What Is UI Design? Your Complete Guide

Author's profile picture
Alexander Georges
Author's profile picture
Lydia Chamberlain
December 2, 2020

We hear the question all the time: what is UI design?

That’s why we finally decided to create this guide for you!

Digital product design is a rapidly growing industry, which has shown tremendous growth over the last few years.

User interface design aims to provide easy-to-use and simple graphical layouts for different devices or applications. UI designs can enhance user satisfaction and improve usability.

Therefore, user interface designers make sure that a product’s color combination work well. They also make the product is well designed. It can enhance the user experience and let them use the app with real peace of mind.

You can go through this guide to learn more about a UI designer’s key roles, responsibilities, and skills. This guideline will help you get an idea about the qualities and skills present in a potential candidate. So, continue reading!

What Is User Interface Design?

User interface design is the process of designing the interface for different digital devices or software. UI design is the graphical layout of an application, and UI designers try to make it user friendly and pleasurable to look at.

User interface design consists of many of the things you see, such as:

  • Buttons you click on
  • Images you see
  • Sliders you interact with
  • Text that you read
  • Text entry fields
  • …And all the items with which the user interacts with on screen

Furthermore, UI design involves designing screen layouts, interface animations, transitions, visual elements, and the interaction with the digital product.

The user interface designer chooses different types of features such as the color scheme, width of lines, button shapes, font size, etc. according to the application’s needs. It is the responsibility of user interface designers to make the interface attractive and visually stimulating.

Daily UI Challenge: Music Player

What Do UI Designers Do?

User interface designers, or UI designers, try to understand the way how users navigate digital products. By doing this, they can provide a user-friendly interface with a fantastic-looking layout.

UI design is concerned about the appearance and layout of a website or an app. For instance, the icon’s design, their arrangements, and how they are interlinked with each other matter a lot.

The user interface designers try to choose the best suitable font size, graphics, and color schemes to get the best and most easy-to-use layout possible.

The interface plays a crucial role, as it lets the user understand the product better.

Job Description of the UI Designer

The well experienced and qualified UI designer plays a vital role in the success of an app or software. They make the interface as simple and user friendly as it can be. Therefore, users can get the maximum intended benefits from using the apps.

The following are the primary responsibility of a user interface designer:

  1. The designer creates the design of different apps or digital devices based on the users’ needs.
  2. The user interface designer has to provide an interface according to the business requirements and user journeys.
  3. The users’ feedback is crucial; therefore, UI designers also try to update the design or user interface to keep them engaged according to UX research.
  4. The designers are responsible for creating user flows, prototypes, wireframes, and low and high fidelity mockups.
  5. The designers have to communicate with engineers, product holders, and business stakeholders.
  6. The designers also keep in mind the customers’ demands and needs; therefore, they try to incorporate the usage metrics and usability findings into the design.
  7. The designers have to utilize various types of tools, such as Sketch or equivalent.
  8. The professional or experienced designer should have several skills, including communication skills, presentation, ability to collaborate, and interpersonal skills.

UI Designer Salary

The average salary that a user interface designer is about $85,000 in the United States, where the $57K is the lower limit, and $121K is at the higher limit.

If you’re working for a big search engine like Google, you can get up to $112,000 per year. Apple used to pay the highest salary to UI designer, estimated to be about $123K.

Well, you can get more amount based on your skills. Furthermore, if you are a skilled designer and get a chance to work for the most successful social media platforms, you can get up to six figures. For instance, UI designers working with LinkedIn can make up to $116,000 per year.

On the other hand, Facebook pays about $85,000 annually, which is (relatively) less than LinkedIn. From Twitter, you can make anywhere from $104,664 to $116,501 per year. The average pay rate of Twitter is almost equal to the pay rate of YouTube.

Beside those, there are several platforms where you can get paid according to work hours. For example, Microsoft can pay you up to $43 per hour. According to a study, freelance UI designers can make $59K, but that depends on who they are, their talent, and where they are working.

Design Skills

What Skills Do You Need?

