Is UI Design For Me? | Wired Sussex

05 Oct 2022

05 Oct 2022

Is UI Design For Me?

Everything you need to know about a UI Designer job

Feeling bored, stuck, or like there’s little room to grow in your job? It's no way to live. If, following some serious soul searching, you’ve concluded that a career change is imminent and it’s potentially in the wonderful world of UI design - we’re glad you’ve stumbled across this article. Here at Wired Sussex, we’re more than happy to help you on your fact-finding mission by shedding some light on the creative, varied and exciting role that is UI designer. So, sit back and strap yourself in for the ride.

➜ In this blog post, you’ll learn more about what UI design is, what skills are required, how to get a UI designer job, and typical salary guidelines. And, ultimately, figure out whether UI design is for you!

Ready? Let’s dive in!

1) What is UI Design & what does a UI Designer do on the daily?

UI stands for user interface design. It is a purely digital practice and focuses on the look, feel, presentation and interactivity of a product.

A UI designer's primary goal is to visually guide a user through a product’s interface. In essence, it’s all about ensuring a user's experience of a website or app is an intuitive one and doesn’t present any blockers, challenges or frustrations. This means ensuring every visual and interactive element a user will encounter is consistent, coherent and aesthetically appealing, from icons and buttons, typography and colour schemes to spacing, imagery and responsive design.

Day-to-day roles and responsibilities of a UI designer include:

  • Liaising with clients to gauge their needs, expectations and goals
  • Working with developers to ensure a website or app is functional yet pleasant to use
  • Planning the layout of a website or app
  • Ensuring a project is optimised for various devices. 

2) UX Design vs UI Design: how do they differ?

The role of a UX designer and UI designer are commonly confused. You might have noticed, too, that job adverts often call for UI/UX designers, despite them being different roles.

Whille they do have a close professional relationship (you can’t really have one without the other), they refer to two separate aspects of design.

In a nutshell, a UI designer's role is more relevant to the visual representation and function of information, whilst a UX designer's domain is the overall feel of the experience. UI designers take the user flow and wireframes created by UX designers and breathe life into them, adding that final, glossy veneer.

3) What UI Designer job skills are required?

As a UI designer, you’re expected to have a range of social skills and technical know-how. Here’s what is typically expected of a UI designer:  

  • Proficiency in using design software such as Sketch, After Effects or Invision
  • A thorough understanding of user research, user interviews and user testing tactics 
  • Exceptional design aesthetic and knowledge
  • Possession of a strong portfolio that demonstrates a good level of working knowledge of typography, visual storytelling, campaign concepting and art direction, across various media
  • Creation of wireframes, storyboards, user flows, process flows and site maps
  • An inquisitive nature, remaining up to date with the latest UI design trends and techniques
  • An understanding of how UI has an impact on accessibility and inclusivity.

4) 'You're Hired!' How to become a UI Designer
A) Undertake UI Design courses

So, now we’re crystal clear about what a UI designer is, it’s time to turn our attention to how to get hired as one.

To progress as a UI designer, you’ll require an impressive set of skills and qualifications in your arsenal. A combination of free, informal resources and more formal, paid training is available online and will certainly aid your development. We’ve detailed some of these below.

As a rule of thumb, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and Udemy are great places to get the ball rolling. Better yet, they typically offer courses that can be digested in bite-sized chunks, meaning if time and flexibility is an issue, you can learn at your own leisure: 

B) Smash your UI Designer portfolio
In any design role, quite frankly, you’re only as good as your portfolio.

A portfolio serves as a brilliant opportunity to showcase a UI designer’s methodology, design decisions and creative aptitude. Remember some of those skills we talked about earlier, like visual storytelling and design knowledge? Ultimately, your portfolio is a chance to put your money where your mouth is and actually demonstrate that you possess these qualities. We recommend taking a look around at what your peers have done previously to get your creative juices flowing.

C) Don’t forget to work on your ‘soft' skills too
When pursuing a job in UI design, or any other industry for that matter, soft skills can be severely underrated but they will always serve you well.

Technical skills are crucial to helping you succeed, and lack of these can be a deal-breaker. However, having these skills will only help you make it into a job. What will help you to remain successful is by working on some of the following ‘soft' skills: 

  • Time management
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Discipline
  • Working well with others 
  • Problem-solving
  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Receptivity to feedback & able to accept criticism 
  • Meticulousness in your approach to work.

5) Finally, what’s the average UI Designer salary in the UK?

Once you’ve developed the necessary skill set for a UI designer job, what awaits you in terms of earnings? Well, we live in an increasingly tech-centric world, which means UI designers are keenly sought after and it makes for a secure career choice. In turn, this equates to a decent salary.

As a general guide, a junior UI designer salary in the UK is in the region of £25k per year. Alternatively, a senior UI designer salary is in the region of £48k. Unsurprisingly, though, your salary as a UI designer will vary according to whether you have any specialist skills and the size and location of the company you work for.

Next steps...

So there you have it! If you're certain that UI design is the career for you, why not check out the UI designer jobs available via our jobs board? At Wired Sussex, we have a history of successfully connecting talented job seekers with incredible companies across the county.