UI/UX Designers Are The Heart And Soul Of 21st Century Website Design

UI/UX Designers Are The Heart And Soul Of 21st Century Website Design

Cutting-edge websites aren’t only about advanced programming languages; these are also about the lasting impression these platforms have been able to create on visitors. While app builders are responsible for quality apps, UI/UX designers have a crucial role to play here.

A truly professional app development squad, irrespective of the framework and programming language, must be equipped with solid know-how in UI/UX Design. The job of UI/UX Designers is to seamlessly incorporate the “human quotient” while designing apps and websites.

The contemporary digital world demands almost every business out there to build up a pronounced presence online today. With a rising number of businesses making a move over the web world, the competition has turned really cutthroat of late. Going by the current fierce competition standards, a website with a brilliant application isn’t enough- rather it should also demonstrate an excellent UI/UX layout. And that proves the immense importance of UI/UX designers in the web development and design team.

We will certainly discuss in detail the significance of UI/UX designers but first, let’s have a sneak peek into the concept of UI/UX, and why it’s indispensable for a website.

The What and Why of UI/UX

UI aka User Interface encompasses the different visual elements of a website which enable users to interact with your website or a device. These elements can range from pages to screens to buttons, and so on. The job of a UI designer is to create and enhance an engaging User Experience on a platform by designing user-friendly and intuitive software. The software should allow breezy navigation across all sorts of digital programs, ranging from websites to apps as well as other kinds of interactive devices.

UX aka User Experience takes into account the holistic experience a site is expected to provide to visitors. It covers the UI part of the course but also encompasses a lot of other stuff. The bottom line is – a UX designer would have to ensure that the website visitors are being able to enjoy seamless navigation while browsing throughout the website.

Some examples of UX concepts

  • The very process your site visitors underwent while discovering your brand offerings
  • Series of actions that happen while users or website visitors interact with your platform interface
  • The thoughts that pop up while they proceed to complete a task on your platform, say completing the shopping cart on an e-commerce website
  • The wholesome impression that users gather while interacting with the site overall

The modern fast-paced world demands prompt and efficient responses from apps and websites. Human attention level has plummeted big time and the quicker your platform responds, the better. Also, it should be a value-added response lest you won’t be able to retain your visitors or users on your site or app. In other words, your website can’t take more than 14 seconds to load the page contents.

Life of a UI/UX designer

Here is a brief on the roles and responsibilities that UI/UX designers have to fulfil.

Responsibilities of UI/UX designers-

  • Collection of user requirements
  • Graphic elements designing
  • Development of navigation components

A  pro designer must hold experience in designing software as well as wireframe tools. Also, s/he must have a solid portfolio bustling with professional design works, including web/mobile app projects.

Below are the pointers defining the role of UI/UX Designers-

  • Collection and evaluation of user requirements while collaborating with product managers and engineers
  • Illustration of design ideas through tools like storyboards, process flows as well as sitemaps
  • Designing of graphic UI elements, like menus, tabs, and widgets
  • Development of UI prototypes as well as mockups for websites
  • Creation of search fields and navigation buttons
  • Presentation and preparation of tough drafts for internal teams and major stakeholders
  • Develop original graphic artwork, like tables, images, and sketches
  • Adjust the layout on the basis of user feedback
  • Identify as well as troubleshoot various UX issues, such as responsiveness
  • Adherence to various style standards regarding fonts, images, and colours

What does it take to become UI/UX designer?

  • Degree in Design, Computer Science or a relevant area
  • Proven professional experience in UI/UX role
  • Solid portfolio of design projects
  • Strong know-how in wireframe tools, like Wireframe, InVision and so on
  • Upgraded knowledge of the latest design software, like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Commendable time-management expertise

Learning the ropes of becoming a UI/UX designer

Demand for UI/UX designers is rising by leaps and bounds lately, and so is the competition. So, yes, it can be a bit of a challenge if one aspires to land a job as a designer even at the entry-level with barely any kind of professional experience. In fact, organizations that are urgently looking for UI/UX designers would prefer to wait for someone with some degree of proven professional experience.

Put simply, if you desire to try your hands in the design space, it’s imperative to gather a considerable level of work experience. Good thing is, the scope of designing is vast and versatile, enabling you to choose from courses in various related fields. These could range from UI/UX design, interaction design, information architecture, product design, graphic design and so on.

Going by our current topic, let’s zoom in on UI/UX design field.

Decoding the scope of the UI/UX design field

Below are some pointers to keep in mind when you are dreaming of a stellar career as a UI/UX designer.

  • Up-close and personal with UI principles

Essentially, you need to develop a solid understanding of certain basic UI design principles. Once you are able to size up your base in these design ethos, you will be able to fathom the critical psychological aspects of the art and science of designing. In other words, understanding basic design principles would equip you with strong knowledge on what works and what doesn’t in a design.

