Why UX Designers Need UI Skills

Given that the field of User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) designing is still relatively new, there is really no fixed path that one needs to follow to become a UI/UX designer. This explains why the UI/UX industry is full of designers from a diverse range of multi-faceted backgrounds. In a way, a lot of the skills needed to be a successful UI/UX designer, like visual designing and software development, are transferable.

While UX designers use prototypes and wireframes to create a framework that enhances user experience, UI designers use that framework and transform it into an attractive interface full of color and style. Even though a lot of web designers in Kuwait possess both UX and UI skills (a part of the reason why we’ve been using the two terms in conjunction so far), and even though UI and UX designers work closely together in the development of a product, both roles deserve their own category and have distinct specifications.

UX, in the digital world, is all about the actual design of the website or application. It focuses on the user’s complete experience and encompasses all digital interactions between a user and the company. Specifically, it creates structural design solutions for the user’s entire journey in order to enhance user experience. It’s less about the visuals and more about the overall feel of the product. And it relies on ease, efficiency, and relevancy to elevate experience.

UI, on the other hand, is all about the aesthetic experience of the website or application. Since “interface” means any point of interaction between the user and a digital device, it focuses on the visual touchpoints that facilitate user interaction. It does this by using elements like typography, color palettes, animation, and imagery to create an aesthetically pleasing product. While UX is concerned more with product optimization, UI pays attention to product presentation.

Despite these clear differences, UX and UI go hand in hand. A good-looking product with a poor user experience is just as unpleasant as a very usable product that looks terrible. Without one, the other is not so valuable, but both together have the potential to create a wildly successful product. In fact, in light of today’s competitive market, it’s essential for web design companies in Kuwait to get both the UX and UI of product design right.

Today, a lot of freelance employers and Kuwait website development companies look for designers that possess both UX and UI skills. This is because the work of UI and UX designers falls in the pre-development stage of a project, so employers often wish to wrap up the initial phase with a single person. As a UX designer, if you take the time to learn some UI design skills and techniques, you can vastly improve your deliverables, especially when it comes to wireframing and prototyping. These include:

  • Responsive layouts and grid systems: Grid systems are often used by UI designers to align design elements correctly and allow them to be rescaled in a responsive environment, so that the application or website can be accessed perfectly on devices of any size. These grid systems can be incorporated by UX designers into wireframes. You will not only be able to add more visual appeal to your work, but will also simplify transition and handoff to UI designers by giving them a seamless base to start from. Sketch is a great all-in-one designing platform that can do wonders for wireframe handoffs.
  • Visual hierarchy: UX designers usually establish information hierarchy by positioning content in the correct order on a page. UI designers then use visual hierarchy to elevate the design and guide users effectively. If UX designers, in addition to using position on the page, also learn to incorporate elements like font type, size, colors, and some animation in their wireframes and prototypes, the user’s journey through the product can be improved significantly.
  • Typography: Typography is more the forte of UI designers who familiarize themselves with hundreds of fonts to ensure that users are getting the message that is intended. Experimenting with these plethora of fonts in UX designs can add an extra layer of visual appeal and can help you communicate your message more effectively.
  • Color theory: Colors have a very real emotional effect on an audience. Although colors are extensively dealt with by UI web designers in Kuwait, a little color theory research on your part will go a long way in fulfilling the users’ needs. It will help you make sound recommendations and give you some direction if you wish to add some color to your designs. (Also, we have an entire blog on how you can use colors to shape your brand image and drive conversion, so check it out!)
  • Animation: Once again, even though UI designers are experts at creating animation, a lot of UX designers’ arsenal today consists of animating tools that can be experimented with, so that they can recommend animations that best draw user attention and meet user needs.
  • Application development: As a bonus, it can be really helpful to gain a basic understanding of programming languages like JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc. Even though coding is usually done by web and app developers in Kuwait, understanding how applications are actually developed will allow you, as a UX designer, to have more realistic expectations about the possibilities of your design. Plus, when you want to make minor changes to the code during your testing and reiterating process, you can do so without a developer’s help. You will also be able to communicate more effectively with the development team. Finally, you can ease your transition from a UX designer to a UX engineer or UI developer if you choose to do so in the future, or simply become more desirable for smaller companies who are looking for candidates with wider skill sets.

As you can see, there’s a lot that it takes to be a well-rounded and skillful UX designer. Along with being an expert of your own field, the industry standard relies on UX designers to have a wide variety of skills that complement their work. You can choose to expand your knowledge through formal education like online certification programs or by simply utilizing the multitude of free online resources including books, lessons, podcasts, and blogs that are out there.

If you wish to take a sneak peak at the amazing work our UX/UI designers do at Design Master, a professional web design and development company in Kuwait, take a look at our portfolio!

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