If you are reading this article it is very likely that you have heard about UX Design and, perhaps, you would like to know more about how to become a UX designer, how it is a highly sought-after figure, and offers promising career developments.
In this guide you will be able to clarify the definition of UX Designer, the skills required and what are the steps to take to undertake this professional path.
But I would like to make a premise: to become a UX Designer there are no shortcuts. It needs a lot of study and practice, along with strong personal motivation. The good news, however, is that it is a profession accessible to everyone, even for those starting from scratch, and in this article, I’ll explain why.
Who is the UX Designer?
The UX Designer is a recently developed professional figure, who has experienced growing demand in parallel with the digital transformation of companies.
Today, most commercial activities or services come into contact with their target through interfaces such as websites, apps, or software. In the great battle for online engagement, one of the winning cards that a company can play is being able to offer an excellent User Experience.
The User Experience is about digital products, which involve personal emotions and perceptions concerning, for example, usefulness, ease of use, and interface effectiveness.
If you want to become a UX Designer, your mission will be to make the user experience as pleasant as possible.
In general, to get a good UX, the interface must be simple and intuitive, and, possibly, inspire enthusiasm. Only in this way will the digital product trigger positive emotions in the user, who will let himself be guided towards the desired action.
The UX Designer must therefore place the user at the center of his activity and thoroughly analyze the mental models, so as to outline a satisfying customer journey.
Not only technical and IT knowledge, therefore, but a good UX Designer will have skills that embrace the fields of psychology, communication, and visual design.
What activities does a UX Designer do?
Talking about design in general, we can say that’s halfway between the creative and the artistic, on the contrary, the UX Designer works a lot on the analysis and data collection.
To become UX Designer, the main activities that you will have to deal with can be summarized in 4 macro-areas:
- Research: research and test to understand how users behave. It will use the data to make decisions and build suitable pathways.
- Interaction design: it’s about studies and outlines of the user’s customer journey, and designing the skeleton of the digital product.
- Design the interface: it’s about working on the design and graphic aspects of the interface.
- Writing texts: copies and texts are UX, and microcopies help to guide the user’s action.
What about job positions for UX Designers?
The role of the UX Designer is highly on-demand all around the world, especially in the US and Europe, it is among the 5 most requested digital professions by companies.
However, it is a figure that requires deep specialization and experience and, since many companies cannot afford very large teams, often UX Designers also perform the functions of UI Designer, UX Writer, User Researcher, and Content Designer.
About salaries, according to uxdesignersalaries.com, the average annual gross salary of a UX Designer in the UX starts from a base of 80K for junior figures, up to 180K for senior professionals. In Europe, Juniors start from 28K and Senior are around 100K.
Furthermore, it is a profession that can be carried out 100% remotely and therefore is suitable both for stable employment and for those who have chosen a freelance career.
In addition to the knowledge of web design principles and of programs and tools such as Figma or Sketch, the main skills required include a good dose of creativity, sensitivity and empathy.
How to become UX Designer?
If you’ve decided to take this career path, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start working on your education.
In addition to signing up for a certified training course that can guide you and provide you with a solid foundation of essential knowledge and skills, there are several activities that you can already start doing at (almost) zero cost.
In fact, to become UX Designer you don’t need a degree, but you certainly need a lot of studies and a lot of practice.
Here’s what you can do right now:
- Read books on the subject. In this article, you will find a constantly updated list of interesting and absolutely valid titles to start your training or to keep up to date on the latest trends. The books cited are divided into the four macro-areas: research, interaction design, visual design, writing.
- Find a mentor who can follow your career growth. Although you can study the concepts on your own, it requires a lot of practice and it is important to receive feedback from a professional.
- Learn how to use the most important tools, such as Figma, Sketch, or Adobe XD.
- As you gain experience, create and update your online portfolio. If you have the opportunity, create your own website where you can show your work. Otherwise find a way to share it online, for example on sites like Behance, or a simple Google Drive folder.
UX Designer tools: Sketch, Figma e AdobeXD
As said in the previous paragraph, in order to become UX Designer you need to learn how to use design tools. The most used are Sketch, Figma and Adobe XD. There is no order of priority and each of the three is distinguished by some characteristics and strengths. It is important to become familiar with this type of software not only to give a tangible shape to your work, but also to collaborate with colleagues and other professionals who deal with UX.
Here is a brief description of each tool:
It is a professional software for mac OS that allows you to design a digital product. It is an application with an intuitive interface, which allows you to create vector graphics with ease. Cloud-based, Sketch allows members of the same team to collaborate, working together on a shared project.
