[Full list] What tools do you need in 2021 to become UX/UI designer?

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Starting your business in the world of UX/UI design is not an easy task. Can you say there is such a thing as a complete list of tools and technologies that you need to master in order to successfully search for a job as a UX/UI designer? Yes. I have decided to create a full list for you to help you enter the digital industry or change your profession into a UX/UI designer.

What is UX/UI design?

Well, first of all, you need to separate these two definitions. The easiest way to express the definition of UX and UI as follows:
User experience, UX  – the whole experience the user experiences while using the product. (…) Designing user experience (user experience design) is designing interactive products with particular attention to the fact that interaction with them provides users with positive experiences. The product should: present itself in a way that is attractive to the user, be functional, ergonomic, useful, using it should be enjoyable and rewarding. (…) To achieve their goals, user experience designers usually use the user-oriented design methodology. User experience design can be successfully applied not only to software, but also to overall customer service in marketing. One of the user experience testing tools is user testing. – Source: https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience
In turn, the definition of UI is much simpler and is as follows:
User Interface, UI – space where human-machine interaction takes place. – Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_interface
Remember: In the job market, you will often find positions such as:
  • UX Designer
  • UI Designer
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Product Designer
  • UX Researcher
You can add the prefix “Senior-“ or “Junior-“ to each of these terms – and it is always adequate to your experience expressed in years. In my opinion, applying for a Senior Product Designer or Senior UX/UI Designer makes sense when you have:
  • several years of experience in this industry (or at least in the digital industry as such)
  • solid projects in your portfolio.

What are the earnings of a UX/UI designer?

UX/UI designer salaries depends primarily on your experience in the industry and the need for your skills in the country where you intend to work. Currently, the situation on the international market looks favorable for UX/UI people. But remember, good designers wants to develop, they do not treat this profession as an easy way to earn money, but they have a feeling responsibility. It’s true that UX is “on the roll” right now just like a frontend development 5-8 years ago. However, no boom lasts forever. So you can expect that the broad concept of UX Designer will start to narrow down to narrower and narrower specializations, (eg. UX Researcher and so on)

What technologies are good to know in this job?

HTML5 and CSS

It would be good for you know HTML5 and CSS3 as well. These are the simplest programming languages in the world (and I say that because I’ve seen other programming languages). They are necessary to create the first layer of websites called front-end. If you know HTML5 well, you will be able to create simple (and even quite complicated!) structures: eg a home page divided into “header”, “photos” and “contact us” sections, couple of subpages etc. On the other hand, CSS3 will be useful for you to give this whole structure a beautiful look.

RWD

RWD stands for Responsive Web Design. In short: when you will designing a website (or web application), you will have to take into account that a typical user today uses not only a laptop, but also a tablet and a mobile phone. Your task will be to create a project that will recognize on which device it is currently displayed and adjust the layout of all elements accordingly. Pretty challenging, huh?

Bootstrap/Flexbox + Grid

It would be great if you will master Bootstrap framework, which is something like HTML/CSS “on steroids”. It makes the work much easier, because certain rules and structures applicable to every modern project have been placed within it. There is no point in reinventing the wheel every time we buy a car, right? Bootstrap and Flexbox work in a similar way. In turn, the thing called Grid will allow you to design websites or applications (e.g. in Photoshop) in a 12-column layout, which makes your work much easier.

What tools will I need?

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is one of most popular UX/UI designer tool in the world.

Photoshop is one of most popular UX/UI designer tool in the world. / Photo: Wikipedia

To keep your designs pleasing to the eye, you should master at least one raster graphics program. The most popular and one of the best software for designing and graphic processing is Photoshop. Intentionally designed for photo filtering and photomontage, today it is a real multitasker: you will create a design of a modern website, mobile application, all graphics and finally you will present the results of your work in the form of an aesthetic mock-up. Must have for you! URL: https://www.adobe.com/pl/products/photoshop.html

Sketch

If you work on macOS, you can’t do UX/UI job without Sketch. You should be familiar with the Sketch program and be able to create a project on it not only if you prefer a Mac – it will be good to know it because of your co-workers. With Sketch, you can create real UX wonders: it can be used for designing mobile applications, websites, landing pages, as well as quite complex administration interfaces. URL: https://www.sketch.com/

Figma

Figma is a competitor to Sketch. It is a vector graphics program that is great for creating a decent UI. It works on macOS and Windows – so if you are a Microsoft fan, you should start with this tool. URL: https://www.figma.com/

inVision Studio

We’re still near Windows – check out the inVision website and see for yourself that you can download inVision Studio Free in .exe file. What is inVision Studio? The producer himself describes his product as “The world’s most powerful screen design tool”. Is he right? You should judge it for yourself. Please remember, that when you enter the UX/UI world, you will meet inVision sooner or later. URL: https://www.invisionapp.com/

Axure RP

Another of the most popular prototyping software is Axure RP. With its features, you will prepare a project that will be pleasant not only to the user, but also that will appeal to developers – your future co-workers who will be responsible for creating a real, working application using your project. URL: https://www.axure.com/

What are the further development prospects?

It is good to remember that the profession of a UX/UI Designer will evolve at an unpredictable direction. Most likely, it will be dizzying – taking into account the dynamics of technological development in the entire digital industry. Remember that you will have to spend a large part of your time (and money!) on education, further skills development and the purchase of a license for tools (if your employer does not provide them). This means that you will never really stop learning. Perhaps you will choose the development path offered to you by the employer and you will be heading towards the Senior UX/UI Designer. Such an occupation can bring you a lot of satisfaction. However, remember that this is not the only way you have. It may happen that you will start dreaming about creating an application from scratch to finished product – then you will start thinking seriously about becoming a Full Stack Developer. Regardless of your choices, I wish you a lot of satisfaction with your work and successful projects!
Błażej Piątek

Błażej Piątek

UX/UI Designer who loves to creates apps mockups & WordPress websites. In love with PS, HTML5, CSS3. Privately a passionate about aviation and medical rescue.

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