Every day we surf through millions of websites, access loads of information in a few clicks.
We are surrounded by the world of the World Wide Web (a.k.a the Internet). It’s our go-to thing for anything and everything. When we land upon a website of our interest, there are hundreds of things we need to process and access.
For example, when you open the webpage of your dream college to fill in the admission form, there are a lot of things you have to know before you apply. Be it the prospectus, eligibility, FAQ’s, campus view, etc. It is impossible to fit in everything in one place, hence its design is planned to cater to the ease of young students to find and understand everything.
Behind the website sits a number of professionals to who with their training and knowledge build these platforms for us. Some of these professionals are known as UX/UI designers. These people invest their heart and soul into making websites and apps, attractive, easy-to-use and accessible.
UI/UX design is a lucrative upcoming career for all who have a knack for visual design, psychology of human-computer interaction, web design and most importantly, technological know-how. In addition to the tech know-how one should be inclined to be adept in antics human behaviour and basic psychology.
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What is UI/UX design?
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) design are two different functions, which may or may not be performed by the same person. The ultimate goal of both UI and UX design is to build an end product which is simple to operate and appealing to look at.
UI design mostly focuses on the visual aspects of a product and deal mostly with graphics, colour scheming and the pleasing effects of the products. For example, the colours used for different elements of the website, where those elements will be placed to make the design look fresh and pleasing, the icons and graphics used for drawing attention to certain areas, all come under the purview of UI.
On the other hand, UX design focuses on the usability, experience and functionality of those designs. It tries to get into the minds of the users who will utilise the app/website to understand their values and motivations (why they are using the website, what do they expect from it, etc.) and build their designs around it.
Their goal is to provide accessibility and functionality, all the while ensuring that the experience of using the website/app is pleasing and helps the user access what they want without exerting mental effort.
Why is UI/UX important to a website or a business?
In today’s digital world, a brand that does not exist on the web practically doesn’t exist for the customers. And when on the web, what becomes the face of the brand? Its website!
It is not a stretch to claim, therefore, that a good website (or app) is essentially to grow a brand and bring in customers. Good UI/UX helps accomplish many crucial goals for a brand:
- It helps present a favourable image of the brand, in accordance with its identity. For e.g – a premium fashion brand would want its website to look sophisticated and premium. While a website for students would want to look youthful and fresh.
- It helps to direct users to important sections of the page/website, and get them to take action. For example, a “Buy Now” button will always be in a much brighter and attention-grabbing colour than the rest of the page.
- It helps manage the flow of the user to get them to take actions in a certain sequence. For example, a brand would want a user to come to the homepage and then immediately click on to another page, sign up for an account, try out a free product and then upgrade. UI/UX design helps create this flow.
- It helps make the company’s products (e.g., web or mobile app) easy and pleasant to use so that users keep coming back to use them.
These are just some of the ways UI/UX design helps businesses design efficient websites and apps. As a result, the average salaries for UI/UX designers are growing across the world, and even in India, companies are increasingly hiring talented UI/UX professionals to help them get the edge over their competition.
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What do UI/UX Designers do?
A career in UX and UI design calls for a lot of creativity, knowledge and experience in interaction design, graphics, usability, web design and more. Like I mentioned before, UI and UX are both two sides of the same coin.
UX designers conduct research on their target users, to understand their needs and what they want from the product. They also conduct usability tests to see how they interact with the actual product and what changes are needed to improve the interaction. They design the blueprint (wireframe) on which the actual design is built.
UI Designers add in the visual details to the wireframe to make the actual product come alive. This includes defining the colour palette, types of buttons, icons, the shape of boxes, notifications, fonts, etc. This design is altered and tweaked until the final product is one that meets the company’s requirements and most importantly, that of the users.
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How to become a UI/UX designer in India?
As of yet, there is no defined path to become a UI/UX designer. However, a bachelor’s degree in design (B.Des), especially with a specialisation in UI/UX or Interaction Design will give you a thorough grounding in the design principles and UI/UX basics needed to step into this field.
Some professionals also enter this field after pursuing computer science courses.
In addition to the degree, you will need to gain proficiency in design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, InDesign, etc.
The understanding of your work and the years of your experience help you get the spotlight. Additional knowledge of web programming languages like HTML, XML, CSS, Java will also be helpful too.
Institutes that offer courses in UI/UX Design
A few colleges in India that provide a bachelor’s in graphic, interface and industrial design are:
- NID (National Institute of Design), Ahmedabad
- Industrial Design Centre, Mumbai
- Pearl Academy, Multiple Locations
- NIFT, New Delhi
- MAEER’S MIT Institute of Design, Pune
- Indian School of Design and Innovation, Mumbai
- DOD (Department of Design), IIT Guwahati
A few institutes abroad that offer UI/UX design courses are:
- Springboard’s User Experience Design
- Interaction Design Foundation
- University of California at San Diego’s extension school offers an online distance learning Certificate in User Experience Design.
- NYC’s Pratt Institute offers a Certificate Program in UX/UI Mobile Design
- Integrated Digital Media program at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering
In addition to these, a lot of short-term courses and certifications are also available online through which can learn the basics or advanced skills in UI/UX design.
So, what is the future like for UI/UX designers in India?
With an abundance of businesses in the marketplace, companies need to stay at the top of their game to stand a chance to survive in this competitive market. A well-executed user interface and experience design give them that edge.
By utilising talent in the field of UI/UX design, companies are building user-friendly apps and websites to meet user’s needs. On some websites, it is much easier to locate and buy a product of your choosing, while on others it is harder. Which one are you likely to use the next time? That is the difference UI/UX design creates in enhancing a user’s experience on a website.
Having realised this, companies are allocating greater resources and budgets to focus on the UI/UX of their websites and apps, and that need will be met by UI/UX designers. Thus, the future holds a lot of potential for anyone with right zeal, creativity and eye for detail.
So, if you feel you have what it takes, it’s time that you pause and think about UI/UX design as your career. Probably you had been sitting and surfing websites looking for an appropriate career and it was right in front of you!
Are you excited about pursuing a career in UI/UX design after reading this article? Share with us in the comments section below!