Complete Beginner's Guide on How to Learn UI Design
Complete beginners guide taking you from beginner to professional, you will learn ui design from scratch,and become a junior UI designer.
Can someone learn ui design and become an UI designer when he does not major in UI?
Not at all. Nothing in the world is difficult for one who sets their mind to it! You need only educate yourself in the proper techniques and methods, practice, practice, practice, and you will be an expert in no time.
So what skills and knowledge do you need to learn? Where should you start? Let’s first learn what a UI designer is.
1. What is UI designer?
Wikipedia defines UI:
UI, that is, user interface (User Interface, also referred to as the user interface) is a medium for interaction and information exchange between the system and the user, which realizes the conversion between the internal form of information and the human acceptable form.
Therefore, a UI designer can be defined as the person who designs the user interface.
It is no exaggeration to say that the quality UI design directly determines the perceived value of an Iinternet product (website, app, online store, etc.). The very first impression a user has of a product is through the UI design and if the design is not palatable, a user will likely move on.
A good UI designer goes beyond the ordinary and uses design to highlight and showcase the product.
2. UI design basic skills
Foundational understanding of UI design
If you are interested in learning UI design, you must first gain an overall understanding of its foundational principles and the profession in general. Once you have a firm foundational understanding, you can then move to subcategories where you can delve deeper into specifics. You will develop your theoretical and technical skill from beginner through advanced, understanding the overall workflow of creating a new internet product.
With programmers working behind the scenes developing code, the UI designer is free to concentrate on creating the artwork using tools such as Photoshop, Axure, and Adobe Illustrator. It is essential that a UI designer fine-tunes their skills and technique using these programs and master the digital artform.
No one program provides all the necessary tools for becoming a master UI designer, so learning a range of industry recognized software programs is not only essential-it is vital.
While learning, it is not uncommon to find available materials and modify them using the various tools discussed above. However, you will find that as your skills mature, you will prefer the flexibility and creativity of creating your own custom artwork.
Linyi is a great tool to use once you have mastered your skills. Linyi helps you to enhance your technical skills and expand your creative and innovative ability.
Linyi's content can be chosen in two ways:
(1) it provides a set of ready-made professional, industry standard icons (Mac OX, Windows, or the mobile iOS, Android native icons) which are helpful for beginners still learning platform design rules;
(2) it provides a selection of custom designs from industry designers, which are helpful in expanding your own creative and design techniques.
Platform design rules
iOS, Android, WP, Windows, and Mac OX platforms have their own design rules and preferences. In mobile application development, the resolution of each model, status bar height, navigation bar height, icon size, font, and color values must abide by strict rules. More information regarding these design rules can be retrieved online through a simple search.
Understanding the process
Product managers often send demand documents directly to the designer; you will need to know how to read product documentation, quickly analyze needs, determine the style, color, elements, and finally quickly visualize product requirements.
3. UI design aesthetic
Cultivating your aesthetic
In addition to high-quality content of the application itself, the design that accompanies it is also very important.
So how do you cultivate your design aesthetic? It develops over time through learning, thinking, practicing, and connecting with what others are doing.
Gone are the days when companies provided user support centers to assist with user interface issues. UI design must incorporate the user experience into the final product. Using user experience principles also helps to develop a logical approach to compliment he creative visual aesthetic.
There is a distinction between interaction design and UI design. In a general sense, the UI is mainly a graphical user interface, which can also be called a GUI. Interaction design deals specifically with how the interface impacts human-computer interaction. Any human interaction with a machine necessitates interaction designers.
With today’s application development, separating UI from interaction is becoming impossible. They are both necessary to a quality product and a designer must have skill in both. A good product will have an aesthetically pleasing interface and smooth interaction.
A designer that can both design well and improve the front-end code of a layout is a valuable asset to any company. Learning to code even the basics of popular internet languages will compound your marketability.
4. UI design tools
You should learn some basic UI design tools as well. There are many tools today to help you produce digital products. They vary from design tools, to developing tools, to web creation tools. Let’s take a look at a few here.
Sketch: Sketch is a vector-based design tool which helps you design interfaces quickly and intuitively. You can pre-design elements like buttons, widgets, and even complex navigation mechanisms, then replicate their design on other artboards and shapes.
FIGMA: Figma is a relatively new tool with almost the same interface as Sketch. It’s an innovative tool because it allows a team of designers to collaborate and give comments on a design in real time.
Invision studio: Though there are many tools out there that aim to make our life as designers easier, InVision Studio claims exclusivity in being the one and only tool that can conquer all product design processes.
Mockplus iDoc: Mockplus iDoc is a powerful product design collaboration tool for designers and engineers. It helps connect the entire product design workflow. It facilitates handoff by taking designs from PS, Sketch, and Adobe XD and exporting into a format that can generate code snippets, specs, and assets.
Framer X (Beta): Framer X has all the features you need to draw everything from custom icons to intricate illustrations. You can fine-tune your designs with their advanced path editor, export anything from your canvas, and more.
Flinto: This is personally one of my favorite prototyping tools due to its perfect integration with Sketch. Flinto allows designers to create interactive prototypes for the mobile, desktop, or any other web application. Flinto enables us to create complex micro-interactions on top of layers exported from Sketch.
Adobe XD: Adobe XD has two tabs: Design and Prototype. The Design tab features simple vector and text tools, and is used for creating your design. The Prototype tab is for previewing and sharing your design. With Adobe, you can build high-fidelity prototypes .
