How To Become UX Designer

A Practical Guide From My Experience


I decided to write this article after many people asked me to send them a list of videos and books to watch or read to become a designer. So I decided to draw wider and explain in details this simple process in the world of design.

Many people have already written about this. I’m sure that information below is not new, and maybe you find the same tips in other articles, but it is the information that works for me and maybe you will find it useful as well.

A little bit about myself…

When I studied at university at Design Faculty I had no clue what digital design was. While I was a student the lecturers gave us the notion only of the following designers gradation: interior designer, graphic designer or landscape designer. Consequently, I decided to become an Interior designer, because I liked it and I didn’t know the alternative. Of course, I thought that it would be my life-work. But, on the 5th year of my education, when I was writing my Master diploma, I realized that it was not what I really wanted and I felt disappointed.

Approximately at that time, our professor gave us a task to design a mobile app, it was something totally different from what we were learning before. It was really interesting and I started searching for more information about web design and trying myself as a web designer. I decided to go in IT. As it occurred that knowledge that I had got during 6 year at university was not enough for being a web designer, I began to learn from scratch and with more intensity (a lot more than I did at university) in order to find a job. Now I’m working at one of the biggest IT-companies, and can share a lot of useful information that I discovered during my from scratch study, with those who decided or is at the point to decide becoming a Designer as well.

How to start as Designer

Read more about web design as it is. The more you learn about it, the easier it is to decide whether this is something you’d like to dive deeper into. Try to catch every word and dive in as deep as you can. Remember that research and information analysis are important for every design process.

Get Started in UX
What is a UI/UX Designer?
 What the is UX Design?
  1. Learn Design Basics

To become good Designer knowing the software isn’t enough. You should start from the beginning. Yes, maybe it’s not so interesting and you want to be a designer as soon as possible, but knowing composition, color and typography principles will help you to create great design that will be beautiful and practical as well. (It is the best knowledge that university gave me, and now I use it automatically)

Some useful links:
 The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web
A Good User Interface
The Elements of Color
Understanding Composition
 The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding

2. Watch and Learn

After you have received a little theoretical basis, you can start watching YouTube videos related to design. There are a lot of playlists, you should watch on the regular basis, it should become a part of your everyday routine. It is the best thing YouTube can give you absolutely for free. What to start from, how to build your first website or mobile app, what the bootstrap grid is and etc. There is a lot of different information in recommended videos. The more you find out, the faster you can try yourself as a designer.

If you just watch a tutorial it’s only 20% efficiency. But if you repeat after the lector, you can achieve much higher level of efficiency. The more you practice, the more effective your learning will be.

If you don’t know Photoshop and Sketch start with the following (there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube just type Photoshop or Sketch tutorial, or Photoshop for web designer)

The Complete Web Design Tutorials for Beginners in 30 Days
How To Create a Website Layout With Photoshop From Wireframe
Sketch App Tutorials
Design tutsplus

Watch inspiring blogs/ websites

It will help you to understand how you should do, just try to analyze the designs. Some links for inspiration:

Medium muzli
Sidebar (Subscribe and you will get 5 best design links every day)

Read books

On Amazon or just Internet you can find a lot of books with feedbacks. Different blogs and articles are good too, but the core information you need is there in books.

Design Everyday Things — Donald Norman
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Don’t Make Me Think
Steal Like Artist
Pixel perfect precision
Great Books for Designers to Read

3. Try to Copy

After you have received some background try to copy someone’s work. For example, open Dribbble, find some popular shot that you like and make a 100% copy, not approximate, not almost, try to do as similar as you can. It is one of the most effective methods, because by doing so you find out a lot of useful details, you search how to make complex gradient or shadow, how to make a chart etc.
You may struggle at the start, but the more you practice the better the result.

Don’t need to think that it is easy and you can easily repeat all, your task is just do it.

4. Try create your first unique design

You already know how to copy and this is the best time to start doing something that is yours, any idea, a few screens. One of the advantages of this method is that you do something new, something you always wanted. The other is that the work you created will become a part of your portfolio when you apply for a job (no one will give the time of the day to any brilliant knowledge without portfolio). And one more important thing, do not forget to upload your work on Behance to get a lot feedbacks.

5. Create portfolio

As you have already understood, you need a portfolio. Based on your works create your portfolio, but be careful, don’t upload first better picture, that you’ve done in 1 hour thinking that this is the best you have ever made. Analyze other works, try to do your best. You will be appreciated only on the basis of your work. That’s why it must be the best you can possibly do.

6. Don’t be afraid of criticism

Don’t afraid of criticism, constructive or not, it makes you stronger and forces you to work on your mistakes, it will help you achieve results and become the best.

If you have friends that are designers, send them your work to review. You also can post it in different design publics on Facebook etc. Most people will give you adequate assessment and their advice.

7. Work at the office (or freelance)

You are ready to go and make this world better.

Trying to do something and being happy for your achievement is certainly cool, but working with people and real customers is much more important. Also, the best skills you can learn working at office with people, who are more experienced. Do not get disappointed if the company you start with is small. Most of us start from such companies (I am the example as well). Despite the fact it was small, I got a great experience that gave me a push to move to greater heights.

8. Attend different Design conferences

You are new and they help you to find new knowledge and, what is most important, useful contacts.

Conclusion: Learn & practice constantly

The main thing is not to be afraid and be persistent, then you will succeed. Do not stop and do not think that you know everything, just know it is impossible, and therefore there is always room to grow.

Do not think that everything will be immediately. One that wants to be a designer must always work hard and improve, because we dictate the future and make everyday life for the millions of people better.