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21 Dec 2020
Designers are multifaceted creatives that can dabble in many different design disciplines—one of them being user experience (UX) design. But what if you wanted to completely shift your career as a graphic designer to UX design?
In case you do want to shift your career to UX design, we are happy to tell you that you’re on the right path. In fact, there are lots of reasons why making a career in UX design might actually be a good idea for you.
According to PayScale, the average salary in the United States for graphic designers is $41,000; for UX designers, it’s $74,000. That’s an 80% increase in average pay!
But that’s not all. According to Adobe, 87% of managers said that hiring UX designers is higher in their priority list, compared to just 76% for graphic designers.
With this glaringly higher pay and demand, it’s clearly evident that companies are now more interested in user experience than just graphic design. This is mainly because, although the design is what attracts consumers, it’s their experience in using the product that actually makes them stay and engage.
Despite these advantages, any career shift in design is nonetheless still terrifying and difficult for most. Fortunately, as a graphic designer, you’re already equipped with graphic design concepts and principles that you can apply to UX design as well.
The question now is where and how to begin?
Well, look no further. These 6 simple steps will guide you on your start—and entire journey—into becoming a full-fledged UX designer!
The first step to any career change is knowing where you’re heading.
From the name itself, user experience design deals with how users experience and interact with a certain product and developing it accordingly. This can range from websites, digital and mobile applications, AR, VR, and so on.
A huge chunk of a UX designer’s responsibilities deals with product usability and making sure that the product experience is easier and better for your users. This is so your users can become satisfied and therefore more motivated to interact with your product.
Knowing how to improve your product means getting to know your users better through proper research. This involves asking questions such as:
- Who are your users?
- What are they looking for?
- What are their wants, needs, and goals?
- What problems and challenges are they facing?
- And most importantly, what can you do to help them achieve these goals and solve these problems?
Through user experience, these can be solved through user-friendly and human-centered design. Furthermore, through enhancing the product design layout and architecture and ensuring that every function works properly and is right where they are needed to be.
Graphic design makes use of artistic elements and design principles to make graphics intended for marketing. It focuses on enhancing the aesthetic of the product through the use of color, type, imagery, layout, balance, contrast, etc.
Therefore, graphic design results in the production of branding, social media content, advertising materials, and other related outputs. Its goal is to make an impression, make an identity, communicate clearly, and connect and build relationships with customers.
Meanwhile, a user experience design focuses on enhancing the overall experience of users. It also looks into how the product is laid out; its internal structure, external architecture, and overall interface.
Therefore, as a whole, it deals with user research, user persona, usability testing, wireframing, and prototyping.
Though both design disciplines use objective approaches to solving user problems, UX relies more heavily on research and technicalities. It’s a continuous process of product development through research and different stages of product iterations until a satisfactory product is made.
As mentioned earlier, UX design is a continuous process of product development through research and different stages of product iterations until a satisfactory product is made. Its process can be divided into 2 phases: discovery and development.
We only covered the basics, but you can learn more in-depth stuff about UX design through different UX design resources available:
By learning deeper into UX design, you’ll be able to pick up related knowledge and skills to solve user experience problems that you might encounter once you actually start working on your UX design projects.
What use is knowledge if it won’t be used in practice?
You can start practicing by learning to use UX design software and tools like Adobe XD, InVision, Sketch, Figma, Axure, Proto.io, just to name a few.
There are lots of other UX design software and tools available out there, but there’s no need to learn and use all of them right away!
It’s about finding the best tool that works for you just to get you started. You’ll eventually discover the things you need later on as you further go along in your UX design journey.
Learning how to use UX design software and tools is your gateway to making actual UX design projects. Finally, that leads us to…
The final step to be a UX designer is to start working on real projects.
But you don’t have to worry about applying for a UX design job or looking for clients just yet. Just to give you an idea of the workarounds of this profession, it’s ideal to start working on mock projects or spec works first.
For starters, you can make fake websites for made-up clients and have your friends test it out! This way, you can have background experience working on UX design projects that you can show to your first small clients.
With enough practice, you can also do volunteer work by helping your friends, relatives, or small businesses build their websites or apps.
These introductory projects will make you gain enough experience and will eventually help you in developing your own UX design portfolio. This will finally help you look for bigger clients or apply for your first UX design job!
Transforming your career from graphic design to UX design is a long and tedious process that needs proper guidance and resources to keep you on track. Hopefully, this guide has helped you to know the basics of UX design and the general steps you have to take to seamlessly transition to being a full-fledged UX designer.
For your user experience design needs, look no further than Graphics Zoo’s experienced designers. Send us an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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