User experience (UX) design is all about providing a relevant and meaningful experience to users. It involves the entire process of integrating the product, along with crucial aspects like branding, product design, usability, and function. In essence, UX design could be anything that meets a particular consumer's needs in a specific context when they use a product or service.
UX design involves knowledge of several different fields, including market research, consumer psychology, design and technology, business strategies, and copywriting to an extent. So, in addition to the aesthetics of a product or technology, a good UX designer must be able to gauge a consumer’s needs and develop a product that matches or exceeds their expectations.
Needless to say, designers rely on a complete dashboard of tools to produce their end product. Here are some of the need-to-know programs if you're pursuing a career in UX.
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Tools Used by UX Designers
UX design tools are a combination of design workflows, information architecture as well as prototyping. Some commonly used tools in the field of UX design include:
- FlowMapp: This specialized UX design app also helps in project planning, team interactions, organizing projects, and communicating with clients.
- Balsamiq: You can create low fidelity wireframes and layouts easily in Balsamiq. Even if you’re inexperienced in wireframing, you’ll find this tool accessible to use. It also enables interaction within teams and with external clients.
- Wireframe.cc: This one helps UX designers create low fidelity wireframes very quickly.
- TreeJack: Information architecture is an overall package that needs to be taken care of by a UX designer. When designing a website along with its structure and flow, the quality of the content matters too. This is where information architecture comes into play. With TreeJack you can test the website design with real users. It provides valuable insights.
- Figma: This vector-based tool helps with illustrations, prototyping, and code generation. It has style libraries that make the process of creating and updating a web design easy.
- UX Pin: This platform offers design, prototyping and handoffs on Windows, Mac, or in a simple browser. It can also be integrated with PhotoShop, which allows designers to convert static files into interactive prototypes without losing any layers. With UX Pin, you can design an entire UX from scratch—right from low-fidelity wireframes to high-fidelity prototypes. Important features like UI patterns, codeless animations, and interactivity can be easily added by dragging and dropping, even onto basic wireframes.
- Sketch: Sketch is an image editor for digital design and is primarily a vector-based tool that enables you to draw and resize figures without loss of sharpness. It offers automatic slicing features and one-click exports that allow you to develop assets in a variety of formats. Sketch is great for wireframing as well as prototyping. It’s available only for Mac users, although Windows users can open and edit files through the Lunacy app. You can get this tool for a one-time payment, but you have to renew the license yearly to get updates.
- Photoline: Photoline offers features like photo manipulation, non-destructive layers, vector editing, and desktop publishing. It also features a few exclusive bonuses, like multi-layered EXR importing and exporting. It’s a good app if you’re on a budget as it’s available at a cheaper rate compared to its counterparts.
- User Testing: This is a tool used for user research and prototype testing. Target users are recruited, and their reactions to the product or technology are gauged via video and audio channels over a short period. Another app with a similar function is Objectively.
Other apps used for different facets of UX design include Atomic, Framer, InVision, WebFlow, Axure, Principle, Origami Studio, Just in Mind, XMind, Mural, StylifyMe.
It’s worth having a look at the functionality of each app, as they cover different aspects of UX design, such as color coding, prototyping, and even software coding.
Kickstart Your Career in UX Design
Most companies hiring UX designers look for tech-related qualifications, like computer science, IT, or computer programming. But you don’t necessarily need a degree to get hired. You can opt for an online course or bootcamp, like Thinkful’s UX / UI Design program, which is offered in both a full-time and part-time format. This course will help you build an interview-ready portfolio and show your employer that you have the cutting-edge design skills they need. The best part is that Thinkful offers a job guarantee within six months—meaning your tuition is free if you don’t find a job fast.
With the right skills, tools and qualifications, a career in UX design could be just what you’ve been searching for. To read more about UX, check out Thinkful’s UX/UI Design blog. You can also read more about career outcomes for this exciting field.
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