So You Wanna be an UX/UI Designer...

Written by Analdo Gomez, Senior UI / UX Designer

UX/UI design is a discipline that requires broad knowledge in marketing and technology, not to mention psychology. Oftentimes, even some of the most experienced designers tend to forget some of the fundamentals, including myself. That’s why I’ve put together this list.


1. Know Thy Audience


Good UX/UI is the happy harmony of user and business goals. Start by putting yourself in the user’s shoes, trying to understand their needs and wants. Then, think about how your product/design can help them.


Build User Personas: Like a character profile in a novel, describe your target audience. Age range, pain points, expectations, and current toolset are some of the important details to fill in.


Create User Flows: Start thinking about the steps they must take to perform an action and start building out the most effective path. I like to start by writing it on Post-it Notes.


Define the Golden Path: This is what we would consider the optimal way to successfully engage your audience. For example, iTunes’s Golden Path would be: Sign up -> Setup Payment Account -> Create List -> Buy new albums. This helps everyone see the big picture.


Sketch and Iterate: In a sense, a good UX/UI design is like a work of art. That’s why I always think it’s a great idea to have a pencil handy and actually sketch what the interface will look like.


The 3 pillars are Navigation, Content, Metadata.

  • Navigation needs to be always available, users have to know where they are, how to leave, and also return.
  • Content needs to be easy to digest and to the point. ‘Nuff said!
  • Metadata should be short and unobtrusive, such as: What type of user am I? What team am I part of? When did I log in?.

Use Concise Language: “Home”, “My Team”, “My Profile” are good examples for basic navigation terms.


When in design mode, ask yourself the following:

  1. How effective is the interface the first time I see it?
  2. After leaving for a while, How easy is it to return and relearn the interface?
  3. How pleasant is it to use?
  4. As a regular user, how long does it take to perform tasks?

2. “Pretty” is good. “Clean” is better.


Of course, looks play an important factor in the success of your app. My personal motto/ideal is: keep it simple. Guiding users through simple and intuitive visual elements increases usability and overall satisfaction.


This usually means

  • Good use of white space.
  • Big CTAs with a clear purpose and consistent position.
  • Limited color schemes helps readability for visually-impaired users.

3. Never forget about the “new guy”


Your interface needs to be a welcoming place for the first-time user. Amazing features can fall flat if there’s too steep a learning curve. Try:


  • Step by Step tutorials: Guide them through the basic steps they need to take to perform tasks. Open more options as the user progresses and gets more familiar with the app.
  • Guided Tours: Point out the main components. Use clearly distinguishable elements so the user knows where to start. Having the user learn where to find their shopping cart, for example, is as easy as adding a “Here are your items” popup.

4. Other Things to Consider


Iconography: UI designers often like to create custom visual elements and icons. But including standard icons will help users more quickly understand features common with other applications.


Accessibility: Information can be presented in a lot of ways to accommodate a diverse range of users. Consider audio helpers for visually impaired users, language options, and color blind settings.


Security: Adding features such as 2-step verification can be important when working with user data. These are things you need to talk about with the developer.


These are a few of my core tenets of designing new user interfaces. What key concepts are included in your UX/UI design process? Let me know in the comments below.


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