The transition from Graphic Design to UI/UX Design
“Design is a solution to a problem; art is a question to a problem.” — John Maeda
What is UI Design?
User Interface Design in Information Technology refers to the design of the user interface for software, websites, or applications. It’s about programming the look of things, intending to facilitate usability and improve the user experience.
In simple terms, a user interface is the features of a device or an application that allows a user to interact with it. For example, let’s say you are filing any contact form on a website, your user interface, in this case, would consist of a text box, a drop-down list, a radio button and any other component which would allow you to enter your data into the company’s system. Every element or design acquired in this process which helps the user to interact, use, and understand the interface is because of its UI design.
Moving from graphic design to UI design -Required software and skills transition
Graphic design is all about the software. Sure, a talented designer can make something beautiful out of any basic software. But the intuitive controls and flexibility of a good program can make all the difference. Most of the graphic designers starting from scratch begin with Adobe Photoshop followed by Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe XD, Adobe After Effects, and Indesign. Getting your hands dirty in any one of these software gives enough exposure to graphic design and the more you practice, the more you gain experience of designing and the running trends in the market.
Graphic designers already speak the language of UI/UX design the only need is to brush up the skills and upgrade to advance software to make a reliable and easy to use interface. Some of the in-demand UI/UX software which a graphic designer should learn are-
- Sketch (only on MAC OS)
- Adobe XD (MAC OS / Windows)
- Figma (MAC OS / Windows / Web)
- Invision Studio (MAC OS / Windows)
The difference in the Graphic Design Process and the UI Design Process
Like any other design field, UI design also requires a process. But, unlike graphic design, the UI design process starts well before pen hits paper. The following examples illustrate two ways the graphic design and UI design processes differ:
- Analysis: In the context of graphic design, this phase is known as the ideation phase. There’s a major difference in this phase between graphic design and UX design. For UX design this phase isn’t limited to a single step in the design process. It can happen before, during, and after the design solution is implemented.
- Design: A person with a graphic design background, might enjoy this part of the process the most. However, there is a difference in this phase between graphic designers and UX designers. While graphic designers try to create a visually pleasing pixel-perfect design, UX designers try to create the best possible experience — which includes graphic design, information architecture, interaction design, and much more.
- Testing: Another key difference is that graphic design is linear and the process finishes once the product has launched. For a UX designer, product launch is a single step in the design process. Additionally, there is a loop between design and user testing that does not exist in graphic design.
Applications and industry needs of UI/UX design
UI/UX design is one of the most in-demand skills in the Graphic Design industry. To develop a successful website or mobile application, it must have a simple and understandable interface.
- Mobile app users like applications that are easy to use and more engaging. The most successful applications like WhatsApp have relentlessly offered their users seamless navigation and an attractive interface. Developing an application that has an efficient Ul/UX design is the starting point of having a successful application. This is because most app users prefer an app that is visually appealing and user-friendly over one that has great functionality but with a less attractive appearance. Without a great interface, an application or a website is hard to understand and interact with.
- A great interface gives users a realistic feel when using your app or website. It also provides them with a continuous flow of valuable information. More and more users will be interested in your app hence creating natural traffic. This will lead to a boost in conversion rates and thereby grow your brand name. It is therefore essential to hire an experienced Ul/UX designer who will make sure your mobile app is interactive and pleasant to your users. Thus choosing UI/UX as a career is a profitable decision because any website or an application is incomplete without a UI design, hence creating a lot more job opportunities in the IT industry.
Many people believe that UI/UX is very strenuous and only those with the right talent and extensive training can join, which is not true. If you want to change from graphic designer to UI/UX designer as a career, it’s not going to be as difficult as you might think. While there is a gap between graphic design skills and UI/UX design skills, it’s not an impossible one. Graphic designers already speak the language of design; they just need to brush up their skills to include those that are unique to UI/UX design.