“Designing” A Successful Career Path: UX As A Profession
It is imperative that those on the verge of deciding a career path consider UX/UI as a prospect after reading this article, because it is not just a design approach – rather it is a communication process which will reap huge benefits both for professionals and users in the long run. The digital realm has transcended business ideology from customer service to ‘customer experience’, offering engagement through customization and personalization.
When it comes to deciding one’s career path, a plethora of options has opened up for youngsters today. Gone are the days when engineering, medicine, banking, or IT were the only branches one could lean on to. However, there is still an apparent lack of awareness about various other opportunities one can make use of. Among these diverse streams is what one calls user experience (UX). User Experience Design is the practice of ensuring that user needs are met before, during, and after the development of a particular product or service. It’s about making the usability of digital products easier for consumers to access. However, there is still a lot of ignorance around what these terms actually mean.
UX is a multi-faceted field in which there are different genres of dealing with various innovative technologies. UX is a part of all digital products we use in everyday life.
• The games that we play are designed by UXers.
• The mobile applications we use have been developed by UI developers and designed by UX designers.
• The software programs that we use in our day to day life have been developed by UX professionals as well.
This world of interface design – a mix of art and tech – is certainly an interesting and exciting prospect, especially with accelerating advancements in technology. It is due to a lack of exposure that the term UX remains unused,unnoticed, and unspoken of. In many companies, instead of UX/UI Designers, terms such as Graphic Designers, Developers, Visual Developers, DTP Operator, Application Developers, and Website Designers are used. The industry is growing in recognition, with increasing numbers of social events and seminars to promote and expand the UX community.
A career in UX/UI
There are various branches in the tree of UX/UI making it a versatile, interesting, and creative field. The various career options are as follows:
- User Research – A career in this aspect requires focus on finding, observing, analysing, and ultimately providing deep insights into behaviours, needs, and motivations of consumers. This is the nucleus of all UX design as these researchers offer feedback at almost every phase of the design process: ideation, conception, implementation, and completion of design. They continue to offer advice on re-development of interfaces as well, based on new findings and analyses to improve UX. AUX researcher’s average annual salary can range from 4 lakh to 30 lakh per annum. (Source: Payscale.com)
- Usability Analyst –This involves the identification of usability problems by applying usability principles and user research. These professionals are responsible for meeting usability goals on the bases of prerequisite objectives, measured outcomes, and comparison with other successful studies. They thus investigate and resolve user experience issues through evaluating and testing, and thereby communicate the actionable insights.
- Information Architect – This path deals with scoping, constructing, and optimising the presentation of information to users on a digital platform. They are hence responsible for creating wireframes, functional specifications, process maps, prototypes, and other such artefacts that describe user experience. They also apply a range user personas and hypothetical scenarios to curate relevant processes and user flow models. The average annual salary of an Information Architect ranges from Rs 8.5 lakh to 20 lakh per annum.
- Interactive Designer – The role of an interactive designer is to gather user data, research, and team inputs and in turn create an interaction concept. The purpose is to enable seamless, relevant, smooth, and engaging user experiences. Hence, they actively participate and cooperate with visual designers to create rapid prototypes that illustrate an application or service. The average annual salary of an interactive designer ranges from 1.8 lakh to 5.1 lakh per annum.
- Visual Designer – Visual designers are responsible for converting wireframes and prototypes into user-friendly visual designs while adhering to brand guidelines. Their keen understanding of graphical elements, brand standards, style guides, and design systems is brought to the fore. They are hence responsible for the final stage of cresting engaging, effective, and usable visuals, which must achieve user-oriented goals and effectiveness. The average annual salary of a visual designer ranges from Rs 2.4 lakh to 10 lakh per annum.
- UX Designer –UX designersare perhaps the jack of all trades or the all-rounder in the entire design process. They are responsible for creating an experience through researching, feedback, analysis, and testing. They are the drivers of development and communication and hence participate in all roles. The average annual salary of a UX Designer ranges from Rs 2.3 lakh to 10 lakh per annum.
In order to embark on a UX career path, one must possess the following skills:
- HTML, XHTML, and XML
- CSS coding
- Page layout and interface design
- Computer programming like C++ and Java
- Graphic Design
- Project Management
- Writing and editing
- Usability and accessibility knowledge and testing
- Back-end development like PHP, Ruby on Rails, and ASP
- Image editing and production
A degree in UX
Though a UX degree is not deemed mandatory, one will always benefit from formal university education. Having said that, there aren’t many universities that solely focus on UX, but it is possible to enter the field via obtaining a degree in graphic design, human-computer interaction, UI design, visual design, interaction design, or psychology. On the other hand, there are several certified online courses that offer detailed and comprehensive programmes on UX.
We are experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and UX Design has a key role in it.
In the future, UX Design will become a strong and well-established practice influencing different aspects of our lives. We are already seeing a specialization in the UX role, by focusing on Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Voice User Interface. This specialization will be more defined in the future where UX Design will touch different industries and business areas. In fact, the term “User Experience” is too vague to reflect the relevance of the practice. User-centric design techniques have evolved not only because of growth in the e-commerce sector but also because of the rise in availability of electronic devices to the common people. The economy now is focused on the service industry, where customer experience is central.
It is imperative that those on the verge of deciding a career path consider UX/UI as a prospect after reading this article, because it is not just a design approach – rather it is a communication process which will reap huge benefits both for professionals and users in the long run. The digital realm has transcended business ideology from customer service to ‘customer experience’, offering engagement through customization and personalization. Let’s tap into this immense opportunity by applying our creativity where the demand is sky high.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
Around The World