Are you an aspiring UX designer?
Chances are you’re still wondering if there’s a more specific career path to follow. How does one go about it? What should you study, or is there a hard-and-fast success formula in this field?Best of all, how do you explain to your not-so-tech-savvy parents about your new career path? How do you make them understand?
The truth is, there’s no one single clear path to starting a career in UX designing. Everyone has their own special sauce that they bring with them into the UX industry.
In other words, UX designing has no definitive set path that you must follow in order to succeed. However, there are ways to carve your own pathway into the industry, and it begins by understanding what UX is in the simplest of terms.
What is UX?
In the simplest of terms, UX is all about making things easier and less frustrating to use. It’s about taking complex tasks, like ordering something from Amazon, and coming up with ways to make people understand the process, what’s happening behind the scenes, and what they’re expected to do in order to accomplish a given task.
Quite differently, you’re simply making complex tasks appear simple enough by intuitively taking your users through the process of accomplishing them.
You’ll all agree that computers are complex. Some people are still struggling to understand them and how they work.
UX designers try to bridge this gap by making the complexities associated with computers and online platforms manageable for everyone – not just geeks and techies.
Read this keeping in mind that it’s not just about computers, but any physical item. Household items are not exempted. UX designers are still needed here to enhance the usability around these items and make them more pleasant to use.
UX designing also forms a large part of architectures’ work. It’s a skill they use to design homes and buildings that are both easy and pleasant to use – not just pretty.
What does a UX Designer do?
Due to its relative newness, don’t be surprised when many of the people you meet ask you ‘what do you actually do in your ‘UX’ job.’
Again, there’s no clear answer to this question, as it depends on what you’re involved with at the time. Your job description is also not fixed, and will therefore be varying from company to company and even from one project to another.
What’s crucial is for you to understand your role and be able to explain it in the simplest way possible. In which case, the easiest way to talk about your role in all this is to explain the process involved.
The main reason you have to explain what you do is to help other members of your team understand the scope of your work, so they can easily identify the areas that their expertise is needed. This piece of information is most useful when you’re working in collaboration with a team of developers, copywriters, and other designers.
Here’s a common UX designing process that could explain what you do:
Research on the end User
The first thing a UX designer does with every assigned project is trying to understand the market. They first have to get into the user’s head and learn to think and reason out like them.
What do they need? What do they wish to see — and what are they not getting from the other products in the market?
Your job starts with briefing the client. And once you know what the client wants, your focus should shift to what the users wants. It’s your job to think deeper.
And it just doesn’t end there.
You have to analyse the competition, as well. Run a thorough competitive analysis for some valuable insights on how to come up with something better.
Based on the information you collected from your research, the next thing you want to do is create a series of key user groups. Sort out the groups and come up with representative personas for each.
These groups could be anything, like a group of students, music fanatics, and so forth. However, while listing down the groups, you don’t write them down as students or music enthusiasts. You have to assign names to each group, and be more specific when assigning them personal details — talk of Jim the student or Andrew the music fanatic.
This may seem a little awkward at first, but you may find it more useful as you begin to visualize different user scenarios. Plus it allows you to break down your users from every possible angle.
Among the things you’ll be doing is defining the task that each user plans to perform and the reasons behind it.
For instance, you could say:
“Andrew loves listening to music on his phone.”
“Jim enjoys taking online lessons in the evening.”
Working Out the Information Architecture
Once you’ve compiled all this information, the next thing you want to do is refine it through information architecture or IA.
Whether you’re working on a simple website or designing a complex app or system, and whether you’re working on a completely new product or simply redesigning an old one; as a UX designer, you must think through the whole process that a user has to go through to perform a specified task.
As a UX designer, it’s your job to take every small detail of the process into account and not brush anything aside — no matter how trivial or insignificant it seems.
Be sure to include everything, and work it right into the design process.
You have the option of sketching it on a whiteboard, drawing it on paper, or using a UX designing program of your choice– whatever strikes your fancy.
The whole point is to put everything you’ve gathered down and make it make more sense.
Writing UX Copy
UX copy is the content you write on the user interface. This content reflects the voice of your brand, in addition to assisting your users with navigation.
Test and Validate with Users
It’s also part of a UX designer’s job to identify possible problems that a user is likely to encounter while interacting with a design prototype.
The prototype has to be tested while observing user behaviour in real-time. You identify a problem by looking at user reaction as they interact with your website, as well as by asking them for their feedback.
UX is not a one-time a job, but a process. It involves a series of necessary adjustments and testing until you’re able to achieve perfection.
