The rising need for UX designers has made designers wonder: should I change my graphic design career and switch to UX design? This is definitely a lucrative career in the digital world, with salaries ranging from US$75,000 to US$100,000 per year for seasonal designers. UX design is also an in-demand profession with a prospective future.
Should you change your career? What kind of skills do you need to have to switch?
What is UX Design?
UX design refers to design that contributes to the way users interact with products, like apps and websites. Many people think UX design is the same as UI (user interface), because the word “design” is often used for just visual aspects.
In reality, UX design is related to the whole interaction between design and users’ satisfaction with the products. There are several ideal criteria UX designers need to fulfill when designing projects, which are:
A good product must be easy to use and can be learned quickly by first-time users. They must make users’ life easier instead of more complicated.
A good product must answer the specific needs the users lack, which they try to fulfill by choosing that exact product.
Aside from usefulness and usability, the product needs to evoke desire in users to buy it. This element can make or break a successful purchase (or good review).
An ideal product should be accessible to as many users as possible. This includes users with disabilities.
These factors are something designers with a graphic design background can relate to. Aside from those factors, a good product should be easy to find and come from a respectable, trusted maker, brand, or manufacturer.
How Graphic Design Translates to UX Design
While graphic design and UX design are not the same, they have overlapping elements you can channel in a career shift. For example, both aim to evoke emotions from the audience or users. However, graphic designers combine colors, motifs, shapes, textures, and fonts to evoke emotions, while UX designers focus on usability and accessibility to get similar results.
Graphic and UX designers must follow certain design conventions when designing apps with buttons that use color codes; graphic and UX designers should understand what to expect from users when they see those colors. For example, red means alert or strong warning, while green gives “okay” for users to proceed.
Skills Graphic Designers Need to Learn
Graphic designers have transferrable skills to switch careers to UX design. However, there are some specific skills UX designers must have that you probably need to collect before deciding to change careers. They include:
User Flow and Prototyping
These tasks are close to each other because they are vital for the early production stage. User flow is a diagram that describes each step taken to finish a task. Prototyping is the process of creating a usable simulation or sample, which is used to get feedback and review before launching the product officially. Graphic designers must hone these skills if they want to contribute to UX design.
Commercial graphic designers can benefit from the skill of making mockups. They are parts of prototyping physical products, from shoes to smart food packages.
Basic Coding and App Development
You better understand basic coding if you aim to work in the digital or tech fields. UX designers are not expected to know to code since other professionals deal with that aspect. However, learning the basics of coding and app development wouldn’t hurt in the long run. These skills give you a basic understanding of what to expect from the product after you design it.
A UX designer is expected to collaborate with professionals from other fields. For example, you need to work with UI designers, developers, or market researchers, depending on the products you must develop. You need to have a basic understanding of what they expect and present your works in a way that understands their points of view.
User research skill is essential in creating features future customers would love to buy. A company usually has a dedicated research department, but knowing the basics is important and gives a solid ground for your design.
Shifting your graphic design career to UX design is feasible, providing you have all the skills necessary (including transferable skills). Make sure to build all the additional skills before you enter the new field as a UX designer.