Ask DN: Should a UX Designer have high-level skills in aesthetic UI design with PS/Sketch?

over 4 years ago from

I'm just curious to learn more about the UX industry and what's required for a typical job. I know research, user studies, wireframes, boards, and probably some UI/prototyping. But how much should a UX designer know about repeating patterns, textures, typography, animations, etc?


  • Al LuccaAl Lucca, 4 years ago

    Hi Sammy, Knowing how to execute a good UI won't hurt you, but the opposite, it will only add to your curriculum. You can totally focus your career in UX only, a lot of companies have room for specialized designers (research, interaction, visual...) but some not, they need generalists designers, those who can understand a requirement/need and turn it into a product. I receive a lot of resumes/portfolios of product designers where the UI is not at the same level of quality as the UX part of it, and I personally dont like it. If you decided to not just solve a problem through user experience but also make it visually pleasant you must know how to use colors, typography, grids, etc...

    3 points
  • John PJohn P, over 4 years ago

    Doesn't really seem like its much to ask from them tbh.

    know plenty of people highly skilled in more areas than just those two.

    1 point
  • Ray Campbell LuptonRay Campbell Lupton, 4 years ago

    Absolutely. You're simply not a UX designer if you can't design a finished UI.

    1 point
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, 4 years ago

    Depends what your focus is. If you want to be an interaction designer, that's a good skill to have. If you're more interested in product strategy, customer experience design etc, then you're better off learning business strategy and analysis.

    I do find a lot of UX roles are better paid than visual design roles, so be careful about presenting yourself as a unicorn/jack of all trades. You'll get paid less.

    0 points
  • A B, over 4 years ago

    You don't have to be a UI 'ninja'.

    For me UX expertise is broadly characterised into two main categories. UX Research and UX Design.

    I've had the pleasure of working with some very successful and competent UX Designers who lacked advanced UI skills – but they more than made up for it with theory – citing and applying best practice alongside their own empathy for the user.

    They DID do lo-fi wireframes, but left the finer details of the UI to the specialist designers (as they had no aspirations in this area). There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it fits within the structure of an organisation.

    So, in my experience – if UI design doesn't come naturally, you can still forge your own path in UX Design and be highly successful as a UX consultant/practitioner.

    0 points
  • Michael PonsMichael Pons, 4 years ago

    This is actually a great question. Having been a UX designer for over 15 year, I have seen the evolution of UX evolve to rely on user interfaces and UI patterns more and more. This is mostly do to the fact that devices we use keep getting smaller and smaller and the limited real estate means you have to delight users in every way possible.

    This means obsessing over UI elements like typefaces, color palettes, spacing, alignment, etc. That said, I recommend having a great foundation in understanding psychology, human factors, HCI and usability.

    Becoming a good UI designer is something you can achieve over time with repetition and practice. However, a solid foundation in understanding the principles of interaction will go along way.

    0 points
  • KeVon TicerKeVon Ticer, 4 years ago

    It doesn't hurt to be good at both, but I think most of the issues with this will crop up when you look for a job. If you are looking to work at a start up / early stage company, they will be looking for generalist skill sets and that's what will make you stand out. If you really want to do UX over everything else, you'll probably have better luck at more mature companies that can afford to have specialists. Even though there is an extremely broad skill set under both UX and UI/Visual, it seems that at this point, companies (and to some extent, the community) are all lumping them together under one notion of what a designer does.

    0 points