Who is UI UX Interface Designer: First-Person Story
UI + UX designer, or an interface designer (for a site or application) is one thanks to whom convenient applications and sites surround us, where it is easy and pleasant to buy and search for information. There are few such sites: unfortunately, in Russia there are few UI, UX designers, and their activity is still covered in darkness.
Let's give the floor to the professional. Johan Rons talks about being a professional UI / UX designer and gives tips on how to succeed in this area.
At the beginning of my career, I was a web designer . I worked in this area for 4 years, starting with small corporate sites and, in the end, came to larger clients. And then I suddenly realized that I was not interested in either graphic design or working for well-known brands. I was more interested in the layout of web pages and how people react to forms and things like the performance and efficiency of these pages than in their aesthetic design.
When I watched science fiction films, I looked at the design, and when I played video games, I looked at how the menu works. And if any of this seems close to you, it's possible that at heart you are also an interface designer.
Then I left my job at the agency and set to work in my own company. On my LinkedIn page, I tried to summarize my new career goals: to create better software. For 4 years now I have been doing freelance work, but my journey is not over. Now I am developing a small UI agency called MONO. We recently adopted a fourth employee.
In this article I want to tell you how it feels to be an interface designer:
- What is the work of?
- Where can I get new information for self-education?
- How to become better at your job?
The work of the interface designer
An interface designer has to deal with 4 key areas
I realized that the work of a ux designer can be divided into 4 categories: you communicate with a client, you research, you come up with a design and implement it, communicate with developers. Let's look at each aspect in more detail.
1. Communication with the client
The main goal of communication with the client is understanding his specific problem. The goal is to immerse yourself in your client's business, so the beginning of a project often involves a lot of discussion. And it's quite normal not to know much about the client's site at the beginning of work - you can take a fresh look at the business while developing possible design solutions.
To be a successful interface designer, you must be on the same wavelength as your client's business. For example, your client works in the field of aviation. Working with it, you will certainly learn a lot about this industry. My advice is this: choose your work area wisely so that, in the end, you are not an expert in a field that you are not interested in at all.
Communication does not stop during work. As a designer, you must present your work constantly. Our company is a team working remotely, so we do not have many personal meetings. At the same time, we often exchange the results of our work during video conferences. Applications like Skype or Slack are used every day.
It is useful to combine synchronous and asynchronous communication methods. A call is a great opportunity to get information without leaving your workplace. We see Slack as a way to discuss pressing issues and use Basecamp to handle complex design projects. When we prototype using HTML and CSS, we use GitHub Issues to discuss the code.
In addition to communication with the client, a lot of time will have to be devoted to research - studying the field, meeting with the client, and competitive analysis and determining the strategy - all that will help you in understanding the problem.
Research - this is what complements your design decisions. This may be a once-read article or a new release from Apple. When it comes time to explain your chosen ui-ux design solution, your research baggage is your pillar. The study can be very broad. I often use new devices for research purposes or register in the application to find out what its user interface is.
3. Design and prototyping
Popular programs used in UI / UX development: Sketch, Illustrator and InVision
As a designer, you will spend a lot of time thinking about designs and creating prototypes. User interface design can evolve in a variety of ways: from sketch to detailed design and code generation.
The method you choose depends on the project. Why do you create a design? Is this a site or rather an application? Native or adapted? Is it a project revision or are you starting from scratch?
Our company does not have a fixed procedure, but many projects are carried out according to one algorithm: they start with sketches and layouts, and develop into a detailed design, which becomes the basis of the prototype.
The work of the designer also involves thinking about the tools used. While worthy remedies are important, they are not the most important at work. To own Adobe Creative Suite or applications like Sketch is the equivalent of the ability to draw with a pencil or brush. Work includes drawing. At the same time, however, a healthy interest in the means of work is a good thing. I like to try new tools that help me to be more productive. My favorite vector graphics tool is Illustrator, but most of my work is currently done in Sketch. Other team members switched to new applications: for example, Affinity Designer.
Work tools - everyone's personal choice. While it's easy for you to work together as a team, everyone is free to choose a convenient application for themselves. In order to make it easier to condemn the design of the project with the client, we make prototypes using InVision. However, for higher level prototyping, we use HTML and CSS. The tool you need depends on the job in which you want to use it.
4. Communication with developers
An example of how the GOV.UK website provides a user with a guide on how to make their services consistent with the main site according to the UI / UX principlesdiv>
Often they forget about such part of the designer's work as communicating with developers. Today you can't just send your design to developers, hoping that they will implement it properly. The best designers know that the main difficulty is not creating a design, but communicating about it - not only with key people who must give their consent, but also with developers who must bring the project to life. Communication about the design takes place in various forms: this is a detailed specification, and the provision of active objects, animations, as well as a joint analysis of the design. What exactly makes sense to provide in each individual case depends on whether the project is native (tailored for microprocessors), or adapted or web application.
The traditional approach is to provide active objects and animations along with the screen design. The screen design can be used to see what the final version of the project will look like, while digital objects are ready-to-use PNGs and SVGs of icons, i.e. developers will not have to deal with graphic editors.
I believe that my participation in every stage of creating software is the only way to achieve my goal of creating world-class software.