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A visual/UI designer focuses on the user interface of a website, application, or operating system in order to improve the user experience. They have to execute the visual design, including designing the concept and implementing the final visual version. The main objective is creating a visually pleasing and effective design that contributes to the user experience. It is not to be confused with UX (user experience), which is about how a product feels, whereas visual/UI design is about how it looks.
In more detail
The UI (user interface) is what allows users to interact with a product. As such, visual/UI designers must focus on users’ visual experience, but also on their experience. They design all the elements that users interact with and the movement or transitions between them. Not only do they determine how they look, but also how they are positioned, in which order, and how much information is displayed. The design should also be aesthetically pleasing, contributing to a positive user experience. A successful UI design will be intuitive to interact with, meaning that users will not have to think long about how to accomplish their tasks. Visual/UI designers frequently work with UX designers and researchers to understand the kind of functionality that must guide the interface. Having better insights into user behavior and expectations helps shape the visual design of the product. Designs must continuously be tested to ensure their usability.
Many skills are needed to succeed as a visual/UI designer. It is necessary to have experience in graphic design, and UI design in particular. A bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design or a related field is very important. Visual designers should also be proficient in various image editing software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. When applying for Visual/UI design positions, it is important to include a portfolio of previous works. Some knowledge of front-end programming languages such as HTML and CSS is a plus.