UX vs. Graphic vs. UI Design
Largely different from the days of posters and magazines, design in today’s digital world has many more stories of complexity. It challenges designers to have an understanding of many different phases of design and to follow a method that ensures what we create pictures. UX’ers do the level plan, creativities set the mood.
Where do you sit on the design scale?
Imagine walking into a house where you’ve never been before, but everything feels just right. The decoration matches your taste, you understand which light switches turn on which lights — and you know where to find the coffee cups — it just feels like the place has been designed around you!
That’s what UX does! So when you download an app or visit a website for the first time and it feels like that — you know a User Experience Designer (UX Designer) has been there.
Hey guys, my name is Justin and in this quick read, I’m going to explain what makes a UX Designer different from a Graphic or User Interface Designer.
I’ll also explain:
- How a UX Designer approaches a design challenge;
- Some example activities;
- How much money they make;
- And what experience you’ll need to get started.
How a UX Designer’s plan different from a Graphic or User Interface Designer?
In most cases, a UX designer is involved in a project from fairly early on, whereas Graphic or User interface designers normally join a bit later to add the polish.
So while a Graphic or User Interface Designer would perform the details such as typography, color palette, and image characteristic, a UX Artist would do things that notify the product vision further up the pipeline — which leads nicely into the next section:
Some example activities that a UX Designer does:
While a Graphic or UI Designer would usually do things such as create mood committees to inform the art direction of a design or design a brand’s Visual Style Guide, a UX Designer would do things like:
- Interview people from the business to understand Business Goals;
- Create prototypes/imitations of a new design;
- Test that new design with actual customers and make improvements based on feedback.
But those are just a few — a longer list could be:
- Conducting Competitor research;
- Heuristic reviews;
- Workshops with stakeholders;
- Sketching and wire framing;
- Checking with web developers to check if the design can be built.
A UX Designer has a broad set of skills — but always uses them to deliver the best experience to the end-user, while making sure that business requirements are met.
Because, at the end of the day, Design is all about the bottom line.
So how much do UX Designers earn?
UX Designers earn pretty good money and enjoy the 2nd best work-life balance rating according to this study.
About medium, UX Designers earn almost double what Graphic Designers do — and also slightly higher than a UI Designer. If you read around the web you’ll see that UX Designers earn between $100,000 and $120,000 (depending on industry & knowledge). Graphic designers earn about $50,000 — while UI Designers earn just a bit less than UX.
What experience do you need to get started as a UX Designer?
UX Designers come from all walks of life. Some from Psychology, some from HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), some from Interior Design — I worked with somebody who is now the head of UX at a very well-known retailer who started as a secretary in a shipping company. So anything is possible but the bare minimum you’ll need is a keen interest in design and problem-solving.
A lot of the work that is done by UX Designers is less about the Visual and Creative Design side of things — but more about the insights you learn about users, and how you solve real-world problems through the solutions you create for digital products.
In terms of tools; Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Corel Draw are some of the tools of choice for Graphic and User Interface Designers.
For UX Designers, the most common design software is Sketch, Adobe XD, and Invision. But on the research side — which is arguably much more important — there are several tools such as Usertesting.com, Optimal Workshop, and Hotjar.
But perhaps the favorite among many UX’ers would have to be Post-it notes, whiteboards, and marker pens!
UX Design often involves engaging directly with the end-users within Face-To-Face interviews or other workshop-style operations. In these activities, important soft skills such as curiosity, empathy, humility, and being a good listener, are essential.
UX, Graphics and User Interface Designers share a lot of commonalities — but the main thing that sets UX Designers apart is the user-centered approach and how they validate their solutions with end users so that both user and business needs are being met. If you want to be a good designer you need to focus on any one.