From being a UI/UX Noob to UX or UI Noob?

Being a novice (noob) myself who is eager to make an identity for himself as a professional in a vast field such as UI/UX (User Interface and User Experience) can be daunting indeed. First there’s finding what part of the field that you can truly pour your heart and soul into; whether it’s UI or UX, something that you won’t regret spending a lot of your time and energy much later on in life.

Although UI and UX go together like meat and veg it’s two totally different things, again just like meat and veg (LOL). UI and UX by themselves are 2 separate and vast areas.

Fish and Chips: a delicious example of meat and veg harmony, delivering a great fulfilling experience loved the world over. Just like how a harmonious combination of UI and UX practices deliver a great overall user experience.

To my knowledge the most common mistake us “noobs” make is deciding to pursue becoming a “UI/UX” Designer/Developer as our future. Instead you’ve to find out whether you’re suited for UI or UX. Only then can we get a clear vision of how we wish to build up our career. It’s not a crime to be a UI/UX person; especially if you work in a startup it’s almost certain you’ll have to play multiple roles in the company like being a “UI/UX” designer + web developer. But usually large-scale successful companies require its employees to do one well defined job and they want it done well!

I saw an interesting reddit post about why startups tend to hire UI/UX guys here.

UI vs. UX

User Interface (UI): Should not only consider how things look visually but how things on the page will work, function which sounds simple but it’s easier said than done. A UI designer will have to create

  • Interface layouts
  • Interface designs
  • Attractive Visual design
  • Interaction design

User Experience (UX): You need to know pretty much everything about your target user base and design a user experience that must be consistent throughout the entire system. A typical UX designer will have to

  • Conduct User Tests
  • Interviews with the target users
  • Field Research
  • Create User Personas
  • Run and study large scale detailed analytics
  • Prototype
  • Come up with unique layouts (wire-frames etc)

Be it a UX Engineer, UX Designer, UX Researcher, UI Designer and so on. There’s just so many career paths we can target which is why it can be daunting to decide. If you comb through fortune 100 software companies’ careers page for UI/UX you’ll see that they are almost never looking for a person specializing in both UI and UX.

Familliar? This is an often cited image to show the difference between UI and UX

You don’t need to pull out your hair trying to decide right away. If you’re just starting out your career as an intern or a first time employee this is the time for you to put yourself through the paces and find out what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. You’ve to give yourself the freedom to dabble in both UI and UX to find out which area suits you best but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should fashion yourself to be a UI/UX guy. Once you start dabbling in both areas you’ll realize this by yourself with time; whether you want to pursue UI or UX.

Therefor for now if you’re just starting out in your field it’s okay to be a UI/UX noob as long as you grow into a UI or UX noob in the near future.

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