What is a UI designer?

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The role of a UI designer is to bring life to a digital interface’s visual design. In the simplest words, a UI designer designs the screen that a user faces while interacting with a website, application, or software.

In a broader sense, UI is a focused part of the user experience (UX) design process. It is more of the visual aspect of the user experience (UX) design that aims to make it easy for users to understand and navigate through what a website or app wants to communicate.

The role of UI design

User Interface (UI) design is a process designers use to build aesthetic interfaces for computer software, mobile applications, web applications, and websites. An interface design can make or break a deal on a digital platform. The purpose of elements and layouts created by UI designers is to facilitate users to take the desired action. When people use your app or website and can’t understand how to do what you aspire them to do, they won’t stick to it for long.

While the role of UI design is to instigate a user’s interest in your offerings, there are different formats in which users interact with designs:

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI): GUI is an interface where users interact through graphical or visual representations. Computer or mobile interactions are GUIs.
  • Voice User Interface (VUI): VUI is an interface where users interact through voice commands. Intelligent assistants like Siri and Alexa are examples of VUIs.
  • Gesture-based User Interface: The gesture-based UI involves 3D interactions. These are generally through motion, like in virtual reality (VR) games.

Whether it is an e-commerce website, a social media app, or a game, the users will leave your platform and pick others if the interface is inadequate.

The must-have skills for UI designers

A UI designer does several jobs to produce the best interface for a particular requirement. The primary tasks are:

  • Designing the appearance of the user experience from concept to launch
  • Adapting multi-device approach
  • Modifying and improving existing interfaces for a better experience
  • Collaborating with clients, engineers, and project managers to create the user experience for domain-based needs
  • Testing and analyzing new ideas and designs

To perform these tasks, a UI designer needs the following essential skills:

Technical Skills:

Design and prototyping tools

UI designers must be aware of some latest design tools that can help them create and share your designs conveniently. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Sketch, Proto.io, Adobe XD, and Invision Studio are some of the most popular tools that designers currently use.

Design principles

Over time, user experience designers and researchers have developed several design principles that help streamline the entire design process. UI designers must understand these principles’ technicality to ensure that users understand and navigate easily through a website or application. Generally, these principles discuss colors, contrasts, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, patterns, space, movement, etc.

Research in UI designs

The visual language a UI designer chooses should fit the application they are creating. And UI research plays a significant role in defining the right approach to design a particular interface. For instance, if your team is developing a social media app, it’s essential for the UI designer to know how other apps operate in the domain, what design approaches work, and what do not.

An ability to carry out deep research can help UI designers decide on minute factors that help meet the user’s expectations.

Front-end development

Although this is not a mandatory skill for a UI designer, a UI designer with front-end development knowledge may give your company a competitive advantage. The knowledge of front-end development can significantly assist a designer in their process. It often helps them understand what is or isn’t feasible to implement in the final product.

Business and Remote Work Skills:


Creativity is probably the most crucial soft skill for any designer. A UI designer lives in the creative world and has to develop unique design ideas whenever needed. However, the unique design aesthetics should always solve real-life problems.


Attention to detail is a crucial part of any job. However, when it comes to the user interface, a designer has to dive deeper to move beyond the big picture and work on subtle levels to produce a perfect appearance.


Communication skills are necessary to understand the requirements and deliver the right message. The role of communication skills becomes even more crucial when you work in teams. For example, a designer must be able to communicate his vision to clients, developers, and project managers.


The entire experience design revolves around user interaction. When you focus on the UI part, it’s not just designing beautiful screens but a beautiful experience through an interface. Empathy as a soft skill helps a designer understand what problems users might face while interacting with a design. They also become mindful of their likeability and the overall usability of the interface.

Ready to hire a UI designer?

The demand for UI designers is increasing rapidly as per the current market scenario and so is the number of new designers. So if you want to hire a designer, it could take time to find the right one.

At Andela, we connect brilliant talent with opportunities to do impactful work. Andela’s Design Practice has the talent and experience to build your next design system. If you want to hire best-in-class UI designers, put together your dream team with Andela.

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