It’s a word with more definitions than it can create. A designer is a creator, a mastermind, and a thought-provoking individual who demonstrates their thoughts through a piece of art to display. Their inner-workings showcase their innate ability to design for themselves and others. A designer is a technician, an artist — a communicator. Designers take their ideas and turn it into a tangible product that we can see before us. From landscape architecture to interior designers and ceramic professionals, there are too many types of designers to name them all. More recently, in the digital era of society, the word designer is frequently associated with graphic or web design. These types of designers use technology to build their masterpieces. The newest of this design group is the UX designer who focuses on the user experience of websites.
Why is UX important?
Companies build websites to tell the story of their brand. But if that story isn’t getting the point across or people have trouble relating to it, then the brand becomes tarnished all due to a faulty website. Anyone who deals with consumers, from analyzing them to marketing to them, understands that their needs and desires change daily. Marketing used to be telling consumers what they want and why they should want it, but now it’s shifted toward consumer demand and these demands include well-designed, easy to navigate websites.
One non-profit is making sure there are plenty of well-trained UX designers available. The Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) is on a mission to make design education globally accessible, as well as affordable. Their online education platform provides design education to both the earliest beginner and the advanced professional. UX designers are some of the highest demanded designers in the job market. Because web users are more likely to purchase content from companies with sleek and innovative websites, UX designers not only have a talent, they also have the opportunity to increase revenue for companies. Their return on investment is one that continues to grow each year.
The Interaction Design Foundation does more than just provide online courses on design — it makes sure that each student leaves well-equipped with the necessary tools to succeed in their field. For example, when browsing the IDF website, one of the first courses a student might see is in Gestalt psychology, which is essentially the psychology of patterns and organization. Think of online infographics and design; there’s a certain strategy in getting users to want to click on a graphic or to think the graphic is visually pleasing.
There are many courses available for those wanting to become UX designers. Because UX designers do mostly everything on a laptop, the IDF offers all of their courses online. They are designed for busy people who are looking to better themselves and their career. The different courses make it so that someone can learn not just only UX, but also about the psychology of ecommerce and even how to become a freelance designer.
Some companies hire in house designers and creatives, but others hire outside agencies. Alternatively, many companies decide to contract their work to full-time freelancers. The ability to freelance gives people the freedom to work from anywhere at anytime, which makes it appealing. However, many freelancers including UX designers might have trouble figuring out where to start. To help with this, the IDF offers an entire course on how to become a freelance designer, so that when a student has gained their IDF course certificates, they are fully ready to start taking on their first clients.
An important understanding of UX design is knowing that it is different from web development. UX designers put their focus into the mind of a consumer. They aren’t always coders and script writers, yet they take all that information and then view the bigger picture. UX designers focus more on imagery, videos and visual aspects of the site. They understand industry trends in design and how to apply them to client needs. Instead of applying multiple new codes, they might just us a block editor and go from there. UX design is more like a “do it yourself” website but with a professional understanding of the inner workings and experience of websites.
UX designers are still new. So for those individuals considering a career in UX design, there’s still plenty of time to do so, and the IDF is a great place to start. They began their design education journey way back in 2002 and have since continued to grow to one of the largest UX communities in the world. Their ability to educate the busy person is what makes them attractive to online students. Education doesn’t have to be in a classroom, and the internet has made this vitally clear over the last decade. IDF’s purpose is to educate the creatives so that they can land a career doing something they love while helping others. UX designers have a job where they get to create something new each day, and through continued education, they will become some of the most creative and sought after designers out there.