That is to say, with every adjustment you make, you have to bring in an outside voice to help you test things out. It’s even better if you can sign up the entire project for a full moderated review.
Commonly confused with User Experience (UX) is User Interface (UI). Some people even use them interchangeably, even when the difference between them is so salient.
Each of these two terms represents a different element of consumer experience.
So while UX focuses on the experience that users get while interacting with your website or app, UI focuses on the looks. UI is more focused on how the final product will look like and has nothing to do with the experience that users will have while interacting with it.
UX is all about colour schemes and button shapes. It’s what determines what fonts are better suited for the site or App.
UI designers simply determine the look while UX designers work on the experience that users get.
Where a user finds a site to be easy to use, the credit goes to the UX designer – and where they find it pleasing to the eye, the credit goes to the UI designer.
At the core, a UI designer is nothing more than a graphic designer with a speciality in web applications and app programs. They’re the masters of aesthetics.
It’s their job to make sure an application is visually stimulating, attractive, or themed appropriately to reflect the personality of the app (as laid down by a UX designer).
They’re also required to make every single visual element of the app sync up with the rest of the elements, both in purpose and aesthetics.
To sum it up, while a UX designer will be working to determine how an app works or should work, a UI designer is the person who paints it in the clear. It’s after the two are done that a web developer chips in to bring everything they have created to life.
The boundary that exists between a UX and UI designer is a blurry one for most people. It’s for this reason that many companies choose to combine their roles into one – so you find a company advertising their job as, “looking for a UX/UI designer” and not just a UX designer or a UI designer.
While UI is about aesthetic, well, it goes way beyond it by visualising everything and making sure it aligns with the user’s path of understanding and interpreting things.
Where UX and UI Meet
UX and UI may be different, with each involving an entirely different skill set, but they each play an integral role in each other’s success.
An attractive design can’t save an interface that’s confusing and clunky; the same way a brilliant user experience can be sunk by a badly designed visual interface. Any mess that occurs on either side of the spectrum is more likely to make your app unpleasant.
That means, both your UX and UI designs need to be executed flawlessly and aligned perfectly for the underlying app to meet the pre-existing user expectations. And when the two align, the results are always astounding.
Why Learn UX/UI ?
UX/UI is a fast growing career field. Being an UX designer means it’s possible to secure a job virtually everywhere, so long as the company in question is dealing with products whose success depend on the experiences it generates among its users.
The only limitation here is where your expertise or interest lies – also, if you’re in as a freelancer or are looking for a full time job.
Singapore has so many digital marketing agencies selling UX as a service or skill. That means, these agencies will always be on the hunt for the top brains in these fields. That, coupled with the fact that there aren’t so many UX designers in Singapore means you’ll be on high demand once you perfect the skill.
Plus, more and more agencies are beginning to move to Singapore. The startup scene in Singapore is also growing super-fast. Mind you, this market has always been lean, with lots of entrepreneurs finding it hard to afford to pay for consultation work.
But as the startup market matures up, you can only expect the demand for UX professionals to shoot up as well.
Also, hospitals, banks, and government offices now have small UX teams or are constantly outsourcing the job to agencies and other experienced UX professionals.
So suffice it to say the future is bright for any aspiring UX designer looking to put in the hours and perfect their skills.
UX Designers Salary in Singapore
Now that we’ve established that UX designers are in high demand in Singapore let’s shed some light on their pay scale.
To begin with, Singapore has one of the broadest job markets in the world, with several job adverts whose salaries ranging from $30000 to $100000. There isn’t much info on specific salaries, save for ranges.
We can only speculate that this is probably because there aren’t so many UX specialists in the country. But after reviewing the salary guide from major HR agencies such as Robert Half and Kelly, we were able to come up with a figure.
It turns out; the average salary of a UX designer in Singapore is roughly $80K.
Keep in mind Singapore has one of the fastest-growing tech markets in the world. More and more countries are gaining entry into the country, meaning unless more Singaporeans take it upon themselves to study UX design, both the salaries and demand for UX designers are only bound to increase with time.
How to Find UX/UI Designing Jobs in Singapore
One of the best places to look for open UX/UI designing jobs in Singapore is online. With a multitude of platforms and web resources to search on and submit your application, here’s a list of all the top sites that you might want to check out.
Best Jobs: BestJobs has all type of jobs, not just UX/UI design jobs. It’s one of the leading job boards in the country. So should there be any company advertising for a position in UX designing, you can be sure it will be advertised here.
