From websites to software applications to computers and smartphones, a user interface designer ensures that people who interact with the final product have a fantastic overall experience. They accomplish this by making each system as simple as possible while also ensuring that it’s intuitive to the end user.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UX AND UI DESIGN
A user experience (UX) designer focuses on how people interact with products, brands, and layouts within digital interfaces. They leverage usability testing and user feedback to create wireframes that will be used to design a website, app, or other type of digital experience. A UX designer is a technical thinker who uses data, competitor analysis, and customer feedback to make a blueprint for understanding and addressing customer needs and preferences.
A user interface (UI) designer then takes those wireframes and designs all of the interactive elements that are needed to navigate through the experience with as little friction as possible. This includes everything from buttons, dropdown menus, and site navigation to content layout and typography, plus elements like photography and video. A UI designer is a creative individual who focuses on the functionality and overall visual elements that enhance the customer’s ability to navigate within a digital product and achieve the action they’re there to do.
It’s important to note that both UX and UI design share many similarities since their end goal is the same—to create a great user experience. For example, both types of designers use tools like Photoshop, Sketch, and Fireworks to design solutions and both also incorporate customer analysis. It’s their focus that differentiates them—UX designers create the framework for the core customer experience while UI designers interpret how to implement and polish those ideas through visual elements. It ultimately requires both disciplines to create a successful digital product.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A UI DESIGNER
When interviewing potential designers for a UI design project, it may help to ask the following questions:
1) How do you determine the ideal layouts for your clients?
The answer should give you quite a bit of insight into how each designer processes UI design projects and where they draw inspiration from. The ideal answer would also mention working with a UX designer and an engineer to create the best possible interface.
2) What type of information will you need before starting this project?
A UI designer will want to have as much information as possible about your company, your products, and your customers. Some UI designers may also ask to do some independent research before starting the design phase as well.
3) Which of your previous UI design projects was the toughest to complete?
This type of question gives better insight into each designer’s preferred work environment and how they handle situations under pressure. While there is no ideal answer here, be sure to ask what could have been handled differently to make the project easier to complete.
4) Do you have any preferences for UI design projects?
Experienced UI designers will definitely have certain preferences in terms of client type, tools of the trade, and how they approach new projects. Learning about these things will help you better understand how each designer would interact with your team.
5) How do you estimate project timelines?
Finally, be sure to learn about how each designer budgets their time since this will show their organizational and planning skills. Skilled professionals will be able to give firm answers on how long each task will take and what to expect throughout the process.
Sample Project Description
Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
Title: Seeking Talented UI Designer for Android Fitness App
XYZ Company is currently seeking an experienced UI designer to help us put the finishing touches on our fitness app that measures walking distances, tracks daily calorie intake, and suggests healthy activities to get in shape.
The project will include the following deliverables:
- Design each aspect of our fitness app to simplify and enhance the user experience
- Work closely with our UX designer to interpret overall layout
- Use Photoshop and Sketch to create interactive features
- Perform revisions based on user feedback
The main skills we are seeking include:
- Expertise in UI design
- A great portfolio that highlights similar successful projects
- Excellent design skills
- Photoshop/Sketch expertise
- Fantastic communication skills
If you have the expertise to advise us on making our users’ experience great, please send us a short summary of your UI design experience and why you’d like to work on this particular project.
Read this article for more tips on how to write a great project description.
While you’ll likely find several great UI designers that bring a wide variety of experiences and skill sets to the table, this is one field where actual results should speak louder than profiles or portfolios. Instead of viewing past projects for pleasing aesthetics and other personal preferences, try to place yourself in the end-user’s shoes to determine how each design element either adds or takes away from the overall user experience.
Additionally, a UI designer has to be a solid team player since the chosen professional will need to collaborate closely with your design and development team. It may be a good idea to have several team members involved with the interview process to see how comfortable they are with the designers on your short list.