Career – Web Design vs. UX Design: A Never-Ending Battle or New-Age Matrimony?
Switching careers may not be a leap of faith for many of you out there if you have your resources in right order. As we see it, if you are bored of being a web designer, now might be the best time to make a switch to UX designing. Since you have already found this article, we are assuming that you already know what UX designing is all about and you are gearing up to make a dent in the highly competitive domain.
To help with the motivation, let us crunch a few numbers here. PayScale tells us that US-based website designers make north of $46,000 at an average per year. At the same time, UX designers earn nothing less than a whopping $74,000 per year at an average. In 2017 about 3.43 million UX design based jobs will open up in the country within the next decade, and that is some serious employment opportunities you are looking at, folks! And this is being seconded by none other than CNN. In addition to these, you will be landing yourself a truly rewarding job that can help UX design-driven businesses to outperform the S&P index by a magnificent 228%.
- Let us take another look at UX and UX design as a career:
Very simplistically speaking, if you consider every website and landing page as a product, there are users who derive an experience from that particular product and this is described as user experience or UX. UX designing is a part of product designing, and it aims at optimizing user experience. UX takes into account interaction design, user research, and understanding the psyche of the prospective buyers.
- The three components of UX:
Look, feel and usability combine together to impart the complete user experience. The look is all about creating a positive image of the brand. This creates a certain sense of credibility since the right packaging makes sure that product doesn’t just look nice, it feels right too. Usability is the key ingredient of UX. If the product you are offering isn’t usable, no amount of good looks can salvage it from the abyss of bad reviews and ultimate failure. The product should be enjoyable, easy to use and reliable. Keeping the users’ needs and necessities in mind during the crafting process is the key to a successful and well appreciated product with an amazing UX.
Do website designers and UX designers have anything in common?
There are quite a few overlaps as well as differences when we consider the job requirements, and we will try and help you understand what you can carry forward from your old job to your new one, with or without any modifications.
- Problem solving attitude
While web designers work towards problem solving for their clients, UX designers solve problems for the users. Let us take into account the iterative processes each of the profession uses to get a desired result.
- A web designer makes a comprehensive list of problems from client feedback, and then works on a web solution for the same. He also designs quite a few tests before releasing the website and a number of feedback processes.
- A user experience designer follows quite a similar process that usually begins with user research. This is often conducted via standardized procedures like observations, demographic studies, direct interviews and their desired solutions. Based on these surveys and feedbacks, a UX designer designs a product/solution that will answer the consumers’ key requirements.
- Use of “emotional” designs
The thought of light pastel colors like baby pink and powder blue brings a sense of joy and fulfillment to anyone’s heart. As you may have noticed, quite a number of online bakeries, confectioneries and baby gift shops monopolize on a combination of these colors to simulate the feeling of joy in their users’ hearts. Many shopping websites create a playful topography in combination with colorful imagery to boost their UX. The work of UX designers is quite similar.In addition to imagery and topography, they also take into account motion design, information architecture, user psychology and content curation.
- Your main focus on UX is one HTML, CSS and JS
This is much prophesized and true. UX designers need to know HTML, CSS and JS as their mother tongue, and all other languages can take a backseat. Even web designers may have a good knowledge of the same, but UX designers need a good grip on user research protocols, visual design, business and marketing and even a little bit of psychology to create the best possible UX for the products.
Is UX more rewarding than web?
Although many people still love to debate on which among the two is more rewarding, we decidedly go with UX. UX is a comparatively new field where the job opportunities are mushrooming in every corner of the country. While most job opportunities for web designers are still restricted to start-ups, UX designers are needed everywhere, including mature industries that have been in the market for decades.
So what can you take with you when you make the switch to UX designing?
Aesthetics — years of making websites from scratch automatically gives you a good aesthetic sense that can be a boon for any UX designer starting new. Your creative instincts will compel you to create amazing reports and presentations that are a must in UX. Being a UX designer means challenging yourself to create amazing designs for your products that enhance the user experience. A very recent study conducted by Stanford Web Credibility Research, on 2,684individuals showed that over 46% of the participants mentioned design and look of websites in their reviews. More than 50% of the participating individuals went with websites that were more visually pleasing and user optimized. This shows how much aesthetics is important whendetermining user experience of a product.
How to make the switch?
- Online courses – online education portals like Coursera, Interaction Design Foundation and Udemy offer a huge selection of courses for everyone. The downside to this is the lack of quality control that makes it difficult to tell the difference between totally amazing courses lead by professionals from legitimate universities and spammy setups that may not be rewarding at all.
- Classroom courses – here are a few of the most rewarding classroom courses that have been recommended time and again by experts. Nielsen Norman Group and Cooper are the two big names you can safely stick to for the best ROI.You can also check out courses offered on university campus by Carnegie Mellon and York University, although they are not really low-cost options.
We don’t think it will be difficult for you to move to UX design from web design if you have your skill set sorted. Keep building on your existing skills, and never cease practicing UX design whenever you get the chance. If you already speak HTML, CSS and JS, just take the plunge and the rest will sort itself out!