5 Ways to Become a Self-Taught UI/UX Designer

(Guest writer: Mehul Rajput)

Choosing a promising career in the field of IT can be pretty puzzling. It seems like the future holds plenty of potential in this field. This puts you in a dilemma of evaluating your interests and picking the right path for yourself.

Today, I have chosen to shed some light on UI/UX industries. Organizations are investing millions to come up with stellar UI/UX. UXDesignInstitute.com cites a report on UK’s technology skills landscape, produced by Hired.com, which shows a 289% rise in requests for UX interviews.

Fortunately, you don’t need to throw hundreds and thousands of bucks to learn about this domain. In fact, there are many remote learning options you can adapt and turn into a UI/UX maestro without stepping a foot outside!

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Don’t believe this? This post will tell you how to become a self-taught UI/UX designer:

#1: Learn the UI/UX fundamentals

The user experience on a website is one of the most critical parts of a successful web design. According to Amazon Web Services, UX stats reveal that 88% of online shoppers do not return to a website after having a bad user experience. This means that before you leap into the landscape, you should understand the main principles of UI/UX designs.

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It focuses on creating a delightful experience by meeting users’ needs, studying them through user psychology. Understanding why users perform some actions and compelling them to continue navigating the site is key to creating a reliable digital product.

Luckily, there are plenty of affordable UI/UX tutorials and resources within our reach nowadays. Once you have decided to kickstart this journey on your own, look up the education tracks offered at the special degree programs, courses, certifications, and boot camps.

ui ux tutorialsui ux tutorials

Generally, you can find an overview of topics and course requirements for programs at Georgia Tech, Stanford, and other such names. Type the course name and look at what students will be learning in those courses. Sometimes, the classes are even offered free if you want to follow a structured learning platform.

You can go the extra mile and ask the professionals about their favorite books and resources. Take a look at profiles on LinkedIn that are atop of the charts of UI/UX design, ask them to enlist their favorite titles to help you out.

#2: Seek learning experiences

This is your journey. You have to watch out for everything that helps enhance your learning in this field. A little experience and challenge can make oodles of difference in your overall perspective.

For example, check out the samples on CodePen to create a cool impact of your own.

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At the same time, keep looking for tutorials to improve your learning. Build a portfolio and keep creating designs to add to it. When you have more things to show, your chances of getting better opportunities will also grow.

learning through codepenlearning through codepen

Here is a list of recommendations we give to every aspiring UI/UX designer:

Subscribe to DailyUI.co. They send small interface challenges every day that helps build your skills.
Keep an eye on NGOs and volunteer organizations looking to showcase their work online and increase their reach.
Always ensure you have a project on the side. A side project forces you to think, innovate, and create.
Share your projects on Dribbble, and/or Behance. Reddit, too has an active community that is all set to give its feedback when needed.

#3: Invest in the best design tools

It is essential to invest in remarkable tools that bring your designs to life. You can begin by applying your knowledge via those tools to develop an impactful UX for the users.

There are many great tools available in the market. We suggest our readers try out a few industry hotshots, such as Sketch, Adobe XD, and Figma.

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This is a quick rundown of the features each software brings to the table:

Sketch – Sketch is the digital design app for macOS. Designers who use Sketch prefer it for its plugin capabilities and intuitive interface.
Adobe XD – Adobe XD was designed with users in mind. It is completely free and enables you to develop designs and prototypes.
Figma – Figma is a collaborative design tool used for digital projects. It is the latest UI/UX software globally and turned into the top choice for designers.

design tool adobexddesign tool adobexd

More and more tools in the area of UI/UX sprout every day. Each tool comes with its own pros and cons. It is always good to learn a couple of these tools and collaborate to create flawless designs.

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#4: Start creating a portfolio

Reading books and watching tutorials is good for nothing if you are not practicing. If you want to become proficient in UI/UX, you must design digital products and start collecting a solid work profile.

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You can download free UI kits to help you get started. A UI kit is a set of pre-designed components that contain essential visual elements for any UI design. It provides all details about fonts, icons, menus, buttons, etc.

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Use these kits to design your app or website. You can start by doing redesigns of existing ideas. Pick your favorite websites and delve into the ways to make them more powerful. You can also learn how to create a mockup for your design and post it online to get more exposure.

Make sure that your web design is optimized for mobile phones. Failing to prioritize mobile optimization can lead your designs down the drain. According to Think with Google, 50% fewer users will prefer a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly.

At the same time, it is also essential to keep the price factor in mind. Learn how much it costs to design a mobile app or a website to ensure you can control the budget.

If you need help to manage the projects, Bonsai is the place to be. It helps build a portfolio and explore how you can recreate the current designs with better functionality.

#5: Network with the pros

As you are learning what to do, how do you get the right people around you? It is crucial to know professionals in the same field as this is your gateway to abundant opportunities. You can Google local or virtual events coming up and participate in them.

Aspiring self-learners have made the most out of such activities. They participate in mock interviews and ask for feedback on their portfolio.

It may be awkward in the beginning. But it gets easier with time. You get more confident, and you are grateful for the relationships you build along the way.

networking with other designersnetworking with other designers
Verdict – Become the complete package

UI/UX designers should always stay in the learning loop. There is a broad range of ways to delight your users. Hence, it would help if you kept learning what could bring users on edge and compel them to convert.

Participate in workshops and study literature. Look at how brilliant minds are creating strides in this field. Having the right gear and knowledge will help you excel in your field and strike the best deals.

I hope this blog has given you the perspective needed to begin the journey of self-learning.

(This guest post is written by Mehul Rajput for Hongkiat.com. Mehul is a CEO of MindInventory (mindinventory.com), a software development company that provide web and mobile app solutions from startup to enterprise level company. His role involves heading the operations related to business and delivery with strategic planning and defining the roadmap for the future.)

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