By Nsim Team
If you want to become a user interface designer, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a user interface designer:
• Do you enjoy creating visual concepts for computer applications, programs and websites?
• Are you interested in simplifying the interaction between users and technology?
• Are you interested in a career that involves creativity, research and working with others?
Those who become successful user interface designers are user experience oriented individuals who are able to combine a thorough understanding of the function of a product with a thorough understanding of the needs of the user.
They are individuals who are able to use that knowledge in combination with their natural ability to create visual representations of ideas and their skills with graphic design software, to create a user interface design that efficiently organizes icons and other commands in a visually appealing manner.
User interface designers are responsible for creating functional and visually appealing user interfaces for websites, databases, computer programs and applications. They must ensure that icons and features displayed on the interface of a computer program can be easily interpreted by users without excessive explanation, thus making areas where users directly interact with technology easy and intuitive to use.
In order to effectively design an interface that gets users to go from point A to point B in an elegant and simple manner, the user interface designer must have a thorough understanding of the user’s needs, as well as a thorough understanding of the capabilities and functions of the program, website or application for which they are designing the interface. This involves a combination of research and creation. User interface designers must figure out how a user would want to use the product, and then determine how those preferences fit within the product’s function.
Although educational requirements for becoming a user interface designer vary by employer, many prefer hiring candidates with a bachelor's degree or greater in digital or graphic design, human-computer interaction, interactive media or a related field.
These programs may also teach you about human cognitive processes, which is an important area to have knowledge in if you want to understand where on a page a user is likely to look, how much time they will spend looking at an area, and what will make users frustrated and displeased.
Some employers may hire user-interface designers who don’t have a degree, they may accept an impressive portfolio and work experience in the field in place of an education.
In order to become effective in a career as a user interface designer, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. The skills listed below will help you perform your job duties with competence, and the personality traits will help you maintain a positive attitude towards your work. These skills and traits, or variations of them, are also likely to be listed on user interface designer job postings.
• Enjoy designing clean and user-friendly web and mobile application interfaces
• Interested in learning about the organization, company, or department you are designing for
• A keen interest in keeping up to date with interface design trends and developments
• Enjoy being innovative and using creativity
Hard and Soft Skills
• Exceptional communication skills, used for interacting directly with clients
• Ability to plan projects with clients and create wireframes and mockups
• Clean and intuitive form design, as demonstrated within portfolio
• Ability to organize lots of complex information in a way that is simple, user-friendly, logical, clear and elegant
• Deep understanding of user experience and ability to analyze and test usability
• Skills with HTML, CSS, jQuery and Photoshop/Fireworks
User interface designers are hired on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by a wide variety of small, medium and large organizations. They may be employed by one organization, multiple organizations or work as a freelancer.
Types of organizations that hire User Interface Designers include:
• Graphic design studios
• Online advertising agencies
• Multimedia companies
• Web service companies
• Websites and web-based businesses
• Software development companies
• Self-employment (as freelancers)