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Super Basic Skills Every Talented UI/UX Designer Possess


Finding a job today is quite a tough nut to crack. With the competition gaining on, you are required to be the jack of all and master of all as well – sounds impossible, right?

If not that then at least dipping a toe into both worlds that are closely related to each other could be a safe option for survival.

Take a look at the job roles of a UI and UX designer. Although they may not always overlap, but having a command on the skillset that does overlap is life-saver.

So, it’s not necessary that a UX designer will be a master of Photoshop or Sketch, neither will a UI designer understand the psychology of user experience.

But if you are easily able to alternate between the two roles, you will look clearer ahead of you, in the bigger picture. It would also give you an edge in any creative project if you know a little bit of this (UI) and a little bit of that (UX).

So, take a quick overview of these overlapping super basic skills that you should have mastery in to make the best of both worlds.

Empathy and user advocacy

When you are to design, the first thing that you need to do as a designer is to find out who your target audience is. Why? Because we create for the user.

Gone are the days when products and services were created in isolation and then being sold to the customers. It is the age of the buyer today and if you do not empathize with them and present yourself as a solution to their problems, you will fail.

As a UI/UX designer, you need to speak for the user. Asking the audience what they exactly like or dislike via usability testing could help you find root causes and figure out what changes are required.

Listening to the complains of prospects and existing customers is important than just a pretty interface. Advocating the user is the number one requirement of a good UX designer today so empathize with your customers and be open about rethinking the ideas that revolve around fulfilling their needs in any way.

Visual communication

Visual communication falls amongst the most valuable skills of a designer. It is because it all starts with an idea in your head that may have several inspirations but nothing that is as original as your idea. That idea must be explained to the project managers, team mates and developers.

If you can sketch, that’s awesome but if you can sketch digitally, that’s even better. Learn to work with digital wireframes, mockups and other interactive prototypes that serve the similar purpose.

No matter what medium you use for creating visual assets, at the end of the day, it won’t matter. You can have various tools in the toolbox. In fact, if you know how to wireframe, you may even get away without touching Photoshop.

The idea is to let your ideas flow to the design team, development team, marketing team and other teams as well. Words are fine but with a visual representation, it’s a lot less complicated and then, of course, the biggest advantage is that we all understand well when explained with the support of visuals.

Apart from making everyone understand, another responsibility that lies on the shoulders of web designers are the soft skills. When you explain the idea, don’t just let people sit there and nod at you. Be open to take questions, it is vital to your work.

Design software

A UX designer may not be aware of Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch but a UI designer is well-versed with at least one of these.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate and that is exactly what tightens the job market, requiring you to achieve maximum skills. A UI designer is focused at creating the visuals, like logos, while a UX designer works to ensure how they behave in real-time.

But if you do want to stand out as the best candidate for the job, perhaps studying Photoshop, or even Sketch could add up.

Another desktop software includes Adobe suite that you can have in your arsenal. InVision, UXPin are vital to the portfolio in this regard. A plus point is that a lot many UI designers are adding up UX designers’ skills and vice-versa. For your convenience, there are various online courses and tutorials available that you can learn heaps from!

Critical thinking

Empathy may be quite an abstract skill to have but it can work wonders in a larger context. To analyze your target market to cater to them better, you will be needing to critically think about them. It will not be possible without empathizing with them and finding about their problems first.

Contemplate your audience, interpret the individual problems, find out more about their needs and how they perceive a design with the help of user testing. Gather user feedback, the complains and try to crack them one by one.

So, this may sound like an easy job and anybody may be able to extract problems. The real deal is to have critical thinking skills and coming up with real solutions.

All of this comes by mean of practice and experience as you go up the ladder. Continue to read patterns, how they behave and how you can make the life of a user better.

Way forward

These skillsets have been acquired from talented UI and UX designers who act as living examples. So, enhance your skillset and be the next inspiration while you earn a good living for yourself!

Mariya Sabeen Irshad
Mariya Sabeen Irshad
Mariya Sabeen Irshad is a Creative Writer and Blogger. She is a staunch believer of ‘logic’ who loves her family, likes to write about anything and everything, and console games are her idea of an engagingly fun activity at any time of the day, with football leading the way. Follow her @MariyaSIrshad

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