What is the training of a UI Designer?
The profession of “User Interface Designer”, as such, is quite recent. The current UI Designers occupy this position after extremely varied backgrounds. Some began by studying graphics, computer science or multimedia. Others initially focused on training more generally focused on UX and UI Design and decided to specialize. Today, there are different training courses for exercising the profession of UI Designer, or knowing how to integrate UI design into an ergonomics project. Here are some examples of possible routes, from the longest to the fastest:
- Join a digital creation school via a web design specialization after multimedia or computer studies, a master’s degree in interface design … (Bac + 5 training)
- Obtain a diploma from a public art school, a design and multimedia school …
- Register for a professional license at the University or validate a professional master’s degree (image arts and technologies, digital creation and engineering, interface design, etc.)
- Opt for a BTS Graphic Design or a DUT in multimedia and internet professions (2 years and 4 to 6 months of internship in a company)
- Obtain a higher vocational training certificate with a UX / UI Design certifying training course lasting from 10 days to 1 year depending on the training center: private higher education institution, UX agency, etc.
- Take a short UI Design training course, lasting 2 to 5 days
At Usabilis, we offer 2 expert training courses to acquire the necessary skills in web graphics, software, ergonomics and UX:
- A training Graphic design of interfaces of 2 days, accessible to all to know how to develop a visual route, define a communication strategy, create a layout grid, handle graphic elements, evaluate an interface …
- The UX / U certificationI Design (User eXperience / User Interface Design), via a short training course, designed to allow professionals (web designers, project managers, etc.) to have their skills recognized.
What is the UI?
The UI is the User Interface. It can be the interface of a mobile application, a website or any interactive device or service. It is therefore the meeting point between users and the digital product, but also between the company and its customers. In short, the interface plays the role of intermediary. Several levels and elements are used to establish a human-machine dialogue: keyboard, mouse, joysticks, screen, audio etc. The taking into account of their specificities in the context of use determines the quality of the experience.
What is a “good” UI?
Generally speaking, a good UI has common characteristics:
- It’s a user interface intuitive, easy to understand
- The actions of the user of the site or the software lead to the desired result
- Navigation and graphics are fluent and relevant
- The design is designed so consistent in relation to the image and values of the brand
- And many other criteria: on this subject, see the famous Ergonomic Criteria of Bastien and Scapin which give a good idea of the expected behavior of an interface.
The objective is therefore not only to make “beautiful”, although aesthetics participate in the motivation to use the interface, and cannot be totally dissociated from usability. The UI designer does not define himself as an artist, even if he is undoubtedly creative.
Stéphanie Walter explains it very well in a very synthetic formula: a “pretty” template will not be enough to make your product usable.
Frameworks offer components that can be used for web or mobile development. Templates are graphic themes. These solutions have indisputable advantages. In addition to speed and economic interest, each member of the team shares a code and a common base.
But the risk is to forget the importance of a good user experience. Indeed, before choosing a framework, you must:
- Pay attention to user needs
- Trace the user journey or customer journey
- Work on information architecture
- Maintain developer / designer communication
In this other conference, UX serving the performance of your interfaces, Stéphanie Walter gives examples of essential technical constraints. The importance of teamwork between designers and developers, without losing sight of user feedback, is once again underlined.
A quick history of user interface graphic design
Different designs of UI exist to date but historically we can divide them as follows:
- Until the end of the 1960s: Batch interface or Batch Interface with human-computer communication based on the use of punched cards
- Between 1969 and 1980: In command line (Command Line Interface / CLI), the UI of the first computers
- During the same period, text mode environments are developing: Text User Interface or Textual User Interface (TUI)
- From around 1980 to now : Graphical user interface (GUI), at the origin of the first UIs accessible to the general public, with icons, buttons and from 1979, a drop-down list
- Since the early 1990s, advent of tactile interfaces in the era of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) and connected systems: smartphone, tablet, etc.
- Natural User Interface (NUI) : auditory, gestural, etc. for example the Voice User Interface (VUI): Siri with Apple, Cortana with Windows, etc., or the Perceptual User Interface (PUI) still in development
Since a good interface has to adapt to everyone’s habits, graphic design has evolved. Some trends are representative of uses:
- Skeuomorphism – early versions of Apple’s iOS – used familiar, realistic representations to facilitate the use of features that are still relatively unknown to users.
- Then the Flat Design (Windows 8, iOS 7) marks a change towards a flat design, where the raised buttons become geometric shapes
- Finally, Google’s Material Design, launched in 2014, retains the spirit of Flat Design while integrating movement and shadows to evoke paper
the Material Design is not just a trend, it is also a toolkit offered to application developers. The latter have access to design rules and best practices. In short, it is a UI Kit.
What is a UI Kit?
The UI Kit is a collection of graphical components and resources. All the elements that can facilitate the UI design are grouped there. Designers can draw from it:
- Call To Action Buttons
- Navigation elements
- Progress bar
- Color pallet
- System icons …
Documentation often completes the package. The mobile interface kits, web, etc., save time and make it easier to change the design. It is possible to use a free user interface kit, or to make one according to the specifications of the company.
Generally, the kits promote the rapid creation of models and wireframes of responsive interfaces. However, certain precautions must be taken to maintain the consistency of a design in line with the brand image. Designer Veronica Rios recalls best practices and practices to avoid with UI kits.
As she underlines, the ergonomic criteria of Bastien and Scapin must be taken into account during the mock-up.
The integration of the ergonomic charter and the graphic load leads to the creation of a Design System. The whole team can refer to it at each step, during site creation, business application redesign, etc.
UI Design is part of UX
Before designing the design of an interface, the designer must know how to answer certain questions:
- Who are the end users?
- How are they going to use this product?
- Why ? What are the tasks to be accomplished?
- What is their level of expertise?
User research (UX Research) makes it possible to precisely analyze the uses and purposes associated with the web application, the site, etc. The data collected during this phase of investigation and observation will influence the choices in terms of graphic design. Storytelling can also be used to build empathy with target users. These phases of the process fall under UX Design.
The quality of the user experience (UX), when using the UI, will mainly depend on the following criteria, set by the UI Designer:
- Features and visuals
- The ease of use of the tool’s interface
- The speed of display and execution
- The readability of the information
- Aesthetics and what it should convey
The user-centered design is decisive for the ergonomics of the interface. The goal is to find the best balance between efficiency, usability, adaptability and appeal of the UI. UX / UI complementarity is therefore obvious.
UI Design Is a Part of UX – Source
What is the difference between UX Design and UI Design?
Defining the UI Design requires specifying the difference between UI Design and UX Design, as the confusion between the two disciplines remains frequent. To design an experience, you have to represent the user experience through the overall interaction with:
- From web user interface
- Products, objects, devices, services
- From the company
UX goes beyond creating an interface.
The expression User eXperience Design refers to all the methods and tools implemented to provide a better user experience. The tasks of the UX Designer depend on the project. In a digital environment, its activities could be diverse:
- Study the behaviors and expectations of people who use the product (personas, UX maps, user journeys, etc.)
- Work on the structure of the application, the prioritization of information
- Develop schematic models, mockups, wireframes …
- Participate in prototypes by collaborating with the team (graphics, development)
- Organize user tests and propose solutions to detected problems
There is not a homogeneous definition of this profession in practice. In this case, the important thing is the collaboration between the UX and the UI Designer. The designer of the interface (UI Designer) relies on the proposals of the UX Designer to work on the visual aspect. Finally, by definition, UI Design is exclusively a digital profession.
To dig deeper into this question, you can (re) read our definition of UX User experience. Moreover, despite the differences between UX Design and UI Design, the same training can prepare for both professions.