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How to Learn UI Design: A Beginner’s Guide

You can only learn so much by Googling “UI design.” To really learn UI design, you first need to understand what it is and how it’s used. In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of user interface design, plus the best UI courses and resources you can browse to start mastering this tech field. 

Learning UI design will increase your chances of landing a top tech job. Many companies are seeking employees with web design skills to enhance their online presence by driving traffic to their site. UI designers are the key to better-looking interfaces and their functional aspects. 

What Is UI Design?

User interface design is the process of building interfaces for digital devices. This can include web pages, software, and mobile apps. The designer’s main agenda is to create a UI layout that is both visually appealing and functional.

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An interface includes all the elements that enable the user to access and use the functions on a website as they please. Among these are input controls, navigational components, data containers, and informational components.

UI is a combination of graphic design, information architecture, and interaction design. Graphic design includes colors, fonts, and images. Interaction design elements are those that allow the user to interact with the website. 

Overall, a strong user interface design should be organized intuitively, so that the user can easily find the information they’re looking for.

What Is UI Design Used For?

It is up to UI designers to make sure that a digital product engages viewers. They work in conjunction with UX designers to ensure the final product is functional, as well as attractive. Below are some of the main tasks of a UI designer.

Create Aesthetically Pleasing Interfaces

A UI designer’s primary role is to ensure users are visually attracted to a website, application, or software. An appealing, simple digital product can have a big impact on its popularity.

Color and texture can be used to influence users’ decisions, so knowing what theme and textures to choose is a great skill to possess. 

Structure Information

Part of UI design work is structuring how information will be displayed on an interface. It is important that you consider the relationship between the items on the system or website and place them accordingly. Knowing how to use typography to increase readability is also a key skill.

Create Functional Aspects

UI designs must also communicate effectively with the user. The designer should set up UI elements that inform the user of actions that the system is taking. This transparency plays a major role in ensuring that businesses retain their customers.

Learn UI Design: Step-by-Step

Taking it one step at a time is a good way to learn UI. You can do this by tackling a combination of books, tutorials, classes, and training in the right order. Below are some  basic steps you should take to become a UI designer.

1. Get Familiar With Basic UI Concepts

First, you should familiarize yourself with basic concepts. Research color, symmetry, asymmetry, contrast, consistency, and typography. 

2. Attend a Class

Don’t underestimate the power of a classroom course when learning any practical subject. This is the best way to learn because it allows you to instantly clarify problems, create connections, and seek additional learning opportunities.

3. Read a Book

There are many UI Design books out there penned by experts. These texts will cover fundamentals, and raise interesting examples. The best way to learn about UI best practices is through reading. 

4. Get Formal Training

Once you have the basics down, you should consider signing up for professional training. Due to COVID-19, you might want to attend an online training course, several of which we have listed below.

5. Practice

At this stage, you’ll be ready to take on design projects. Completing small projects will help you identify your areas of weakness and develop your strengths. 

The Best UI Design Courses

A man searching for images online
There are many methods for learning to build functional UI designs.

There are plenty of reputable online courses taught by experts who will train you to create aesthetically pleasing visual designs. We’ve reviewed them all and found the ten best UI design courses. 

Sketch Course – UI Design

This is an exceptional Skillshare course for learning how to design using the popular Sketch graphics software. In it, you will learn about vector tools, symbols, colors, typography and how to create interactive prototypes. These practical lessons will help you advance your UI design skills.

Introduction to UI Design

The University of Minnesota offers this course through Coursera to teach the basics of UI design. It will get you up to speed on industry standards so you can start creating professional designs.

The beginner-friendly curriculum will help you gain a better understanding of both UI and UX design through basic design principles, theories, and best practices. 

The free course also goes deeper into the UI design process, covering the psychology and human factors that affect how users interact with digital products. The experienced instructors will encourage you to try out many design tools, and will mentor you to a professional level.

Principles + Practices for Great UI Design 

Udemy is known for providing all kinds of skill-building courses. This class will teach you how to create usable UI designs for different applications, systems, and websites. This includes studying how to use colors and typography to convey a message, and how to include imagery in your designs.

The beginner-friendly class also covers design principles such as how to balance form and function to enhance user experience. 

Become a UI/UX Designer

This Springboard course on UI design does not require you to have any prior experience in design. The nine-month program will help you develop the mindset of a UI designer, and you will leave with a portfolio to prove it. The instructor will teach you how to conduct and synthesize user research and how to design visually pleasing programs using wireframes and sketching.

In the lessons, you will develop career-oriented skills, and will learn to navigate the job market. You will regularly meet with career coaches and mentors who will guide you toward your career goals.

UI Design Program

This nine-month UI design course by Careerfoundry is offered online on a flexible schedule, and taught by expert instructors. You will learn all the skills and tools you need to become a UI designer. To complete the program, you must build a portfolio with the help of your instructor and a career coach.

The platform also features a money-back guarantee if you fail to land a job within 180 days of graduation.

Visual Elements of User Interface Design

This California Institute of the Arts course will teach you what a UI designer is and how you can meet professional UI design standards. The lessons include intense lectures and visual exercises to help you understand the visual components of UI design.

The program is suitable for anyone with a background in graphics, front end, or backend web development.

UI Design with Photoshop

This Udemy lesson covers UI design basics in just 15 days. The instructors will teach how to use Photoshop to improve your UI designs. You should consider this class if you want to learn how to create wireframes and design headers for websites. 

By the time you complete the 15-day course, you will be experienced in using Photoshop extensions, custom strips, and gradients for UI design.  

The Complete Online Video Course

These 26 hours of video content by the Learn UI Design will cover all the major elements of UI design. They delve into the strategy behind UI design, and provide real-world examples to help you grow as a UI designer. It also features downloadable exercises that you can use to practice.

This website also has a great online community that you can turn to to seek clarification on any UI design issues you’re facing.

UI & Web Design using Adobe Illustrator CC

This Udemy class will help you learn how to build applications and create responsive website designs. The instructor will teach you how to use Illustrator to build wireframes and sitemaps. You don’t need to have any design skills to enroll in this two-hour class, but you will need a copy of Adobe Illustrator CC 2018.

UI/UX Design Certification 

California Institute of the Arts and Coursera have partnered to offer this practical class on UI and UX design. The four sections of this course will cover the stages of UX/UI design, and teach you to develop sitemaps and define the project scope of a project. 

The program features plenty of exercises so you can apply the knowledge you have acquired. This includes organizing and structuring screen-based content, creating wireframes and mockups, and defining goals and strategies.

Is Learning UI Design Right for You?

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Taking a course in UI design can open up many job opportunities.

A good user interface can convert potential customers into buyers and can help a business improve drastically. With more companies focusing on the digital market, the competition to attract and retain clients is fierce.

This also means that jobs for user interface designers are at an all-time high in the US, with positions also open for less experienced designers. There is also a lot of flexibility in where you can work as a UI designer. You can find employment in industries from medical to education, or even agriculture.

UI design is an excellent career path if you love design or are seeking a career change. Aiming for a career in tech is one of the best decisions you can make. With the digital age here to stay, you can be confident that you will have job security and a rewarding salary.

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