The software has its annual license for $ 99. A 30-day free trial is available.
Figma is a web platform for designing digital interfaces, such as websites and applications. It works on all operating systems, iOS, Windows, and even Linux, it can be used in a freemium version (free for up to 3 projects, then for a fee starting from 12 USD per month).
The interface is also very intuitive and accessible to those less experienced in web design, the projects are all automatically saved in the cloud and it is possible to collaborate in real time with your collaborators. The work can be exported in PDF or vector format, or you can simply share the project URL. It also has a prototyping tool for making interactive screens.
It is software from the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and the name reveals its purpose. XD stands for eXperience Design and serves, in fact, to create prototypes, wireframes, and animations. Available on macOS and Windows, this software allows you to design your UX and UI with ease, with the ability to create a real working mockup, to share with collaborators and customers.
Free in its basic version, the subscription starts at 12.19 Euros per month. It’s also included in the Adobe Suite Pack.
Become UX Designer: what are the best online courses?
In order to become UX Designer you will have many options, one of the best is attending an online course combining theory with practice with the help of a mentor.
Our courses are in fact the right mix of theoretical lessons and practical exercises: at the beginning of the course, you will be assigned to a mentor who will follow you every day if needed and who will approve the exercises.
All our UX Design courses are 100% online and on-demand, with no extra costs, so you can independently manage your study hours according to your commitments.
At the end of the course, if you have completed and passed all the practice tests, you will receive a UX certificate attesting to your skills.
The course catalog includes:
The User Research course focuses on the study and analysis of user behavior.
In this course, you will learn, for example, how to make a competitor analysis, how to conduct interviews and questionnaires, and how to build User Personas, empathy maps, and Customer Journeys. The research work should be done before the design of a digital product and the deliverables of this area will guide the decisions to be made in the interaction design step. If you want to become UX Designer this is a fundamental path, research is the basis of UX.
During the Interaction Design course, our students will learn the core skills of the UX Designer activity. Starting from the study of information architecture (IA), the goal of the course is to learn how to conduct a heuristic analysis, perform a content audit, and build a sitemap, user flows, and an interactive wireframe. One module of the course is entirely dedicated to designing with Sketch, Figma, and AdobeXD.
If you want to become UX Designer, Interaction Design is the heart of UX.
During the Visual Design course, we focus on designing and creating the wireframe and layout. The ultimate goal is to design a User Interface following the brand identity. Some important topics covered include the visual hierarchy, how to use colors, the fundamentals of typography, which shapes and images to choose to improve the UX, and how to create animations.
Among the extra contents, there are also two modules dedicated to the principles of UX Writing and the topic of web accessibility.
This course is aimed at those who want to deal with content writing, a very growing trend around the world.
During the course, the students will learn the main techniques for writing digital content, copy and micro-copy in a digital product. Furthermore, there is a big part related to topics such as: how to define the tone of voice, how to draw up a style guide, and how to test the contents of a digital interface. A final module focuses on how to find work as a UX Writer. This area concerns the whole aspect of communication, always remember that everything we read is User Experience, if you want to become UX Designer you cannot leave out this area.
This bundle includes all the courses at our school. Over 500 hours of written lessons, video tutorials, unlimited mentor support, and exercises. This course is ideal for becoming a UX Designer without missing out on any aspect of the User Experience.
Also, during all our courses, you will be asked to build your own digital project (a website or an app). All courses are also enriched with extra content and real case studies, plus a final module to build your UX portfolio.
It never expires. The lessons will be at your disposal forever.
Become UX Designer: don’t stop learning
As in all areas involving the digital world, UX design evolves and changes over time. If you want to become UX Designer you will have to stay competitive in the market and improve your skills, by the following news, trends, and online communities.
In particular, UX communities are an excellent space to interact with professionals in the sector and a virtual place to establish important collaborations or to receive feedback on your work. Furthermore, communities are very useful for finding inspiration and stimulating creativity.
For example, you can follow the best professionals on Behance or Dribbble, or subscribe to thematic Facebook groups, like our private UX group.
Become UX designer: Conclusions
In order to become UX Designer it is important to immediately improve your knowledge and combine practice with theory.
Remember that it is a role that is open to everyone and that it will get strong developments in the coming years, but the skills required will be increasingly specific. For this reason, it is important to lay a solid foundation, for example, with a certified training course, and it is essential to find a mentor who can support you during portfolio creation.
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