On your way to becoming a UX practitioner? Congratulations, you are about to embrace a state-of-the-art (yes, pun intended) concept. First things first, don’t confuse UX with the prototype.

A lot of beginners get on the wrong path to practice prototypes when they start with UX. Fortunately, things have become better and people now are aware of and recognize the difference between graphic designers and other general web design professionals, which was earlier minced together as a field. To kickstart your career in UX you must get down to basics.

Hire UX Designer

An essential thing that sustains UX is exploration and that comes through user research. As a designer new to the horizon, you have to work on three things to prove your mark- learning UX, practicing UX design and creating solid UX connections.

With more and more people keen on breaking into the field, here are some tips and tricks that will come in handy for every designer-

What Is The Difference Between UI and UX Designer?

Know The Difference

You can never grow in UX if you aren’t clear about the basic terminology i.e. the difference between UI and UX. Mixing both will make a botch of things. Let’s understand the difference here. UI is for user interface and is not that broad as a discipline as UX is.

UI designers created the interface system that is somewhat like the skin of the product. In large-scale organizations, UI designers can handle a majority of the design process themselves and are even specialized in detailing the layouts or determining the flow of the experience. UX means user experience.

In simple words, this is how the user feels about a product. UX professionals are well aware of what people look for in certain products and thus, can conveniently deliver an awesome experience with a physical or digital product.

A talented UX designer benefits from interaction design, visual design, information architecture, content strategy and also UI design. So, we can say, UX is formed with the help of UI, amongst other factors.

The two may follow different methodologies but they are certainly knitted together. Yes, you can’t create an attractive UI unless you are aware of the laws of a good UX design.

Similarly, it is impossible to deliver a perfect experience if you are clueless about making an interface that makes people happy and achieves their goals.

Clear Understanding

One of the biggest blunders that novices do is getting way too thrilled with the prospect of designing. They start brainstorming on paper as soon as they get a spark of an idea.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with getting enthusiastic or in brainstorming, but for efficient design, you must understand the problem first.

Try to decode the ‘why’ behind the problem before proceeding on to ‘how’. Go for proper research before you let pen and paper grip your imagination. Think over deeper questions before you start giving answers.


What Is The UX Design Process?


Tool Kit

Awareness and expertise won’t do much unless you have excellent tools in your kit. These aren’t necessarily high-tech as you might be thinking. As a matter of fact, an old-fashioned pad and pencil make you set for sketching before you start digitizing them.

You will find that even UX experts carry a sketchpad with them to chalk out ideas. For good practice, try sketching some of the already existing sites and this will impart in-depth knowledge of UX that you might still be ignorant with.

There are other options too. Like you can create a rough wireframe or prototype in Powerpoint or Keynote, or just a mockup in Photoshop or Sketch or further create a prototype directly in code. Most of the UX designers honed their skills with these tools when they started their journey, so there is no harm in broadening your technical horizon.


Which Are The Best 20 Wireframe Tools?


Adapt to Your Surroundings

All the devices are not based on the same working principles and even their pros and cons vary to a great extent. These not only cover technical advancements but also design innovations and use cases. If you are creating an app for iOS, you can utilize the benefit of 3D touch feature.

There won’t be much hassle as you don’t have too many screen sizes to consider. Do notice if you are going for older OS versions. While designing for Android, don’t neglect whether it is compatible with tablets or not.

Conducting research on densities is a good option as the platform follows guidelines that include Density-Independent Pixels (dp) as a unit of measurement. Study the device you are designing for. Go through the official user interface guidelines so as to not violate any standard use case of your users.


What Is The Future of Gesture Control and UI?


All Possible Cases

As an amateur, the general tendency is to run after standard user flows and forget about the unusual cases. Yes, you can’t think about every use case.

We human beings can’t be so intuitive that we guess everything beforehand. But at least you can try. Even after you go live with the app, keep collecting feedback and data in order to tackle existing problems.