The Basic Principles

  1. Balance- the concept of symmetry and asymmetry
  2. Colour- fundamentals of colour, vocabulary, and colour psychology
  3. Typography- how to select fonts and text that would be both legible and attractive, also relevant to the specific context of design
  4. Contrast- how the maxim of contrast can be used to create hierarchy, organize data as well as to build focus
  5. Consistency- achieving seamless consistency with intuitive and user-friendly designs
  • Eye and heart for design

The next important step is to develop your vision for design. Learn to understand both great and tacky design, the factors that differentiate them as well as the good and bad of designs. Try to gather inspiration as much as possible- it’s the key to training the eye and the mind.

Research, in-depth research, plays a crucial role here. Your mind might not be able to brainstorm out ingenious design ideas initially- don’t lose heart, study the vast sea of designs around you and try to gather inspiration. It will lead you to ideate fascinating designs in the long run.

  • Dig into the creative core of UX

Essentially, the creative aspect of UI/UX design involves 4 stages, including discovery, definition, development as well as delivery.

Discovery-  Initiation of a project during which designers plunge into in-depth research, try to gather inspiration as well as garner ideas.

Definition- Based on the previous stage, designers will define a creative idea to churn out a clear brief.

Development- The third stage is the phase in which designers will build, prototype as well as test, and iterate solutions or concepts. The stage will involve constant trial sessions till the designers reach the desired solution.

Delivery- The stage will host the finalization of the project, followed by production and launch.

  • The daily ritual of reading design articles

There is no alternative to the constant pursuit of knowledge when you are looking forward to a stellar career in your chosen field. The same rings true for designers. So, make a daily ritual to invest at least an hour or so in reading design news and blogs. The online world is booming with hundreds and thousands of articles and posts – you will be able to learn about tutorials, use instances, and also the latest trends in the design tinsel town. Subscribe to design newsletters offered by your favourite design blogs and sites to stay updated about their latest posts.

You should explore the offline world as well. New learning experiences on daily basis broaden the mind; you will also find amazing inspirations to give wings to your creative instincts.

  • Cook up a mock-up

Practice maketh a man perfect- and the old adage rings true for UI/UX designers as well. If you are looking forward to landing a smashing career in the design sector, you have to demonstrate some degree of design experience. Now, of course, you can always join somewhere as an intern; alongside, you should also invest time in drafting mock projects.

You don’t have to waste time looking for projects for mock-ups- just pin on your favourite website or app and simply redesign it. The whole practice would inspire some serious brainstorming that would do wonders to boost your creativity and design sensibility. In fact, these mock-ups would go on to make a string portfolio for your career.

Also, it would be a really fun thing to redesign your favourite site or app in your signature style.

  • Keep up with the latest web design tools

Look for the best names in the market and learn about their features and trends. Here is a brief on a bunch of cutting-edge web design tools you should be acquainted with-

  1. Sketch- great for best interface design
  2. Figma- look no further if you are in quest of a tool for premium collaborative web/app interface design
  3. Marvel- excellent for mockups interactive
  4. Adobe XD- your right hand for top-notch interface design and prototype
  5. Balsamiq- a fabulous tool for low-fidelity design wire-framing
  6. InvisionApp- your one-stop tool for prototyping and collaboration
  • Get under the wings of a mentor master

Designing is a specialized field- added to self-study, you would also need the guidance of a seasoned designer who would be your mentor. Find a UI/UX design professional who has been working in the industry for more than 5 years. He would not only be seasoned in various aspects of UI/UX design but would also hold updated knowledge about the latest design tools and trends in the industry. The smarter thing would be to look for a mentor who holds experience in working for various industries.

Learning under mentorship has been shown to accelerate the whole learning process for any field of learning, including design. With a mentor guiding you, you will receive significant industry or job-related insights that are otherwise not possible to access for a fresher.  You can clear your doubts with him/her and ask for feedback or constructive about your design ideas or mock-ups.

The mentor will help you to navigate in the right direction to elevate your proficiency in design which would eventually help you to establish yourself as an industry-leading UI/UX designer.

UI/UX Development- the Growth Torque for your Business Engine

Well, let’s go back to the basics. What’s the most elementary factor for the growth of a business? It’s easy man- just two words- Customer Satisfaction. Going by such ethos, any aspect that can improve the “satisfaction” quotient of your audience would be crucial to scaling up your business to new heights.

We have already agreed in the discussion above that UI/UX Development zooms on the pleasure and satisfaction of users. So where does that observation bring us to? UI/UX Development is instrumental to the success of a business. A client-centric business will always focus on catapulting user satisfaction to elevate the company's reputation and brand value.

The IT scene poses cut-throat competition which demands the most appealing presence online to stand out in the market. Since UI/UX design primarily pins on enhancing user satisfaction, the incorporation of UI/UX design into a site or app would work wonders to keep the audience hooked to the platform. When users will browse through an app or site, the company and also the developer should ensure user-friendly and pleasant navigation. And UI/UX development sits at the crux of ensuring easy navigation and keeping the users glued to an online business platform. No wonder, experts always emphasize UI/UX as one of the most major aspects of 21st-century web development.

