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Interface Design

We deal with interfaces daily all the time. It is in the social networks, dashboard elements in the car, TV controller, voice control of the smart house, and buttons dashboard in the elevator. The area of UX/UI usage is wider than only applications and software. In this article we will answer the most popular questions about UX/UI design, will tell how to begin the studying, and ask Dennys Lynnik – the New Line Technologies designer to share his experience. So, take a seat and add the page to “favorites” to keep all the important insights 😉

What is the difference between UX and UI?

Let’s kick off with the definition of UX and UI, and what’s the difference between them.

UX («user experience») – is an experience, that a user gets during the interaction with the product or service.

Simply put, user experience is the feelings and emotions of the people which they receive during interaction with smth. UX designer creates the environment that may influence the user’s experience with the help of comfortability, ergonomics, system’s logical behavior, and reducing the amount of defects.

Example situation: the writing on the entrance door “open” and “closed”. The door has two functions: entrance and exit. UX-designer decides how to place and mark it, how to make an appropriate guidance, and how to find the comfortable height and width to make the door easy to use.

* IMG Twitter @crazy_kutas

UI («user іnterface») — is a user interface: buttons, input fields, and other ways of interacting with the site. Here may be found a lot of comparisons with landscape or interior designers. UI design surrounds us and it is not only about beauty but about beauty, comfort, and comprehension. 

It happens quite often that the application or landing corresponds to the requirements but is confusing. Negative user experience for developers can be unseen for users. Let’s have a closer look what are the tasks for the UI designer:

  • to create the interface according to demands;
  • to develop the graphic part of the interface (fonts, colors, buttons, pictures, animations, etc.)
  • to improve the user’s interaction with the product making it more comprehensive for a user;
  • to evoke positive emotions when you used it.

Let’s circle back to the example with the door. It is the UI designer who can shape the necessary form, and select the appropriate color which would not confuse the user.

UI and UX are firmly tied. UX is about functionality, and UI is about visual art, form, color, detailed space, and style. UX and UI complete each other but perform different tasks. UX can not be implemented without UI design. Probably, a beautiful interface which is developed without a deep understanding of the user’s needs – will fall through.

The designer’s task is to create an interface that is understandable on an intuitive level so that the user would have no questions such as “How to do this?” or “Where is it?”, and at the same time, it could lead to the expected result, whether it is ordering pizza or setting an alarm clock.

And never forget the simple rule: “Good design is design that you don’t notice”!

Denis, what do you consider important in interface design?

One of the most important cases in design creation is the manifestation of empathy (the ability to understand and identify yourself with the context, emotions, goals, and motives of another person). This is a great tool if we have enough information about the target audience of our product. Showing empathy will help you make the right choice if you have several options for solving a UX problem.

Is it necessary to allocate budget and effort to the design interface, is it really so important?

Excessive savings on UX / UI lead to technical support costs, and regular bug fixes, not to mention a damaged product rating in the market. Modern design as a beautiful wrapper is not a human interface; the key to this humanity is designing for a real user.

Don’t forget about the competition. In the 21st century, every product has competition. The appearance of development can greatly affect its viability in the market and set you apart from similar offers. Too complicated or an ill-conceived simple interface can ruin the whole impression of any web service or mobile application.

UX / UI design: where to start if you have no experience?

Are you interested in design development, but you do not know where to start studying it?

If you did not choose the right faculty at the university at the time, this is not a reason to despair;) The profession of a designer can be mastered at any age, and experience depends on desire! In the modern world, there are 2 ways to learn a new profession: courses and self-study.

UX-UI design courses are available offline and online.

Offline courses.

They require a lot of time, but they are good because they have a clear schedule and program. You will always receive feedback in time, you will have a calendar of classes and a training program that includes live communication and answers to questions right on the spot. The courses will also provide a certain level of discipline. Even if there is a strong motivation to study, no one has canceled the accompanying laziness and postponing for tomorrow. The disadvantages can be the high cost of classes, time-consuming and inconvenient schedule, which is critical for those who studies or works. Also, courses are located in larger cities, it is not always possible to visit them for those who do not live there.

Online courses.

You can take several courses at the same time, at any convenient time, and in any place. Many of them are free. A possible drawback is that there is no feedback, and not always “there is someone to ask”. In addition, the risk of dropping out of an online course, especially a free one, is higher compared to an offline class that is paid in advance.

Courses will not make you a specialist that top companies will immediately want to hire. But such classes provide basic knowledge and a vector for further development. The goal of any training is to master the basic knowledge and become more “flexible” to adapt to the processes. Each company has its own characteristics, the usual rhythm of work, and a person must be prepared for the fact that something in this process will be different from what he already knows. You need to be able to adapt quickly.

It is necessary to understand that courses are not a panacea! Self-learning in any case is an important component. It is necessary to replenish the “piggy bank” of knowledge with the help of relevant literature, articles, attend thematic meetings and lectures.

As in any profession, a specialist is valuable, for whom his field of activity does not just work “by the clock but”, as a way of life.

Denis, can you give a couple of useful tips to a rookie UX/UI designer?

I would advise you to pay more attention to the work of other designers. It doesn’t have to be Dribbble shots or Behance case studies, design is all around us. For example, you can analyze how a designer combined colors on cookie packaging or how he worked with text on a magazine cover.

How to start learning UX/UI design? Recommendations.

As in any business, you should first master the theory and practice.

Theory. To get started, learn the basic concepts: what is UX design, usability and its principles, UX patterns, guidelines and best practices. Go through the basics of usability testing: what it is, what methods exist, how qualitative differs from quantitative ones, and why they are needed. Think about what and for whom it would be interesting to create: applications, websites, specific products, services, for business (B2B) or end-users (B2C), and so on.

Practice. Find out what is the difference between mockup, wireframe, and prototype. Learn what tools are available.

Recommendations in software and applications for UX / UI designers.

There is a lot of ​​trends in design and just as many tools. I would like to advise, no matter what application you are working in, try to learn as many functions of your tool as possible. It is much easier to work when you know all the functionality, then the thought “How to do this?” does not even appear. I work in Figma most of the time and use the Figma mirror mobile app as a guide if I’m designing a mobile interface. But sometimes the functionality of Figma is not enough, and you have to work in Illustrator or Photoshop, so I advise you to familiarize yourself with these tools at a basic level. Watch/listen, the YouTube channel is “Disarto“, there are many helpful videos explaining the basic functions of the Figma tool. As for theory, I strongly advise you to subscribe to PRJCTR and watch/listen to everything that is in the “Interface design” tab.

During the training, periodically look at UX/UI design job offers – they will help you find out what different companies require from a designer and assess what knowledge you already have and what needs to be improved. Keep in mind that designer vacancies have different names: UX/UI designer, UX expert, Product designer, UX analyst, Lead designer, Strong UX designer, UX developer, UX architect, UX researcher, UX consultant. Review them to expand your understanding of areas of responsibility.

And finally, don’t be afraid to take test interviews! Review the questions that were asked, feel free to ask your own questions during the interview to understand the real requirements.

Thanks to our colleague Denis for participating!