UX and UI Designers are often different jobs entirely, especially within a large company. Hybrid creatives such as UX/UI Designers can speak to both roles, work across multiple environments, and more easily translate between groups.
UX, “Why” things work
A UX Designer is a User Experience creative thinker who’s work focuses on research-backed product design. He or she will interview product users and stakeholders to guide a company’s overall brand, information architecture, and function-set.
UI, “How” things work
Step 1, Research
When presented with a project, it is most important to gather information on the market in which the business exists. This set of data acts as the foundation for all future design decisions and can be used as a point of reference.
Read reports and white papers on relevant technologies in order to gain greater insight on functionality and purpose. Start defining who the active players are within the market and what problems need to be solved.
Step 2, User Story
Empathize as much as possible. Conduct interviews with potential users of the product, and relate this information back to stakeholders. A story will determine the software’s value and also shape its overall functionality.
Get inside the user’s head. The biggest factor in building a user story is asking lots of questions. Go in with a few leading inquiries, in order to answer some of the basics upfront, however, keep an open mind and dive into branches of the user’s experience. The details can lead to some revelations down the road upon review.
Step 3, UX Wireframes
With a call-to-action in mind, based on all your research, it is time to start brainstorming. A piece of paper can suffice for drawing potential layouts including text boxes, buttons, and images. Even determining how the person interacts with the software is necessary to fully encapsulate the user’s experience. Will the person scroll, swipe, click or drag here? These kinds of notes fill the margins of the wireframes.
Conduct initial usability testing to see real-time interactions of users when presented with certain screens. Even in this low-fidelity environment, the UX/UI Designer can gain a better understanding of the “if this, then that” events within a user’s experience. Bring these details into the UI design process. They will be crucial data points and save time when it comes time for high fidelity ideation.
Step 4, UI Interface
Knowing where assets go, how information is organized, and having tested the IA (information architecture), it is time to bring the product to life. Produce working prototypes and see how the color psychology, typography, and graphics affect the user. Further usability testing will solidify product design rationale.