What is a User Interface Designer?

Students who major in computer-related courses often wonder what are the roles of a user interface designer, his significance in a company and what it takes to become one. People who major in user interface (UI) design are mainly concerned with how they can make a company’s website, software or any other computer program more visually appealing and easy to use.

Key Roles of User Interface Designers

The main responsibility of user interface designers is to create the look and feel of websites, computer programs, mobile applications, software and machines. They simply transform the functions of an interface into the way a common person thinks. These designers mainly operate using the principles of graphic design. Unlike user experience designers who create personas, workflows and wireframes, user interface designers take the wireframes, workflows and processes and skin them into something a common person can perceive and use effectively.

In order to come up with the desired outcome, user interface designer’s first figure out the best layout, chose color palettes and create the visual cue for the interactive elements within the interface. They then create different style guides and prepare necessary visual files so that the front-end developer can start creating the actual interface.

Becoming a User Interface Designer

The first thing you should do is master the basic principles of art. Have a deeper understanding of the color vocabulary and different circumstances under which they can be used. Know how to balance elements within the interface and create readable text. Learn how to use contrast to arrange information, create hierarchy and build focus.

You can learn all these concepts by enrolling for a diploma or degree program in fine art with a concentration in digital media. Some employers prefer those with a bachelor’s degree in visual or graphic design.

Apart from the basic principles of art, you must learn about various design processes, their descriptions and alternatives. A good amount of hands-on experience is also necessary before you secure a stable job as a user interface designer. You can either choose to go for an internship or work for free in a design company. Doing this will expose you to different forms of UI designs and sharpen your skills.

Another good approach to succeeding as a user interface designer is to take on fake projects. Doing fake projects enables you to practice and improve on the areas of weakness. You can also look for a design mentor to help you speed up the learning process.

Finding Work as a User Interface Designer

You need a high-quality portfolio and a detailed resume to attract potential employers. The resume should have a brief overview of the past projects you have done and the names of companies you have worked with.

You can also choose to work as a freelancer for a temporary agency. Freelancing is good for recent graduates who are yet to build their resume.

Job Outlook and Salary for User Interface Designers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment rate for industrial designers such as user interface designers to increase by 2 percent over the next 10 years. The Bureau also reports that the median salary for those who work in this field is $67,790 per year.

Related Resource: What is Web Architecture?

Those who want to become designers can choose user interface as their main area of specialization. As a user interface designer, your main job is to transform a website’s or machine’s interface into something a common person can interact with easily.