The agenda here is to reduce casualties to as much as possible before going live if you can. Don’t get apprehensive, just relax and try to think something different, something that grants you more control over things.

This also works in reference to the states of your elements. Each element might encompass different elements. The most common mistake committed here is to not have empty states. You go to be proactive as a designer. Don’t get so blind with the standard types that you lose sight of the unusual ones.


How To Define a User Persona and User Flow?


Imitate To Create

If you are new to spread your wings as a designer, it is best to either copy an existing design or re-design it.

The biggest problem that you might face sometimes is where to start. For that, you should just pick up the product and try to fix it by offering solutions.

Yes, a re-design project is not something great to talk about, but for starters, it will get you in the momentum.

That said; don’t re-design any existing app or website on an empty note. First, examine it properly and try to adhere to the current branding style so as to keep it realistic for the users. Even re-designing should be with a purpose.


How To Do User Research and Market Analysis?


Don’t Defend Design

It is common to get emotionally attached to your own work. This will ultimately lead to a stage when you start defending the choices that you have made in your design and just won’t accept any negative feedback or criticisms, even though they might come across as logical.

This mentality is called cognitive bias. When you take on your next project in design, try to gather as many feedbacks as you can and make sure you control your nature to get defensive or your tendency to justify your actions.

Accepting feedback in the very first instance is challenging but if you learn to embrace others’ thoughts positively and with spirit, it actually gives you a new viewpoint towards things.

Another faux pas on this topic is, designing or creating your product by merely guessing user behavior. It is high time that you understand that you are not your user.

That means you should never build your product based on your own likes and dislikes. Instead, you must opt for user research and gather as much data as possible.

You will be surprised to see how some people use similar products that you use in a different manner, even if they don’t power users.

If you are short of resources, try to pull out information out of stakeholders because they are the right people to know their customers well.

Remember, don’t get overwhelmed with your work and let feedback polish you to your best.


How To Take User Feedback and Measure The Usability?


Develop Connections

To be a competent designer, it is important to widen your UX circle. In this era of information outbreak, it is very easy to get archived courtesy internet.

You can find professional groups and websites on the social network, which can act as a source to contact senior designers. It is best to remain active and communicate with Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Follow some senior designers on Dribble and Behance and maintain regular contact with them. Also, have regular updates in your blogs so that you create your presence in the design circuit. Lastly, join the meetup groups and seminars to be in touch with experts.

Code Power

Whether or not a UX designer should know coding is still a topic of debate. Yes, not compulsory but it can give the designer an edge in his field.

Even though front-end UI and UX designers generally don’t perform programming, knowing code can certainly create robust designs. In smaller firms, such a multifaceted approach is of great use.

As all the designs end up in code, so it is advisable to have some knowledge about it right from the beginning. Besides design, you must be comfortable with usability testing. Afterall, your design is what the data shows.

A/B testing can easily bring out your target users’ choices. Direct questions can also be asked to know the opinions straight from the users. Further, web analytics tools come handy to know the statistics of live sites for you.

Google Analytics is the best option if you want to collect aggregates of data. For UX professionals who have an inclination towards coding, the best place to begin is HTML and CSS. Frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation can even impart some skills in JavaScript, which anyways forms the basis of coding.


What A/B Testing Is & How To Use It?


How To Setup A/B Testing With Google Analytics?

Conclusion

UX is not a destination rather a journey. To be a UX practitioner, all you need is perseverance, patience, and performance that is not just ordinary but extraordinary. So, that’s it, folks. Hope this article might have served as an eye-opener to all of you aspiring designers out there who are all set to conquer the UX world.

 

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Prince Pal

UI UX Consultant Helping Digital Startups & Stakeholders Grow Their Business at Think 360 Studio
For 15+ years I have designed, developed and marketed websites/apps startups in New York, California, Florida and in India. Always focused on great User Interface is key.