How to be a self taught UI / UX Designer

To become a UI/UX designer

Allow me to make a few assumptions about you:

1. As a kid you enjoyed the freedom and creativity in making cartoons and designing random things that came to your head.

2. Visual Design and Product thinking interests you.

3. Tech jobs are your dream.

4. You love playing with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch.

If yes, you are DEFINITELY on the right track!

Designing is not only about being attractive. It has a purpose. You are leading someone’s attention. Attractive posters will only catch eyes. But designing will make the person want to read the Headline, the Details and create Curiosity.

UX design refers to the term User Experience Design whereas UI design refers to the User Interface Design. They are in close relationship (UX is more technical and analytical and UI is somewhat graphic designing).

How to Begin? Take the Baby steps

1. Start with the basic.

“Simple things done well”

A newbie designer must figure out what domain they are interested in, ex:-Industrial, Graphical, Visual, and Interactive. Don’t lose yourself in the various domains; have knowledge of most but stick to one as your focus.

· Use pen and paper as often as you can. Every design has a scaffolding of some sort.

· Consider it the process of creating beautiful solutions to situations and problems

· Be aware of what’s new in the industry

Every product that we use or come across, every experience we have (be it an Amusement Park or a Hospital), everything has been · “Designed”. Notice your surroundings — what makes you happy and what makes you go nuts.

· Read and take online classes and tutorials.

REMEMBER: Ideate > Design > Build > Test > Ideate > Design…

Good Design is made in the Head, not on Photoshop.

Recommendations:

- Check out platforms like Udemy, Udacity, and Tuts+ for the best introduction to the field

- Conduct a research on self-taught designers on Quora and Medium

  • Carefully observe the details in the trending Mobile apps and Websites for the design

1. Become involved in a community and find a Mentor

A mentor who has done it all before is the best source of knowledge. Involve yourself in a local community. Create value and this community will return to you in spades. Volunteer to create free designs/prototypes for friends with product ideas, indirectly forcing your analytical thinking to action. Look up to people from relating disciplines — Data sciences, Product Management, Backend Tech, Marketing, Social Sciences and Humanities. Our HelloMeets community believes highly in these design gurus:

Harish Mella, WebileApps

Zinal Patel, OyoRooms

Anand Jha, Roposo

Rahul Bhadauria, Roposo

Ravi Agrawal, Spinny

Saurabh Soni, Trestor

Paresh Khatri, Managly

Saransh Sinha, Flow/MetaLab

Radhika Gaonkar, Fractal Analytics

And lastly our global influences: Tadao Ando, Isse Miyake, Ross Lovegrove and Eva Zeisel, Don Norman and Alan Cooper.

  1. Collect Reading Sources

The Internet of Things provides with plethora of knowledge. But finding the right source for you is a task. Here we have jotted a quick list-

Inspirational

1. Awwwards

2. Dribbble

3. Behance

4. Pinterest

5. Uideo

6. Muzzle

7. Material Up

For Email subscription (to your inbox)

1. Abduzeedo

2. Creative Blog

3. The next web creative news

4. You the designer

5. Codrops

6. Designmodo

7. Speckyboy

8. UI GIFs

9. Pixel Buddha

UI/UX Inspiration

1. UX Magazine

2. Little big details

3. UX Booth

4. UX Pin

5. Usepanda

6. Pttrns

7. UI8

8. UX movement

9. User onboarding

10. UI Patterns Talks

11. Fundamental UI design

Blog reading

1. A list apart

2. Line25

3. Smashing magazine

4. Design Taxi

5. Mashable

6. Pricing psychology

Learning

1. Typography practical

2. Skillshare

3. Treehouse

4. Hackdesign

5. Freelance hourly rate

6. Typography terms

7. Font legibility

8. Typo for UI

Books

1. Design of Everyday Things

2. About face 3

1. Microinteractions

2. The Laws of Simplicity

3. Do Good Design

4. Designing for Interaction

Read Bill Moggridge’s Designing Interactions for inspiration, Kathleen Galotti’s work on Cognitive Psychology for a better understanding of technicalities and Finlay’s work on HCI. Exposure to CUA/ CXA content at HFI is also a good read.

Tip: Stay away from pop content on design on blogs that lacks reason and depth.

1. Seek Learning Experiences

You must start building things on your own. Fool around here and there and experiment a little. Welcome challenges. Check out examples on CodePen to build cool new effects on your own.

Look for jobs which give you learning experience and exposure to the end users. Build a portfolio and prove yourself by demonstrating. When you have more things to show, more opportunities will be open for you.

TIP: Learn by redesigning an existing app. Tutorials can get boring over a period of time.

1. Subscribe to DailyUI.co, they send small interface design challenges on a daily basis, which gives a good practice.

2. Look out for NGOs that need to showcase their work online and expand their reach.

3. Always make sure you have a side project. A side project keeps you thinking, engaged and you never get bored.

4. Share the project on Behance, Dribbble, DesignerNews, and Sidebar. Reddit has an active community which is more than happy to give you all the feedback you need.

UX in India is drastically improving and more people wanted to get into it. Even Google with SCAD is going to introduce a full 4 year course on “BFA in UX Design”.

Always remember to keep your taste, it’s what got you in the game and will keep you unique! It’s generally a “You vs. You” journey, better traversed with a lot of humility and debating.

Become the complete package

UX designers are lifelong learners. There are so many different ways to delight users. You should never be complacent.

It surely is hard to find the right problem and solve it in a clever way. Many wicked problems exist in the world. Your hands might be tied behind your back while there is a hurricane inside of a World War and your dog eats your homework.

Upcoming Workshops at HelloMeets-

User Engagement in the Mobile App — Sunday | 21 August | 5 pm to 7 pm

Photoshop Workshop — Saturday | 27th August | 10am to 2pm

Digital Marketing Workshop — Sunday | 28th August | 11 am to 5pm

As James Allen rightly said and I quote, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks”, I would like to thank the following for making this blog more informative and practical with their valuable feedback: Neha Sharma, Sr. UX Designer @Design for Use, Paresh Khatri, Founder & CEO @Managly, Anand Jha & Rahul Bhadauria @Roposo, Mr. Ravi Agrawal, @Spinny

Special credits : Sakshi Kaul, Content Writer HelloMeets, for interviewing all of them and editing this piece.