UX and UI designers both work to improve the user experience on a website and help build trust with the brand or product. In this day and age, making sure that your customers are happy is a must if you want to grow your business and increase sales.
As a UX/UI designer, you have to pay close attention to what the audience needs and provide products or services according to what you find. But can you do both at the same time? Let’s take a closer look and see why that is possible.
UX Design Basics
UX stands for user experience, and it’s one of the key factors that determine website success. UX design involves teams of experts whose only goal is to provide customers with products they need to improve their everyday lives. They have to consider many different factors including delivering promises, product branding, design, function, and usability. As a UX designer, you have to do the research, find what users need, and provide the best solution to fix the problem.
If a product provides an exceptional user experience, it works perfectly on all levels of the customer journey. Successful UX designers have to spend time monitoring users, coming up with prototypes, testing usability, provide the best product possible, and listen to customer feedback for further improvement. Their job is never done, and the success of a company largely depends on their skills.
UI Design Basics
UI stands for user interface, so UI designers have the task of ensuring that the user experience is as simple as possible. UI designers are responsible for the visual styling of apps and websites. They are the people responsible for how a website looks, the available options on every page, and their interaction. They choose every visual element that goes into creating a website. That includes everything from font style, colors, buttons, overall website style, etc.
In other words, UI designers are responsible for online brand representation. If a UI designer knows what they are doing, they will be able to create a webpage perfectly aligned with the brand, company goals, user needs, and the latest design trends.
The Differences Between The Two
While these two professions focus on different parts of a business, they have to work in correlation with each other. UI design is a derivative or UX design, so both departments have to be on the same page. While UX design focuses on user behavior and product testing, UI design monitors how users interact with digital products.
Furthermore, UI designers have to master practices such as copywriting, best website design practices, animation, etc. Once they collect all of the critical information, they have to know how to put everything together to provide the best website navigation possible. Once their ideas are implemented, they have to track all elements and see if they perform as expected. If not, they have to find new solutions to improve the user experience by combining new design elements.
Once they pick the right site features, it’s up to the UX designer to test everything and ensure that everything works as expected. When the product is launched, UX designers have to crunch the data and see if the website is performing as it should. If not, they have to make changes to improve the bounce rate, ROI, and other critical metrics.
UI Designer Required Skills
As a UI designer, you need a few key skills to get the job done right. Here’s a quick overview of the most important skills every UI designer needs:
Visual interface design
UI designers are responsible for how a website looks. They choose every single element including fonts, icons, menu options, etc.
Animation and interaction
Animations and website interactions are where a UX and UI designer have to work together. Both of them can suggest what strategy to use to get better results, but it’s up to the UI designer to choose the best solution. They have to approach the problem from a visual aspect and ensure that the animation or interaction really helps the user experience.
UX Designer Required Skills
Once the UI designer sets the bar, it’s up to the UX designer to make things happen. They have the important task of reading data and providing the best possible interface for a website. Here are the primary skills every UX designer needs:
The strategic approach based on company goals
The UX designer has to know exactly what the company goals are to be able to find the best strategy to reach them. For example, they can focus their efforts to lead generation, but they can also aim to simplify the dashboard for every team member. UX designers focus on creating a better interface for both ends of the website.
Research and testing
Having a seemingly good idea doesn’t mean that it will work as expected in a real environment. It’s up to the UX designer to test out all features and make sure that they provide the desired results. They create scripts, test them on users, analyze the data, and showcase their findings to the company CEOs.
Since most site features require a lot of testing before they become available for other users, it’s up to the UX designer to create working prototypes. With the use of tools such as Balsamiq, Axure, and Photoshop, UX designers take those prototypes and turn them into working designs.
Do Both for the Best Effect
Even though UX and UI design are two separate practices, many companies look for experts with a good understanding of both fields. That usually happens because the companies hiring designers don’t understand the difference between the two. Many recruiters think that UX and UI design are the same things, but there are those who look specifically for people with skills that can tackle both areas.
Instead of looking at the ad, you should look deeper and see what skills are required to get the job. Since you know what responsibilities and skills are needed for both practices, you will be able to determine if a job ad fits more into the UI or UX design category. Having the skills to do both is undoubtedly a huge bonus.
Both UX and UI design are still new practices on the market. Most companies are only starting to realize that they need both to survive in the digital marketplace. That makes both of these careers highly sought out, so if you have the right skills, you could make a decent living as a UI or UX designer.
Of course, if you can do both, you’ll have a significant advantage over other applicants. So, to answer the question from the title, yes, a UX designer can be a UI designer, but only on smaller projects. Complex projects will require more manpower and multiple departments.
Melissa Gray is a freelance writer and an organizational psychologist. Her focus is primarily on marketing and new digital trends across the world. She is also a passionate gamer, with special interest in narrative design. She writes for Digital Strategy One.