The Reality of Being a UX/UI Designer

The Reality of Being a UX/UI Designer from UIGarage
Nikka Estefani

Updated on February 26, 2021

So, you want to be a UX/UI designer. You think that this career will fulfill your love for solving problems and meeting new challenges. Or perhaps, this is where you’d want to put your creativity into action.

Like every career, so long as you really like it, UX/UI design can be a fulfilling, rewarding and even a lucrative career path for you. However, it is also important to understand what this career will entail you – the ups and downs, demands, average salary, etc.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Job Description of a UX/UI Designer

The Reality of Being a UX/UI Designer from UIGarage

Before we talk about the skills needed and the average salary of a UX/UI designer, let’s first talk about what is the job description of UX/UI designers.

A UX/UI designer’s typical job description would go on something like this:

A UX/UI designer is expected to oversee the research and implementation of user interface of our product. Here are the duties and responsibilities of a UX/UI designer:

  • Planning and execution of new designs
  • Optimizing and maintaining current or existing user interface designs
  • Communicate with clients to understand their needs and business goals
  • Conduct user research
  • Develop new solutions that are focused on our users (user-centered)

But anyone who at least had a job can resonate on this one: job descriptions aren’t that straightforward. As soon as you dived in to your job, you’ll realize that there are “unwritten” expectations from you. In short, there are times where you may be asked to perform additional responsibilities.

These additional responsibilities may or may not be apparent upon job application. Here are some of the extra tasks that you may need to do aside from your regular tasks:

  • Data entry
  • Social media management
  • Project management
  • Advertising management
  • Market research
  • Public relations (PR) and networking

Usually, UX/UI designers are given these tasks when there is lack of labor or resources at the given time. Most of the time, you can choose if you will accept these responsibilities and perform them regularly.

Skills Every UX/UI Designers Should Have

The Reality of Being a UX/UI Designer from UIGarage

Most of the skills you will need for your UX/UI career will be taught to you by your learning program, whether it’s a college degree, online course or self-education. However, it’s still important to go back to the core and ensure that you have at least the basic skills that you will need for your UX/UI career.

For starters, here are the skills that you will need as a UX/UI designer.

1) User research

Having a good understanding about your users is key to a successful UX/UI design – and the way to do that is through user research. You must learn how to conduct user research and testing to see what your users like and don’t like.

Aside from user research, take the time to know more about your industry to know what can you do to stay competitive and get better in your design.

2) Prototyping and wireframing

Wireframing is the process of sketching the layout of your design before proceeding to actually working on it. It is pretty much the same as an engineer’s blueprint.

Wireframing is important not only for you to have a “map” once you get started on your project, but also for you to communicate your ideas to your clients and ask them for any inputs or modifications as they wish.

3) UX writing

Words matter in your design, too – no matter how short and simple they are! UX writing is a specialty that aims to both improve the design’s usability and emphasize the brand’s value and tone through concise but useful writing.

Together with the overall visual design, UX writing should work well in making the design more useful and presentable to the user.

4) Information architecture

UX/UI designers should know how to structure the content for their website or app – from the login page and menu to the different details of the website or app such as product pages (for e-commerce websites/apps), etc.

Your content should be structured coherently and properly so that the users can use your product with ease.

5) Visual communication

Aside from writing, UX/UI designers should learn how to communicate with their users through visual elements.

It’s one thing to know which elements are used – most of the visual elements are standardized to avoid confusion – but it’s another thing to figure out where to place those visual elements where they will be able to best communicate to your users.

Ultimately, the goal of visual communication is to streamline your design by minimizing the needs of using words and, instead, use visual elements to represent what you intend to communicate.

6) Basic coding

You don’t need to be a full-blown coder to be a UX/UI designer, but basic coding is a must if you are to enter into this career. Specifically, basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is needed because it will help you a lot in your designing process.

But if you can grow your coding skills, that will be preferable because you can take on advanced UX/UI processes without the need of a developer’s help. But if you’re starting with HTML and CSS, that’s a good starting point.

7) Interpersonal skills

UX/UI design is teamwork. Therefore, you should learn how to properly listen and communicate to your teammates to ensure that you achieve the best results possible for your efforts.

Since you are designing for users, having a sense of empathy and understanding for your users is also very crucial. It’s important that, in every aspect of the design process, that you put your feet into the shoes of your users and ask yourself if you can use your own design with ease. Some designers focus on producing the “greatest” design the world can ever have that they forget their product’s usability – don’t fall for that trap! Understand your user first before designing your product.

Average Salary of UX/UI Designers

The average salary that UX/UI designers can earn in the US is around $85,000 per year. Of course, there are a lot of variables to consider which can either net you more, less or stick to the average salary.

But here’s a tip to keep in mind to ensure that you get most of your salary: keep an eye on your job title.

There are times where you would be working as a UX/UI designer, but your job title is not as “UX/UI designer”. For instance, your job title could be “Lead Designer”. If that’s the case, you are likely to earn less compared to your average salary – around $75,000/year in US as that’s the average salary of a lead designer. Keep in mind that these are all true even if you’re working on UX/UI responsibilities.

Final Thoughts

UX/UI design could be a fulfilling and even a lucrative career for you. But it’s important to have a proper perspective on the career because, many times, and in any career, we may have quite too much expectation than the “reality” of that career.

If you really want to pursue UX/UI design, consider this article we’ve written about how to get started in this career!