The job description for a UI designer varies widely. Most of the professional designers are from other unrelated fields.

Still, it only take practice and time to become a skilled UI designer. You can be a user interface designer if you have different visual design, digital marketing, and software development skills.

Anyone can get into this field with a handful of skills. But those who have degrees either in web design or graphic designing can get more opportunities in the field.

User interface designers should learn different skills like UX research, interaction design, wireframing and prototype, interaction design, information architecture, and visual communication.

The user interface is a people-focused job. The more skilled the person, the higher their chances of getting the high paying job. The soft skills can also differentiate you from others and can make you the best candidate. A good UI designer has excellent communication skills, is always curious, and is empathetic to the users.

How to Make Great UI’s?

If you want to improve user-friendliness of an interface, you need to remember that the users are human beings. Therefore, you should design the interface according to their comfort level and mental capabilities. For this purpose, you can follow these given guidelines:

  • Being the UI designer, you need to include different buttons and font sizes that fit the device the user is using. Your mobile designs will probably be different than your web designs because the distance the user is watching from is different.
  • Always try to keep the interface or design as simple as possible. The more complex it is, the more challenging it will be for your targeted users.
  • It’s important to capture the attention of the users. Therefore, you should try to provide an attractive layout.
  • Choose the right alignment that works best for your content. For example, if you have lots of text, center-aligning makes it harder for users to read.
  • Pay attention to different features, such as color, brightness, and contrast. All of these factors can make your interface appealing.
  • Furthermore, the typography should fit your theme. Try to also choose the font size very carefully. You can bold, italicize, or capitalize words to break up the content.
  • It’s important to minimize the number of steps a user is required to take to accomplish their main goals.
  • Make the page’s main call-to-action (called CTA) clearly visible. For instance, the button for the submission of the form should be clearly visible.
  • The user interface designer’s responsibility is to keep the users informed regarding the system responses or actions. For example, if the user has done something wrong, the UI designer should clearly show the user has made an error. In this case, showing a message in red could grab the user’s attention.
  • Try to avoid dark patterns, like dark text on a dark background. Conversely, avoid light text on a light background. If you need help with seeing if there’s enough contrast, you can use Webaim’s contrast checker.
  • It is essential to maintain brand consistency. If the company you’re doing work for is medium or large in size, they will likely provide you with a style guide to follow.
  • It is highly recommended to show users the upcoming steps in a flow. For example, if the user is on the checkout page of your website, you could say that in the next step, the user will see a review of their soon-to-be purchase.

Let’s now dive into some of the common roles, or responsibilities, of UI designers.

computer UI

Five Common UI Designer Job Roles

User interface designers should be capable of performing multiple tasks. UI design is a growing field that offers a vast range of niches to specialize in, such as UX writing, usability testing, interaction design, visual design, and many more. The UI designer has to perform a mixture of many of these activities:

User Interface Design

A user interface designer’s primary aim is to create user-friendly and attractive interfaces based on user research insights.

To achieve this goal, they need to make the best use of different processes such as wireframing, prototyping, and usability testing. UI design is pretty comprehensive and can include various other functions too, such as the ones listed below.

Visual Design

Visual design can make the look or physical feel of the digital product appealing. It includes everything from packaging to web design.

UI designers work in combination with the interaction designers and user interface copywriters to create a user-friendly and efficient experience. Furthermore, the designers create the prototypes at the end of the design phase.

Research and Usability

UI designers get the information and feedback from the users through interviews. Furthermore, the designers also test the users in their natural environment and conduct surveys.

Depending on the company, a UI designer might be responsible for doing the user research. If they are, they would be responsible for converting both structured and unstructured qualitative and quantitative data into usable insights for the user interface team.

However, many companies have UX designers or UX researchers dedicated to doing this.


UI designers can bring their designs into something functional through code. Most companies don’t expect UI designers to do the coding themselves, but rather expect them to work with developers.

However, UI designers that understand how to code are seen as much more valuable and will likely be paid better. If you go this route, you must have knowledge on computer languages such as HTML, JS, and CSS.