5. UI design resources
For your reference, below are some books and other resources suitable for getting started.
UI design books
This book has been published in several editions. It is considered by many as the bible of the industry. This book is about how to improve the usability of a website through website design. In addition to web design, it also includes some user psychology research and other content. It is an easy but important read for any UI designer.
UI is Communication- by Everett N McKay
This book does not focus on theory; instead, it focuses on providing you with the practical tools you need to solve real-life UI design problems. UI design is often seen in a very subjective way, as pretty pixels on a screen. The author’s premise is that it’s not about aesthetics – rather, UI design is actually an objective way to communicate to users.
I like how an interface is compared to a conversation. What should it say to the user, how should it say it and when? Simply writing down the conversation between the interface and the user can lay a strong foundation for the UI design. There are plenty of real examples and design makeovers to help you see the concepts in practice, too, which is helpful.
Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson
As a UI designer, it’s important to understand what’s going on in a user’s minds so that we can create the most effective interface for them to use. This book delves into perceptual and cognitive psychology and how we can use it to create better interface designs. The author covers human choice and decision-making, hand-eye coordination, colour and vision, and attention span and memory.
You’ll learn a bunch of user interface design rules as well as the science behind them, and you’ll be equipped to use them in your projects. A great read for those who are interested in the ‘why’ behind a UI design.
Evil by Design by Chris Nodder
In this fun and clever book, we learn about how psychology is used to design interfaces that persuade us to click that button or to buy that product. Organised into seven chapters (one for each of the seven deadly sins), the book focuses on persuasive design techniques and how they’re used to draw customers in, build confidence and convince them to buy products and services.
The author cleverly dissects real website examples and shows how they’ve used UI design patterns and human psychology for commercial gain. While some of these design techniques are aimed at tricking users and that I wouldn’t recommend using on potential customers, others are just clever design ideas that can be helpful to the user. Whether you use this book for good or evil, it’s a fascinating read and you’re sure to learn some new tricks.
Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design by Giles Colborne
The title says it all: this book is a practical guide to achieving simplicity in UI design. The core concepts which are central to achieving simplicity are to remove, organise, hide and displace features and UI elements. It’s a very practical guide that teaches designers to figure out the most important tasks for mainstream users, and make them easy to accomplish while removing non-core features.
Organising an interface effectively can also make it feel simpler to use, and the author shares many useful techniques to achieve this. This book is an enjoyable read packed with practical strategies for achieving simplicity in your products.
UI design online courses
There are so many online UI design courses from which to learn. Some are free, and some are paid. Here are a few that I recommend:
Hackdesign: An easy to follow design course that needs little more than an email address. The lessons are delivered to your email inbox each week, with links to articles, tutorials, and cheat sheets, as well as task lists to get you thinking about good design and working towards improving your skills.
Coursera: Take the world’s best courses, online. It’s the largest and most eclectic catalog for online higher education. Enroll in either self-paced (on-demand) or timed classes, ranging between four and twelve weeks. Verified certificates and specializations provide proof of participation, which can be shared via LinkedIn.
My.path: Thousands of courses, articles, meetups and videos are all in one place. They’re 100% content-ready so employees can stop wasting time on searching and focus on learning.
SKILLSHARE: Learn a New Skill Each Day. Learn creative skills in just 15 minutes a day with bite-sized lessons you can fit in anywhere.
GYMNASIUM: Gymnasium offers free online courses designed to teach creative professionals in-demand skills. We know these skills are in demand based on what we hear from our clients.
UI design inspiration websites
There is nothing better than learning from good design examples that exist in the real-world. Here are 5 UI design websites I frequent for inspiration.
Behance is one of the best inspirational design websites for UI designers. You can peruse any number of stunning creations from different designers from around the world. Behance's management team carefully selects new creative works from a variety of fields every day.
They include design, fashion, illustration, industrial design, architecture, photography, fine arts, advertising, typography, animation, sound effects, and more.
Dribbble encourages designers to upload their work and share their design experience with others. The overall quality of Dribbble's collection is very high, and many photographers, designers, and other creators like to show their work here. It’s not open to everyone, though. If you want to submit your work, you first need to receive an invitation code from other designers.
AWWWARDS is unlike Behance and Dribbble in that it focuses on showcasing website design. It aims to recognize and promote the best of creative web design. Web developers can submit their website to this platform to win the best year-round submission award.
Flickr is an an image and video hosting service where you can find a wide array of images - practically everything and anything under the sun. You can also store your own images. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that all UI designers prefer this online photo management and sharing app because of the high quality photos and videos you can find.
UI Movement focuses on user interface design, and they collect the best works from Dribbble. If you are interested in UI animations, you can easily find the best app UI design for any element you need.
6. Practice UI design
Practicing design is the best way to learn UI design. Keep practicing, work through prons and cons, and modify again and again. You will improve your UI design skills with time and patience. Here are three suggestions to help you.
Participate in a design competition
Now mobile phone theme design, App skin design, all kinds of games are everywhere, and they are a great place to practice and challenge yourself. Who knows, you might win!
Pick up contract work
Not only will contract work provide you real income, it will cultivate your abilities and skills. Not only that, it can help build your portfolio and help you land a full-time gig.
Practice on your own
Disciplining yourself to practice will help you when you are hired full-time, whether in a small or big company. Learning new skills and fine-tuning your technique is essential to remaining marketable and life-long learning and practice will ensure you keep up with your skills.