Getting a UI designer for your business may seem straightforward, but knowing which good qualifications to watch out for could be the key to improving your project’s chances of succeeding.
It might be safe to say that just about everybody already knows what UI is. But just to be sure, the two letters stand for User Interface, which simply means the system that is put in place to allow a user to interact with a machine or computer, typically with the use of input devices and software.
In this day and age, consumers rely more and more on UI because of the popularity of electronic devices such as personal computers, laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as the ubiquitous presence of the Internet, social media, mobile apps, and games. Some are even suggesting that UI now actually means User Interaction because of how today’s consumer products or services are designed to encourage maximum engagement among users.
As for business owners, it has increasingly become important to achieve good UI design when developing a product, service, or project. To achieve this, the obvious solution is to acquire the services of an expert in the field — a UI designer.
Why UI Designers Matter
Some may think that UI designers only take care of the look and feel, but they do much more than that. Apart from making sure the product branding is unique and consistent with the business owner’s vision, a UI designer also has to dive into the details, even developing the specific graphic elements to be used in the UI. Of course, a big part of his job is to do extensive research, especially in determining what design aspect or interface behavior would not only appeal to customers, but also make for a seamless user experience.
Speaking of interface behavior and user experience, these are the parts of the UI designer’s job that are the most critical. Not only will he design how the interface interacts or animates (behaves) according to expected customer actions, he also has to carefully prototype and test the design according to a lot of variables. What variables exactly? They include the type of machine being used (personal computer of mobile device), the size of the screen (smartphone or tablet), or the platform (desktop OS or mobile OS). Also, the UI designer must work with a developer in the beta testing and implementation, and if needed, even the maintenance of the UI going forward.
Finding the Right UI Designer: What You Need To Know
Of course, it is never as simple as just publishing the usual help wanted ad. Those looking for good candidates with exemplary UI design skill need to remember some important points. Scroll down below to find out.
Graphic design skills. This should be the obvious place to start. Sure, UI design is more than just the look and feel, but in order for a user to start interacting with the interface, the appearance (theme), the graphic elements (composition) and the colors have to be put in place in order to create a fully interactive environment.
Skills in using the usual tools like Sketch or Photoshop are needed, but just about every other guy can do those. More important things to look for in a good UI designer is his understanding of concepts like branding, color theory, and even typography. And how good is he in creating a style guide, or adhering to an existing one? Lastly, does he know the difference between good design and great design?
Knowledge of interaction design concepts. What distinguishes interaction design from basic design? While the latter is concerned with aesthetics, the former focuses on the overall interactive experience. For example, any button can be made to look cool, but interaction design takes into account the use and ease of that button, where it should be placed, and most importantly, where it leads to and how it contributes to your product, service, business, or the whole buying experience. Find a UI designer who understands this, and you already win half the battle.
Communication and collaboration skills. No UI design comes fully formed from the outset. In developing the UI for your project, you will be constantly coordinating with your UI designer with regards to everything, from the basics down to the last detail. This is why you need a UI designer who can articulate his ideas while at the same time, possess a good ear for feedback and even constructive criticism.
And during the prototyping stages, your UI designer will likely collaborate with other designers, developers and even copywriters in bringing the UI design to life. So if you can find a UI design expert who can also be a good team player and does not mind joining forces with other people, you got yourself a keeper.
But Where Can You Find UI Designers?
There are no shortage of UI designers out there, simply because the popularity of the Internet, social media, and apps have created significant demand for UI design skills. Of course, if you are to hire one, knowing how much they cost would prove wise. According to Indeed, the average salary for a UI designer in America is more than $84,000 per year.
If you can afford to hire one in-house, by all means do so. But for those who can’t, they might want to explore freelance options. There are plenty of UI design communities in the worldwide web, and some of them often serve as venues for freelance UI designers to showcase their portfolios. But bear in mind that there may be inherent risks in hiring freelance talent, and you can’t always be sure they’re focused on your project 100 percent of the time. Lastly, it might be tricky on your own to properly find the right UI designer you need, especially when your business keeps you busy most days.
Still, you can go for offshoring options, or better yet, find a staffing partner who will do the offshore recruitment for you. You might be wondering what makes availing of offshore UI design better than the typical freelancer. For one, you are not hiring a part-time employee, but rather a full-time member of your team dedicated to fulfilling your UI design needs. And because your UI designer is based in a country with low labor costs (like the Philippines), you get to pay lesser wages. Moreover, your staffing partner will not only take care of the hiring process for you, it will also shoulder the overhead costs, as well as the office lease expenses, HR and administrative aspects, taxes, and office equipment. You need only pay a flat fee every month.