7 must-know topics and skills for UI/UX designers

If you search LinkedIn or other specialized job platforms, you’ll notice plenty of positions available for UX/UI designers. Competition is stiff, so you must have good skills to get ahead.

Here, we share with you seven vital topics and skills to help you grow your user experience and interface design career. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you know all there is to know – always try to keep learning about new developments.

1. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is the foundation of everything in UX/UI design. Understanding HCI and keeping it in mind at all times throughout the development of your career will set you apart from the rest. It will help you better understand the all-important connection between the user and the product.

There are several resources for studying HCI, one of the best is the Interaction Design Foundation. Courses with Professor Alan Dix cover all the basic and advanced topics of HCI practice, user experiences and usability.

skills for UI/UX designers

2. User research

Knowing your users in depth is a must if you want to design successful products. And to achieve this, you must be able to conduct user research. It’s not enough to ask two or three people what they think; you must conduct more in-depth research

User research is conducted before production starts, even before creating visual mockups. Part of the research involves building user profiles. If it turns out that several different profiles could take advantage of the product, a profile should be created for each.

3. Information architecture and user flows

Certain actions must be first on your list when designing and creating a product. In the first place comes the building of an information architecture so that you know for sure what you are dealing with. Visually, information architecture is a flowchart connecting all the pieces, creating the first draft of what will become a complete user flow later

The information architecture includes general details of what you want to accomplish, including an overview of content and interfaces and interactions. It’s best to create your information architecture with a digital program in which you can make changes during production. Figma is a good choice for this task.

skills for UI/UX designers

4. Mock-ups, wireframes and prototypes

To advance in your UX/UI career, it’s essential to prepare mockups, wireframes and prototypes. This area combines several skills into one; they are all techniques that go hand in hand. One has no existence without the other. 

Mockups, structures, wireframes and prototypes are the preliminary steps before creating a full product. They could be described as sketches at different levels of completion. 

Mockups are a basic visual construction of what a digital product might look like when finished. These generally fall to the graphic or UI designer.

Wireframes are the first step toward the development of the actual product. Using simple shapes, a draft structure of what the design will look like is put together. It doesn’t include colors or typography, just a foundational structure. 

Little by little, final elements are added until the prototype is reached. Prototypes are much more similar to the final design and can be used in user tests. Using these techniques shortens a digital product’s creation time and solves usability problems before they become too difficult to fix.

5. Agile Product Development Methodology

Many design and production teams use the Agile methodology to work smoothly and efficiently in a team. The basic idea of the Agile methodology is user satisfaction, preparing the way for rapid changes and constant iterations until a “finished” state is reached. 

In an agile methodology for UX design, work is organized in sprints. Each sprint includes a specific number of activities, decided by the product owner according to the size of the team and the urgency of the iteration. Each activity has a user story, and a rule to know the goal. A story is only considered finished when everyone agrees it is “finished”.

Learn all you need to know about the Agile methodology for UX with the Interaction Design Foundation course.

skills for UI/UX designers

6. Basic knowledge of computer languages (code)

To work as an experience interface designer, you don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of computer languages, much less to be able to code. But what will help you is to know what they are, how they work and what each is used for. This way, you can better understand the programmers and coders in charge of your project. 

There is a lot of discussion about whether UX/UI designers need to be able to code to do their job well. The truth is that they don’t. But what if the team is small? If the UI designer has knowledge of computer languages, he/she will be able to contribute some of his/her time in advancing the code base and style sheets. 

7. Teamwork with Figma and Flaticon

An experience and interface designer works better as part of a team. With tools like Figma and Flaticon, professional, agile designs can be created collaboratively. The Flaticon UIcons pack is available for download in the Figma community. The different styles are ideal for mockups, wireframes and prototypes of your interface design. Discover UIcons and improve your interface designs.

skills for UI/UX designers