User Interface Writing

User interface writing is a niche specialty. Sometimes it’s called UX writing, or the title might be called a “UX writer.” Depending on the company, you might work with a UX designer or UX writer that specialize in writing the copy that goes on the interface you design, but in some smaller companies or startup, you might be expected to do it yourself.

wireframe image

Is UI Design Right For Me?

User interface design is a multidisciplinary field that anyone can get into. There is no hard and fast rule about getting a job in this field.

Putting The Users First

User interface designers research the customers’ needs and then provide the necessary graphical layout that makes it easy to navigate. They provide the best customer support and try to get feedback from users through the prototypes they design.

If you’re interested in learning about what people want and filling that need through your designs, then this role might be right for you.

Humanizing Technology

Digital devices, smartphones, and computers are only useful when the customers or users know how to use them. But if the user cannot use or understand them, then the businesses that created them lose customers and money.

UI designers find what the user needs and then design an easy to use and navigate product. They can take complex subjects like legal documents or taxes and make them easy for the user to understand or use.

If you like turning difficult subjects into something understandable for people, you might like being a UI designer.

Switching Among Tasks

UI design is multi-disciplinary. As a UI designer, you must be able to understand and perform different tasks at different times. For instance, a designer might work on visual design of an app on one day and then switch to creating a prototype on the next.

You might enjoy UI design if you don’t like doing the same task repetitively.

Communication with Other Teams

Communication is the keys to success for UI designers. They have to collaborate with different groups. Therefore they can be successful only when they know how to work in a team.

The designers must be able to speak publicly because they must present their work to stakeholders and teammates. They can bring different team members together on the same platform. They must have confidence and be well versed in citing why they made the design decisions they did.

Immersive 3D Elements

The popularity of 3D design has increased over the last few years.

3D design lets UI designers create an attractive product that stands out from competitors But to successfully implement it, you need to have a website that can give a high performance due to 3D elements being strenuous on computers.

But if your site takes a long time to load or is not well-optimized, you might want to stay away from 3D design. You can always talk to your developers to see if it’s a good idea or not.

So if you’re interested in 3D design, you can provide something new to the UI design space, especially in AR or VR.

Mixing Photography With Graphics

Overlapping graphics into images is another trend in UI design in 2020. It can make your website look and feel more human than it might otherwise.

So if photography is your thing, you can certainly use it to enhance the look of your website.Playing With Color Combinations

Bright and unusual colors are starting to trend with UI designers. People are using website like Coolers to create unique color styles that make their products stand out from the crowd. If you want to set the trends, you can try some new and unique things.

If you like playing with colors and designs, UI design just might be for you.

Black & White Bundle iPhone X Template Product Cover Image

UI Design Trends

The digital tendencies and demands of the user varies every day. Therefore, it’s essential to keep the design and interface of your site updated.

Customers tend to only visit websites that draw attention through an appealing layout. Therefore, if you want to ensure a successful product, you need to keep the design of your products updated.

Dark mode is one of the most recent trends.

Dark Mode

If you’ve been to any major platform recently, it probably had a dark mode. This is for both accessibility and comfort reasons. Different platforms such as Instagram, Apple, Android, and many others offer an alternative theme. The following are the reasons for this offer:

  1. It’s an advanced feature for hardcore users
  2. It helps in highlighting and elements on a page
  3. It can reduce eye strain in low light or at night
  4. It can save the battery power

You will find many desktop and mobile applications that offer visitors the option to choose a dark mode or a light mode. For instance, iPhone users can select the time to change the appearance of their smartphone automatically.


You can make an app easy to access, understandable, and appealing through user interface design. UI design brings different ideas together, such as interaction design, information architecture, and visual design, to create a user-friendly product.

UI designers work hard to provide a beautiful and easy-to-navigate product to people. If you want your business to stay competitive, you should hire a UI designer

let's talk

Have an idea? Need some design expertise?
Let us help.
Send a Message