creative individuals who know how to design user-friendly apps and content. If you're interested in technology and design, a career in UI designing may be for you. In this article, we explore what a UI designer is, what their job duties are, their essential skills and the job outlook, annual salary and tips for becoming a UI designer.

What is UI?

A user interface, or UI, is a point of communication that gives a person the ability to interact with technology. UI designers create interactions that appeal to human emotions and senses, such as:

  • Vision: An example of an interface that may appeal to vision is a computer monitor since it provides visual aids to assist you with navigating a computer system.

  • Touch: A computer keyboard is a good example of an interface that may engage a sense of touch because the design, the feeling of the keys and their placement can enhance a user's experience.

  • Sound: Headphones can appeal to the sense of sound since they're useful for listening to various types of media.

Multimedia user interfaces can engage and interact with multiple human senses. A computer is an excellent example of a multimedia user interface since it typically uses other devices to assist with navigation, including a trackpad, mouse, keyboard, speakers and monitor. Another example of a device that uses multimedia interfaces is a smartphone. For a smartphone to function, it may need a microphone, keyboard, screen and speaker. Some phones even have touch screens and cameras.

Related: What Is a User Interface? (Definition, Types and Examples)

What is a UI designer?

UI designers are digital designers who specialize in creating user interfaces on websites, applications and other technology tools. They're responsible for developing a user-friendly interface that's appealing to the human eye and emotionally engaging. A UI designer's goal is to create an easy user interface experience that requires little effort for someone to navigate and understand.

What does a UI designer do?

A UI designer's primary duties involve working with clients to develop visuals for a product's user interface, generating prototypes and testing elements of the UI design. They may use a variety of computer software and programs to create user interface visuals. UI designers often consider all aspects of design, which may include the coloration of the interface, space between individual sections of the interface, font and the size of the UI.

While working on client projects, a UI designer might be responsible for following a specific set of guidelines for the style of the user interface. A client might expect a designer to build an interface that aligns with the company's brand and the products they're offering so it's easier for a potential consumer to purchase and use the company's product. The designer typically presents a prototype to the client before finalizing a product design after they've completed a series of tests to ensure proper functionality.

Related: UI vs. UX Designer: What's the Difference?

Skills for a UI designer

Here are some of the most common skills a UI designer may possess:

Creativity

Some of the most successful UI designers are creative and have a good imagination. They make cognitive decisions to produce designs that are aesthetic, meet their client's needs and function properly. UI designers also might use knowledge of human psychology and sociology to understand if a human may interpret the design properly and how they may feel during their experience with the interface.

Related: Creativity Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

Attention to detail

An important aspect of UI design is having attention to detail. This type of work centers on the details of a website, which often includes subtle changes that improve user experience. They focus on the minor details that other users wouldn't ultimately notice and ensure every aspect of the website creates the best experience possible.

Problem-solving

UI designers often base their decisions around what they believe is best for the user experience. They use problem-solving skills to produce solutions to potential obstacles that may impact a user's experience with a product. It's important for a UI designer to anticipate potential obstacles with designs since new operating systems and technology devices are constantly developing.

Understanding of front-end development

A UI designer may be able to make better decisions if they have a general understanding of front-end development for user interfaces. Front-end development often includes coding and the use of computer programming languages to custom design aspects of technology. It may not be necessary for a UI designer to be an expert in computer programming languages, but it's a helpful skill that can assist with creating designs that computer programs can effectively read.

Tips to become a UI designer

Here are three helpful tips to assist you with your career goals to become a UI designer:

Learn computer programming languages

Having experience with web development languages may give you an advantage in the UI designer job market. A basic understanding of coding or computer programming can help you identify what aspects of designs may work with an operating system and streamline the completion of a project. Some computer programming languages you might consider learning include:

  • HTML

  • JAVA

  • JavaScript

  • Swift

  • Dart

  • C#

  • AJAX

  • Python

  • C+

  • C++

  • Ruby

Related: Learning How To Code

Gain experience with prototyping software

Experience with prototyping software and design applications is vital to a UI designer's career. Prototyping software can ensure users are able to navigate and understand the products they're using. Some prototyping software and design applications a UI designer may use include:

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Sketch

  • Invision Studio

  • Adobe InDesign

  • Proto.io

Commonly asked questions about UI designers

What is the annual salary and job outlook for a UI designer?

According to Indeed, the average base salary of a UI designer is $81,484. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook for UI designers may increase by 8% between 2019-2029. UI designers may be in demand because of new technology trends and devices.

Where do UI designers work?

UI designers can complete work on their computers, which allows them to work in independent settings and office settings. Since technology is often advancing and developing new forms of artificial intelligence, computer programs, applications and devices, this may give a UI designer the opportunity to work in almost any industry. Some career fields a UI designer may choose to work for include:

  • Healthcare

  • Web design

  • Information technology

  • Finance

  • Automotive

  • Government

  • Gaming

  • Educational services

  • Telecommunications

  • Law

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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