UI design is the process designers utilize in building interfaces in computerized devices or software, with a focus on the style or looks.
A lot of people confuse UI and UX design. However, UX design is user experience designer, whereas UI stands for the user interface. This is the graphical layout of an application. It consists of text entry fields, sliders, images, text, buttons, and all of the other items the user interacts with.
So, UI designers are concerned with every single micro-interaction, interface animations, transitions, and screen layout. They need to design each and every element of the interface.
UX design is about making it as easy as possible to interact with the user interface elements that have been designed by UI professionals. So, while both areas overlap, they are not the same.
For any individual who is involved in the world of web development, we would highly recommend that you spend some time perfecting your UI skills. Read on to discover the reasons why.
Why should web developers gain UI design knowledge?
There are a number of different reasons why you should practice with UI design tools, take UI design courses, and ultimately, improve your skills in this area.
Let your creativity run free
The most common perception that developers lack creativity is not accurate. A lot of creativity is needed to solve problems and bugs.
The big difference when it comes to UI design is that the creative process is simply more visible to the end-user.
If you are the sort of developer who wishes to show the world more of the creative greatness that you have, then UI design is certainly a skill worth adding to your stack.
Understand your own role better
As a developer, you will typically work behind the scenes, working on the management of the website and making sure that everything works effectively.
However, it is always important to see what's going on on the other side, i.e. the front-facing part of the product. How does your work translate in terms of the style and functionality of the interface?
We can all agree that integration and cooperation are key. If we all work as segregated teams and we do not understand other roles that relate to our work, we are never going to produce the best product when everything is said and done.
You will create a much better product
Leading on from the former point, you will be able to create a much better product if you embrace and enhance your UI skills.
UI designers and developers have the same objective; creating a successful product that people want to use. You will, therefore, become a better developer by simply knowing what makes a good user experience and user interface.
When you understand what users really want --- usually a design that is easy-to-use, minimalist, and simple --- you are going to be able to provide exactly that without wasting valuable effort and time on features that are not of any use to people.
You will enhance cooperation between teams
If you know what you are talking about, your ideas turn into words, and then your words turn into action. Therefore, getting a fundamental knowledge of user interface and user experience skills are going to help you to communicate at eye level with developers, designers, and other stakeholders.
This is going to enhance collaboration between teams. When we understand someone else's role better, we are able to communicate with them more effectively. We understand what they need and this helps the entire team to thrive.
You will be irreplaceable
Another reason why it is important to enhance your UI design skills is that it will, quite frankly, make you irreplaceable. These individuals are the most sought-after in the tech world at the moment.
As the majority of businesses have not realized the sheer importance of both UX and UI, and the advantages that are associated with them, it is even more incredible that the demand is skyrocketing at the rate it is. It gives you a hint of just how massive this field will be in the future.
So, this is your perfect opportunity. If you gain these skills, it will make you one of the most important people in the office, irrespective of whether you work in a big company where you are seen as the main person for thinking outside of the box or you work in a small business where your knowledge is going to be incredibly valuable.
You won't leave your comfort zone
The entire business world would be a lot more efficient and effective if we all had a better understanding of what we do and achieve on a daily basis. The same can be said for developers.
The good news is that if you are a developer who delves into the realm of UX design, you will soon discover that you are not really stretching so far out of your comfort zone. It is the logical next step.
How can you improve your visual/UI design skills?
Now that you know the benefits that are associated with improving your UI design skills as a developer, let's take a look at how you can go about this.
Find a mentor
One option to consider is finding a mentor who can guide you into the world of UI design. Talk with the UI designers on your team and see if any of them would be willing to give you a walkthrough. At the same time, you could do the same for them, so that you can better understand one another's role within the team. This is a great way to drive each other forward for a better outcome overall.
Take an online course
The great thing about the digital world we live in today is that you can easily do online courses from the comfort of your own home. You do not need to enrol at an educational institution. Instead, in your own time and in your own space, you can do an online UI course so that you can enhance your skills. The good thing about going down this route is that enhancing your UI skills does not have to disrupt your current commitments. Instead, it is something you can do in your own time and it will ultimately make you a more well-rounded developer and look better on your CV in the long run.
Follow top UI designers online
Developers should not simply learn about UI design once and then forget about it. You should commit to enriching your knowledge about this area of design. One of the ways that you can do this effectively is by following top UI designers online. By following these sorts of social media accounts, you will be updated whenever something new is going on in the industry. You may also want to bookmark or follow a few blogs in this realm that are of interest to you.
Take on an imaginary project
One of the best things to do as a web developer who wants to learn more about UI design is take on an imaginary project. Initiating your own made-up project will help you to see what UI designers do on a daily basis. Plus, you will not have anything holding you back from displaying your full creativity because there will not be a specific style guide you need to adhere to and you won't have a client in your ear asking for changes all of the time. There are a number of different ways you can approach this. You could choose a pre-existing site that you feel could be improved, for example, or you may decide to design an app that you have always wanted to create. This is a great way of refining and honing your design skills.
Understand UI design patterns
User interface design patterns are reusable, general solutions to problems that commonly happen in UI design. They function as guides or reference points for UI designers, enabling debate over solutions by simply mentioning the specific pattern's name. Getting familiar with UI design patterns will help you to supercharge your design vocabulary when dealing with the design team, and it will also help you to be more efficient in your own role.
Final words on improving your visual/UI design skills
As you can see, improving your visual/UI design skills is imperative when it comes to good web development. Not only does this help you to create a better product but it will give you the ability to unlock your creativity while also enhancing coordination between your teams.