When was the last time you visited a restaurant? What did you eat? Did you like the food they served music they played and the overall ambiance? Was there anything, in particular, you would love to complain about? Well, this is what user experience is in the real world. Though we use the term more commonly in the context of digital technology, UX is something that encompasses every industry regardless of whether they are digital or not. In the context of digital UX designing, we often tend to confuse ourselves between UI and UX designing. How are they different and what makes them so important for ant product? Let’s just find out.
Is UI and UX Different?
“UI” stands for “User Interface” which fundamentally involves how a user interacts with the interface. This includes the buttons, text, and pixels that appear on the screen. It is the UI designer who is responsible for everything from how a website or an application appears in the interface to the overall architecture of the pages (like putting in the sign-in button where it is necessary and the alienation of the other components in the page). For all these, the UI designer must possess a good understanding of human-machine interaction.
“UX” on the other hand stands for “User Experience” and is an umbrella term which encapsulates a much broader concept as compared to UI. Besides the interface, it also includes research, graphic design and all the systems and interactions that support it. The User experience designers must create mind maps, track user journeys and real world usage scenarios to simulate how would the target users use the product. A UX designer must conduct interviews, surveys of the potential customers and conduct quantitative analysis and collect data to gain insights on what the customer expects from the product. The UX designer should know how to take care when a frustrated user calls with complaints about the interface or how pixels appear on the screen.
A Brief History
According to some, the origin of user experience can be traced behind to as back as to the times of Leonardo da Vinci. A significant milestone in the history of user experience came in the year 1955 when industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss came up with his famous book ‘Designing for People’ which talked about the connection between people and their experience and how important that was for the successful design of a product. In the decade of 70’s the concept of user experience got rooted further with the emergence of the personal computer. Concepts like the computer-mouse and GUI are considered significant steps in this direction. In 1995, Don Norman, a cognitive scientist, and designer coined the term User Experience to describe the set of activities in which his team was engaged in at Apple Computers.
Of course, the most important leap in the history of user experience in recent times is the emergence of iPhone at MacWorld 2007. Steve Jobs had promised the users a phone, much easier to use than the existing smartphones in the market which was delivered with the iPhone. The move changed the fate of Apple making it one of the most successful companies ever.
What do You Need to Become an UX Designer?
You do not need a degree in UI or UX. However, a certificate in UI/UX designing can be a feather in your cap and can improve your chances of getting hired by a big name manifold. Several online and offline training institute offer courses in designing, sometimes at quite affordable rates. The topics covered in these courses includes handling creative tools like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Principle, Adobe After Effects. UI/UX platforms like InVision and UXPin can help build a strong portfolio.
UI/UX designing can differ greatly from site to site. Designing for an educational website will be very different from that of a video game. For this, a UX designer must possess a good deal of critical thinking ability and ability to study the behavior of the target audience to understand how they act and behave and come up with effective interfaces. Apart from these a designer must also possess an eye for detail and be naturally curious about people, pattern and the world around. Self-education is also an important virtue in this field as technology and trends constantly update itself.
The Glittering Stars
The stars in the field includes Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc. Others in the field include Scott Jenson, Luke Wroblewski , the former having worked with companies like Google and Apple and has been responsible for various different OS releases, mobile UIs and credited for UX for the Google Mobile Maps while the latter being the current Product Director at Google and possessing experience of leading design in companies like Yahoo, eBay NCSA and more.
The Ever Increasing Demand for Designers
With the emergence of design focused companies like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft the demand for skilled professionals has seen an exponential growth. Companies that invested in design outperformed the S&P 500 by 228%. and the requirement for user experience design professionals has always kept growing with a job growth rate of about 30%. The average salary offered to a Google User Experience designer is somewhere around $115,567 while that of in Microsoft gets paid approximately $104,215 in the USA. In the United States New York, San Francisco, and Seattle are some of the best places to live in for UX designers while in India, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai are some of the best cities with designing opportunities.
Businesses value their customers and user experience is an important criterion why the customers come back. This clearly speaks why designing will remain relevant for ages regardless of the technologies that will emerge in the future. If you think you possess a knack for creativity, passion for creating a product experience that can make people change their habits, then go ahead and make your dream come true. If you need some help in your journey, you can do a short course in designing offered by AcadGild, hone up your skills and design the next big product which might change the world.
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