Want to level up your career and give it a new direction? These 7 career tips will make that transition from UI to UX designer a cakewalk
You want to change career not you’re sure where to begin. Are you wondering what to learn? What skills do you need? Is there a manual for this?
Relax. You’re not the first UI designer to make this leap and you won’t be the last. Justinmind’s rustled up these 7 career tips on how you can successfully make that transition. Let’s get into it.
Decide UX is what you want to do
There are a number of UX channels on Slack, communities on Facebook and examples on Behance where UI designers show their work. They’ll say “what do you think of the UX?”. A lot of the time, unfortunately, this work is UI design masquerading as UX.
I don’t blame UI designers. Old habits die hard. But UX design is not UI design.
A user interface doesn’t tell us anything about:
- How usable it is
- How it was tested
- How you arrived at this final design
UX is very glitzy. It’s growing in popularity. It looks like a ton of fun (and it is) but not every UI designer is cut out to be a UX designer. They require different skills, which we’ll touch on.
That’s why you should research the field extensively. Ask yourself why you want to make this change? It is because it’s popular or because fundamentally you want to defend the users and create awesome experiences?
To get a feel for the type of thinking involved in UX design, there are 5 starter books you can read. These books will act as an introduction to user experience design and give you a better idea of what it all entails.
- The Design of Everyday Things — Don Norman
- Prioritizing Web Usability — Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger
- About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design — Alan Cooper
- Communicating Design — Dan M. Brown
- A Project Guide to UX Design — Russ Unger
Understand the power of genuine collaboration
A UX designer is not an island. They are involved in the lives of engineers, researchers, writers, UI designers and stakeholders.
UI designers will typically concern themselves with what the user will see and there’s a tendency to make things look good over functionality. On the other hand, UX designers concern themselves with how good the experience is for the user and how to maximize usability.
It’s a difference worth highlighting. UX designers have to interact with a lot of departments and people. If you’re a UI designer that prefers to pop your headphones on and knuckle down then you’ll need to adjust these qualities.
Take an online (or offline) course
A good foundation in UX can be the springboard to a new career. There are many courses you can choose from to help you get there.
If you’d like something slow-paced and done at home or you’d prefer to sit in a classroom with other students there’s something for every style of learning.
The beauty of so many courses being available is that no matter your budget, you’re guaranteed to find something suitable.
When it comes to online courses — or even courses at universities and institutions — the highest price doesn’t always mean the best quality.
Do your research. Ask around on Slack or Twitter and find people who have done the courses you’re interested in. You can get valuable information from them like how the course is structured, whether it was beneficial and if it helped them get a job as a UX designer.
Leave your ego at the door
UX design is user-centered. It’s about them, not you. There is absolutely no room for your ego in this line of work.
When your ego takes a seat at the table, the user has to leave.
Grow your self-awareness and develop empathy where possible. These skills are vital for any successful UX designer.
A good dose of empathy can give you the power to create transformative experiences, experiences that go as smooth as possible. Ego? Well, that gives you a sense of importance, sure… but who likes someone with a big ego? Nobody.
Claire Rackstraw, nurse turned UXer, in CareerFoundry writes that in order to successfully build a rapport with patients and their families, she needed to empathize with them.
She goes on to say the best way to get there is through observation. Watch people interact with your design. Soon you’ll see what works for them and what doesn’t.
Learn about statistics and analytics
UX design features a lot (no, really, tons) of user research. Good UX design does, at least.
Companies that understand and value user experience design will have a budget for research. That’s how you learn about who is using your products and services and how you make them better. Without research, well… actually, let’s not go there.
If you’re a UI designer, you might shy away from this sort of thing. It sounds all very scientific. But, that’s UX for you. Your heart and soul may have gone into that user interface design but if the numbers are stacked against you, kiss that UI goodbye.
Having your design critiqued is essential in UX because if it doesn’t work for the user, your design isn’t very good here. Detaching yourself from your creations is vital and so is learning to take criticism.
Lynda.com and Skillshare have a ton of resources for brushing up on these skills, so you don’t have to go very far to get your knowledge up to scratch.
Stock up on soft skills
Leow Hou Teng makes an interesting point in UX planet. He argues that UI designers are faced with upskilling every time there’s a new design tool on the scene. But UX designers have timeless, transferable skills that can be applied in other fields.
He writes “UX skills can withstand the test of time. Soft skills honed through user research, collaboration with stakeholders, etc, are transferable to future jobs.”
It’s Leow’s belief that UX is a more holistic approach than UI design. Granted, UI designers have soft skills too. But the nature of user experience means that UX designers are more rounded in their capabilities and skills.
Network like there’s no tomorrow
The old adage of it’s not what you know, it’s who you know rings true in UX design as it does anywhere else.
The value of networking, even if it’s virtual on a platform like Slack, can’t be understated.
Through networking, you can find mentors to guide you. You can ask questions and get advice. You can offer your own expertise to people who need UI design help. You can create successful collaborations with potential entrepreneurs. You could even swing a position shadowing a UX designer to get a real-life feel for the job. There is no limit.
But you have to put in the work. You can’t swan into a Meetup and expect that cushy UX job to fall into your lap. No, no. You have to really work. That means being genuine with the people around you. Helping them without expectation. Building relationships based on mutual respect.
UX jobs are in high demand (psst, check out these 5 cities hot for UX jobs). When a design lead is hiring, how do you come top of mind?
- Join Meetups and attend them (better yet, start your own Meetup!)
- Make the effort to connect in real life with people
- Offer your help when you can
- Share what you’re working on
- Write about your experience and expertise
Those five things will demonstrate that you’re someone who’s got passion and is engaged in what they’re doing.
How to transition from UI to UX designer — the takeaway
The leap from UI designer to UX designer isn’t massive. You can do it with a little work and some grit.
All you need is the motivation to make the change. Then put these 7 tips into practice and you’ll be well on your way. Good luck.
Source link https://uxplanet.org/how-to-transition-from-ui-to-ux-designer-7-career-tips-ad02879a5df4?source=rss—-819cc2aaeee0—4