How does UI/UX Design pump up the growth of a business?

A user-centric business should not rest on developing usable products only. Rather, a company must look beyond and focus on creating a pleasing experience for the users as well.  Product usability is basic but what will actually make a business stand out in a sea of competitors is the quality of experience it can create for the users. Customers love to return to businesses that make them feel good and comfortable. The whole experience has to be enjoyable if the business wants to capture a special corner in the hearts of customers. This is where UI/UX design comes to play.

Here is a brief on how UI/UX design will benefit a business-

Piques interaction quotient

What’s the one thing that can single-handedly spread the word for a business? Well, it’s the capacity of the business to inspire interaction among the audience or users.

So, creating content won’t be sufficient. If you wish to attract interaction, you should focus on creating engaging content that would make users interact with your business. These include ads, SEO-friendly text content, images, and CTAs.

UI/UX designers must also be mindful of integrating engaging techniques into the web or app interface that would command user interaction. Put simply, the content should boast an appeal quotient. Seamless consistency throughout the app or website interface is extremely crucial here. Your audience is looking for uniformity and there is nothing worse than unpredictable software here. If your content ends up baffling your users, they would simply shift to the competitors.

Rewards with a loyal army of customers

Customer loyalty is the Holy Grail of brand proliferation and business growth. No matter how amazing your offerings are, you cannot expect growth if you can’t build up a loyal army of followers. UI/UX design plays a key role for any business here.

As mentioned previously, your users are looking for a business that can assure a pleasant experience for the clients. If they enjoy doing business with you, they would be loyal to your company. A website or app which promises smooth navigation and guarantees excellent customer service will benefit from customer retention big time.

Now, to ensure such an elevated experience, UI/UX designers should proceed with a blueprint of the user journey map before they sit to develop the user interface. The map will offer them a compact idea of the whole journey of the potential customers when they will browse through the website or the app.

The user journey map must be tested extensively and that too multiple times to ensure a seamless and glitch-free interface experience for the visitors.

Accelerates word-of-the-mouth branding

Humans are social animals and they usually prefer to check out recommendations from friends and family before trying out a new business. Such ethos rings true even in the modern digital world as well. In other words, word-of-the-mouth referrals sit at the crux of acquiring new customers and scaling up a business. As UI/UX designers focus on elevating the interface design of a website or app, they are crucial to inspire word-of-the-mouth recommendations for a business on a mass scale.

If your customers find it easy and comfortable to use your website or app, they would love to spread the word among her/his social circle. The whole process has a snowball effect. One customer finds your design truly impressive and refers your website to his or her friends and family. Inspired by her/his recommendations, another bunch of potential customers decide to visit your site. If the design can win them too, they would again refer your business to their social circle. And the cycle goes on, rewarding you with an evolving customer base that would soon take your business to newer heights.

Free word-of-the-mouth recommendation from happy users is always way more powerful than paid ads.

Keeps internal costs on check

Top-notch UI/UX design will even make things more economical for a business.

UX design rests on elevating the overall experience for the end-user through attractive and comfortable web/app interface design. Best UI/UX designers always put them in the place of the end-user before creating the framework of the interface design. This brainstorming session offers them a clear idea of what the end-users are looking for and what they may not wish to see on the app/website interface. And this blueprint further helps them to find out the specific areas where the business should concentrate and invest to boost user experience. It also enables them to figure out the zones which do not need immediate attention, thereby preventing the business from wasting capital in unwanted areas.

Reduces development expenses

This point is in continuation with the point mentioned above.

A strategic UI/UX design lowers development costs, including costs of thorough user research, prototyping as well as usability testing. It helps to assure that the funds and time allocated for development are targeted on the areas that actually matter. Such a focused approach results in a more targeted design, better relevant content as well as reduced risk creep.

Winding up

Websites are now the prima donna of businesses aspiring to establish an impactful presence in the contemporary digital commerce scene. Large or small, if a business cannot manifest a strong virtual presence, it’s going to lose out on a huge chunk of potential customers. And the rise of websites creates an immensely prospective playing ground for UI/UX designers. The acceleration of the IT realm has further rocketed the demand for UI/UX designers.

We have already discussed the significance of I/UX design for a business website or for any kind of website for that matter. An industry-leading UI/UX design renders that exclusive edge to a business website that enables it to stand tall despite the cut-throat competition in the current market. But then, a superior interface design is the keyword here- a poor UI/UX design will do more harm than good to a website. It will damage the reputation of the business, and, worse, push out potential visitors and leads to competitors.

So, yes, UI/UX designers have to shoulder a mammoth responsibility on their shoulders today while designing an app or a site. UI/UX design is more of a necessity now and a dedicated UI/UX designer should focus on empowering business organizations with highly interactive, appealing as well as effective solutions.

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