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What is a UI designer

Definition: A UI designer is a specialized role in the design field, responsible for creating user interfaces for digital products. The term UI (User Interface) refers to all aspects of how a user interacts with a product, including its appearance layout, and the terminology used to describe it. 

A UI designer works closely with other members of the product team — including developers, marketers, brand managers, product lead, copywriters, and others — to ensure the design of a digital product is user-friendly, efficient, intuitive, and visually appealing.

UI designers are often involved in every stage of development for a product, from the initial concept to the final release. At smaller startups or agencies, UI designers may manage the entire design process. However, at larger companies that employ many different designers, UI design is usually just one of several specialized tracks in the field of user experience (UX).

What does a UI designer do?

UI designers have the same goal as UX designers: to improve the overall experience of using a product. But, UI designers focus on the user's visual experience with an interface.

It's the UI designer's job to make sure that navigation from point A to point B is easy, and he does that by creating buttons, sliders, checkboxes, etc.

Example of UI design in Figma.

Responsibilities of a UI designer are:

  • Ensuring consistency by creating visual language or a style guide throughout the website, an app, video game, etc.
  • Designing layouts and visual schemes of every screen that the user interacts with (by clicking on a button or swiping), to create intuitive user experience 
  • Creates ways of interacting with each of the UI elements (checklists, dropdown menus, buttons, sliders, search fields, text fields, etc.)
  • Ensuring that the chosen layout will function across different screen sizes.

Difference between UI and UX designer

UI and UX designers have the same goal when working on a product, but they focus on different aspects of the user’s interaction with it:

  1. UI designer designs the visual aspect of UI elements such as buttons, checklists, sliders, text boxes, date boxes, etc. 
  2. UX designers make that product or service usable and enjoyable. They focus on an entire interaction a user has with a product.

Phases of UI design

Job of a UI designer is split into two categories, each of which consists of four stages:

Research process

  1. Brief: a document that includes the main goals and tasks of a UI designer.
  2. Creating Personas: researching the target audience for that software.
  3. Screen section scheme: personalizing each screen that’s opened by clicking a button.
  4. User behavior diagram: diagrams are based on sections and screens through which a user navigates, and they are created as a visualization tool for understanding that software. 

Designing process:

  1. Sketching: a brainstorming phase where UI and UX designers sketch rough outlines for each interface idea and choose the best ones to work on.
  2. Wireframing: the main phase where UI and UX programmers design the future appearance and positions of interface elements and create a working prototype.
  3. Visualization: deciding on colors, style, fonts, brands, and other visual elements according to the owner’s demand.
  4. Slicing: a technical phase of alpha testing the quality of interface elements and preparing them for the software development stage.

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Article FAQs

What tools do UI designers use?
UI designers use design tools such as Sketch and AdobeXD; and prototyping tools such as InVision, Zeplin, Balsamiq, Figma, and Flinto.
What skills do UI designers need?
Understanding of color theory, typography, and UI design patterns Knowledge of how a design functions (the Gestalt Principle) Proficiency in using the tools mentioned above Good communication and collaboration skills when working with a team
Where do UI designers work?
UI designers work in the computing, software, and informational technology industries. Small and startup companies often hire hybrid UI/UX designers, but with the market evolving, more prominent companies tend to have separate designers for separate positions.

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