When you go to a restaurant, your experience – whether good or bad – depends on many factors. The food presumably must be good. Apart from that, the ambiance, service, etc., also contribute to your overall experience at the restaurant. They all contribute, essentially, to your user experience of their products and services. Although, the term is popular for its use in digital technology, user experience is critical for all industries. In the digital world user experience is referred to as UX, which is often interchangeably used with UI. Let’s find out what the difference is between the two, and how they are important for products.
UX vs UI
UI stands for ‘user interface’. It denotes how a user interacts with an interface. The UI designer is responsible for managing everything that appears on screen. This includes buttons, text, pixels, etc. They are the architects of the interaction that unfolds between users and webpages or software. For this reason, the UI designer must understand how humans interact with machines to improve user experience.
UX stands for ‘user experience’. It is a broader term than UI, as it goes beyond simple interface to include aspects of research, graphic design, etc. Professionals designing user experience must be able to create mind maps, gather feedback from users, carry out quantitative and qualitative research that helps understand how users experience their product, etc. Additionally, they should possess good soft skills to deal with angry users, who are unhappy with their user experience.
A Brief History
Some argue user experience originated around the time Leonardo da Vinci was alive. But a more recent and significant milestone can be found in the year 1955, when industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss published the book ‘Designing for People’. The book talked about how the design of a product was crucial for how people experienced it. Subsequently, in the 70s, user experience gained more prominence when computers became popular. The invention of the computer mouse and GUI were significant steps to improve how the computer was experienced by its users.
In 1995, Don Norman, a cognitive scientist and designer coined the term ‘user experience’ to describe the set of activities that his team engaged in at Apple. The company’s products like the iPhone are good examples of what products can achieve by focusing on user experience. It was one of Steve Job’s mission to deliver a phone that was easier to use in comparison with other smart phones. Apple’s focus on user experience catapulted the company to make it one of the most successful companies ever.
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How to Become a UX Designer?
The good news is that you do not require a degree in UI or UX to become a UX designer. Having said that, a certificate in one of the two would be feather in your cap that could open doors for you when looking for a job. There are a number of online and offline centers that provide training in these subjects. The teach tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, Principle, After Effects, etc. UX platforms like InVision and UXPin are also useful to design user experience.
UX designing can differ greatly from site to site, depending on its purpose. For example, designing for an e-learning platform will not be the same as designing for a gaming website. The UX designer must possess good analytical skills to observe and study user behavior and response on interface. They should be naturally curious, must possess an eye for detail, and be self-starters, who keep updating themselves with the latest in the field.
Famous UX Designers
Steve Jobs is arguably the most popular UX designer of all times. Then there are others like Scott Jenson, who has been in user interface design for decades. He was responsible for multiple OS releases and mobile UIs, and has been credited for the UX of Google Maps on mobiles. Luke Wroblewski is another key figure. His designs have been used by over a billion people. He has led the design teams at Google, Yahoo, eBay, NCSA, etc.
The Ever Increasing Demand for Designers
With more companies like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft paying attention to design and user experience, the demand for this skill has grown exponentially. Companies that focus on design outperformed the S&P 500 by 219%. And, the growth rate of UX designers has been stable at around 30%. The average salary of a user experience designer at Google in the US is $ 115,567 and at Microsoft is $ 104,215. In the US, New York, San Francisco and Seattle are the places to live in for UX designers. In India, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai offer most opportunities for UX designers.
Businesses value their customers, and user experience is crucial in retaining them. Hence, UX designers are going to be extremely important to the ambitions of businesses in the coming years. If you are creative, and think you can deliver good product experiences, then a career in user design is definitely for you. Join AcadGild to hone your skills and kick start your career as a user experience designer.
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