Glassdoor: Glassdoor has numerous job posts in UX designing. A week hardly goes by without a company advertising at least one UX/UI job on this board.
JobStreet: At the time of writing this, more than 1700 UX designing jobs have been posted on JobStreet. It gets even better with this board as all listed jobs also specify the monthly salary.
LinkedIn: After creating your profile on LinkedIn, you don’t have to look elsewhere for a job. The LinkedIn job board has you covered on this one. At the time of writing this, there are upwards of 276 UX/UI designing jobs on the platform.
Indeed: Indeed is a well-known job board. It’s among the few places employers frequent to when hiring. The platform features numerous job posts that you can apply today, with some listed with the expected monthly salary.
Meet Jobs: Meet Jobs even rewards you for getting hired. All you have to do is click on ‘apply’ and submit your application. The application will then be submitted to the recruiter for review, after which they can either contact you on the platform or via email.
Google should be your friend in all this. Just run a simple search on ‘available UX/UI design jobs in Singapore,’ and click on the first few links that show up.
How to Become a UX/UI Designer in Singapore?
UX designing is a budding field that’s only bound to grow bigger and better with time. UX designing is considered an integral segment of online services, and that’s because it strives to align products with users’ expectations.
People take courses in UX/UI not only to carve out a new career path but also for a long list of other reasons that we’ve highlighted below:
• To understand users and their experience better
UX designing is all about creating products that your users will enjoy using or interacting with. That means, by taking a UX designing course or a course in any related field, you’ll be simply studying how to understand your users better.
Also, part of your job as a UX designer will be to spend the bulk of your time on the ground talking to users in real-time and finding our more about their day to day lives so you can be able to serve them their ideal user experience.
• To gain the experience to create sites that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional
A good design goes beyond visuals to their ability to enable a user to perform the intended task. Appearance is only part of good design, but for the most part, a good design is mostly about functionality, and that’s a skill you acquire by studying UX.
• UX Design teaches you to test your products first instead of launching them on specs.
It’s what you use to figure out where to adjust and come up with better solutions for your product.
UX Designing Courses to Sign Up for in Singapore
Being a great UX designer has got little to do with attaining a degree, diploma, or certificate and a lot to do with the skill you acquire. Forget about graduating with first-class honours, and focus on sharpening your skills.
Your primary goal in all this should be to master various UX/UI skills. For instance, you’ll be learning how to use various design tools, how to develop a deeper understanding of the web, as well as the development and designing bit of it. You’ll also be learning how to analyse user behaviour and user behaviour pattern and so forth.
In other words, you have an endless list of things to study and perfect on to be competitive enough in this field.
Here’s a list of UX-related courses to consider pursuing:
• Information design
• UX Research and Design
• Design Thinking
• Graphics design
• User Research: Personas, Task Analysis, and Scenarios.
Schools the Offer UX Courses in Singapore
Here’s a list of some of the schools in Singapore that of UX design courses and specialisation:
Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP):
Orita Sinclair School of Design & Music:
Singapore Polytechnic Design School: https://www.sp.edu.sg/pace/courses/course-type/part-time-and-post-diplomas/specialist-diploma-in-user-experience-and-digital-product-design
Singapore Institute of Management Global Education: http://www.simge.edu.sg/gePortalWeb/appmanager/web/default?_nfpb=true&_st=&_pageLabel=pgCourseDetails&contentID=SIM001661
Singapore Institute of Technology: https://www.singaporetech.edu.sg/sitlearn/programmes/intro-experience-design
National University of Singapore:
More people are hopping into the wonderful world of UX/UI. This has prompted more stakeholders to jump in with more boot camps, part-time courses, weekend courses, B2B Programs, and so forth. Singapore Universities, such as the ones listed above, have also joined in with their dedicated UX designing courses.
While this may appear like a nice thing to aspiring UX designers, it’s a little confusing for someone that’s yet to figure out where to start.
At the end of the day, what you choose to learn will depend on your background, how deeper you wish to dive in, what you plan to specialize in; and, most importantly, your readiness to learn UX design in the first place.
Remember, UX design is a skill and not a qualification. To a certain extent, everyone you know has what it takes to learn UX designing. But to be really good at it, there’re certain attributes such as curiosity, empathy, and communication skills that have a direct role to play in determining how far you can advance into the UX career.
With this guide, there’s nothing still holding you back from carving a new career path in UX designing. Where you’re lost or want more clarification, kindly talk to our team of UX designers at MediaOne and let them guide you through the process.