Think about how often you interact with digital interfaces on a daily basis. From social media to online shopping, people need apps, websites, and software to function across all platforms throughout their day. Even more, users want their experiences to be as pleasant, engaging, and intuitive as you do. If you feel like an interface is dull and frustrating, you’re less likely to want to revisit or reuse it.
To succeed in our increasingly digital world, a business needs to engage a highly skilled user interface (UI) developer for their team. UI developers create positive user experiences through the use of web design, psychology, and engineering. Hiring a skilled UI developer can be critical for your project; however, it’s difficult to know which skills they should possess. Learn more about a UI developer’s role and required skills in our guide below.
What does a UI developer do?
The virtual space where humans and computers interact is known as the user interface. A UI developer is in charge of the complex process of developing this space. Their goal is to completely fulfill a user’s needs with an interface that is functional, convenient, and visually appealing. UI developers work in most industries, and their responsibilities are usually the same.
- Act as a bridge between design and technology: A UI developer receives information from the creative design team and client about the user interface. They take these concepts and ideas and turn them into reality by using front-end design.
- Align the interface with users’ top needs and priorities: The best UI developers understand creative design, technology, and people. They need to understand users’ motivations, goals, and behaviors so they can create an interface that works as expected. This is known as customer analysis.
- Run user interface testing: A UI developer must test an interface prototype before releasing it to the world. They create mockups and work with real users and stakeholders to receive feedback on the project. It’s their job to assess whether the interface meets user needs and fulfills a business’s goals.
- Identify and fix potential pain points: A pain point is a specific problem or annoyance a user may have with an interface. It’s the developer’s responsibility to determine what these problems are and fix them before they can ruin a user’s experience.
- Keep up with design and technology trends: Technology tools and design trends are always evolving. A UI developer must stay up to date while monitoring competitors. They also need to understand and follow current standards for coding, accessibility, and cross-browser functionality.
Sometimes, a front-end developer is confused with a UI developer, as their responsibilities may overlap at times. The UI developer creates the user interface while the front-end developer is responsible for it running and operating as it should. They’re more concerned with the client’s side of things, while the UI developer focuses more on the user.
Front-end developers pick up where the UI developer left off in the project. There’s also a back-end developer who makes the front end of a website possible. They deal with things like servers and data storage.
8 skills to look for when hiring a UI developer
Upwork is a prime source for hiring talented UI developers. We help companies identify the best independent developer for a job based on specific skills, and we conduct skills tests. Independent professionals list their talents on our website for all potential clients to view. We also post ratings and feedback from past clients, so you can feel confident in a candidate’s listed skills.
As with any profession, there are certain skills a strong UI developer should possess. We’ve compiled a list of skills to look for when engaging independent talent for your project team. Keep in mind that, depending on their experience and education, some developers may have even more specialized skills than what appears below.
1. Proficiency in front-end web development languages
2. Proficiency in application programming languages
Your UI developer should be familiar with all modern application programming languages. Think of these languages as instructions for a computer to perform an action. The developer should be proficient in programming languages like Java, Ajax, XHTML, Ruby, PHP, and .NET.
3. A meticulous approach to usability testing
A UI developer needs to conduct usability testing in a thorough and methodical way. This meticulous approach ensures user interface issues are identified and fixed before the public launching of your project. The developer should be able to gather real-world feedback and data from your target users to develop the best version of your product.
4. Experience with responsive design for multiple devices
Responsive web design is used to create applications that automatically conform to different screen sizes. A UI developer needs experience with this type of design so that they can develop an interface that works on many kinds of devices. From smartphones to laptops, top responsive web design creates a seamless user experience.
5. Strong communication and collaboration abilities
A UI developer needs to be able to collaborate with different teams. They need to communicate well with business and IT decision-makers, designers, and other developers. Strong written and verbal communication abilities are a must-have skill in this role. You can assess their communication skills through written and spoken interactions.
6. Ability to create wireframes and flowcharts
User flowcharts are a visual representation of how a user will progress through a website or application. They help developers to order things in a way that makes sense and best fits a user’s needs. Wireframes are a more static chart and focus on the elements on a single page of the interface. They’re used to explore a variety of layouts.
Wireframes and flowcharts are used at different points in the process of developing an interface, and a UI developer needs the skills to create both. They should be proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite programs, such as Illustrator and Photoshop, but they can also use programs like Sketch, Figma, and Google Drawings to plan and present UI designs.
7. Knowledge of content management systems
A content management system, or CMS, is a collaborative platform that helps teams manage content and complete a project together. If they’re working on websites, a UI developer should be familiar with systems like WordPress and Joomla.
8. Understand search engine optimization
The right UI developer should have extensive knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). They need SEO skills to develop search-friendly interfaces that drive users to where the client wants them to go. Understanding SEO is important to increase unpaid traffic to a client’s website.
Hire the world’s best UI developers
These days, project teams are a mix of full-time workers and independent talent. You can work every day with people in your community or across the globe, making it even more possible to find the ideal independent professional to join your team.
Upwork is the world’s work marketplace where you can find proven professionals on demand. We connect businesses of all sizes with highly skilled, independent UI developers from a global talent pool. Find everyone you need to complete your project team, including the best web developers, on Upwork today.
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