Lessons from my First UI/UX Job

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I took my first job as a UI/UX designer after undergoing Certification training. The training played a significant role in helping me build my career. Asides training, you have to put in the work yourself as a UI/UX designer. You’ll learn faster if you only practice. 
Practice, practice, and practice. 

There’s no better way to build yourself than trying out different things and different tools. I started off with Adobe XD and Figma. They are still my go-to software for design to date. My first job was an internship. I didn’t care about the pay because I was more interested in building my portfolio. I, however, learned several things while on the job. 


Patience:

Design can be a daunting task if the scope of work is not correctly laid out from the onset. 
Your aim should be to build products people can use easily and one that solves a problem for them. Most of the time, there will be meetings with other team members, and certain things are highlighted and agreed upon. You end the session going back to your desk and possibly eager to start work because, well, we drew a flow chat during the meeting, right?

We brainstormed and even sketched out the wire-frames, we agreed on colors, etc. You are on the right part, so you get to work. A few days down the line, your boss calls you and says, ‘’Why don’t we arrange the icons in grid format rather than a list? Or I saw a website yesterday, and it’s so cool, what do you think?” 

You’d probably say no problem because you can actually see the website will definitely look better with the new addition. You get back to work and make the latest update. Fast forward to 2 days later, your direct team lead makes a new suggestion that means you’ll most likely overhaul all you’ve been designing. 

This is the point where you possibly start getting pissed. After this stage, the product owner can also reach out to state he wants another additional feature and is willing to pay extra for it (and that doesn’t mean your retainer fee is increasing). The whole process can get really annoying. 

What should keep you going is the fact that, in the end, everyone wants a working product, and it’s the ideas of different people that will eventually create winner products. You’ve got to have it at the back of your mind that everyone wants what’s best for them, and you also want the best for yourself, which is your impressive portfolio. Moreover, if it’s your first job, you might not really have a voice as much. Please do not take it as the whole world is against you; everyone simply wants the best result. 

Something to pay close attention to before starting any job if you are a freelancer or work in a company is to ensure contracts signed with clients highlight the consequences of every modification they make after you have concluded. Also, make sure to put a cap on the number of iterations possible by such clients.


User Experience first: 

Starting off as a UI/UX designer, I just wanted to make beautiful interfaces I can show to the world. I was really eager to design and see the results. But, let’s take a step back. 

Does anyone truly care about a beautiful design that does not solve any problem? Absolutely nobody cares. I learned that you’d have to place the full functionality of your app first. 

If the application isn’t user friendly, your app isn’t usable and is of no value. The best designers in the world spend a lot of time conducting research and wireframing, and this helps you avoid a lot of back and forth and also speeds up your UI design process. When you understand a user’s pain, you can design a product that adds more value to them. 


Work smart: 

As you progress in your career, you’d start gaining mastery on how to do things faster. Design is basically about having the best idea. There’s nothing wrong with checking out what other designers work as inspiration to help you approach your own work.
There are even websites where you can download some UI kits to help with your design layout, but I wouldn’t advise this as it limits creativity in your, and you might not really stand out. 


Foundation knowledge: 

If you went through training, you should have been taught a lot of basic theoretical terms. A lot of people do take this for granted, as this part might not be so much fun to them. 

Being a Designer with so much theoretical knowledge makes you stand out, as most designers do not pay attention to it. I had a lot of questions at my first interview stage, one I blew because I didn’t study much. 

Good designers read! 

There are some books you should read as a designer, if you do not like reading for long hours like me, you can use booklets.io for bite-sized learning. Also, do not say no to knowledge and always endeavor to learn more and research.

About the author

Ayilara Olatunde
By Ayilara Olatunde

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