10 Steps How To Become A UX Designer. Ultimate Guide 2021

 • 30 min read
Author Liza Koenhoven

How to become a UX designer. There is a broad range of fields related to design which are not limited to a graphic design only. If you are looking for a new profession and have a design background, we recommend considering UI/UX design. Even though these two fields are always separated by objective reasons, the latest IT tendencies show the necessity of combining them into one job. That being said, if you want to become an outstanding specialist, you’d better learn both UI and UX design. This will increase your chances to work with a top company and make a buck.

Wonder how you can become a hotshot UI/UX expert? Then, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve done our best to pick all the needed information. Further, you’ll learn things from basics of the profession to a checklist for becoming a professional in UI/UX design. Hence, read the article carefully not to miss the important details.

What Is UI/UX Design?

First things first, so let’s take a closer look at what UI/UX design is. Despite the fact that UI and UX mean all its own, both elements exist to make the on-site experience better. UX stands for user experience, accentuates on how something performs, and how people react on it. In the meantime, UI or user interface design works with appearance and layout. According to Matthew Cogswell, senior art director, and UI/UX designer at Modop: UX is “the way a car drives, shifts gears or protects you in an accident”, while UI is “the color and design of that car”.

In short, UX designers are responsible for analyzing the target audience and making its experience with the product the most pleasant. Besides handling the development of the digital product, they also work on:

  • exploring the competitors;
  • product structure and strategy;
  • building the content;
  • wireframing & prototyping;
  • testing;
  • planning;
  • cooperation with UI/UX designers;
  • communication with developers;
  • monitoring tasks and implementation etc.

As you may see, UX designer is like a universal soldier simultaneously managing the projects, handling marketing and design. But, if you think that UI design is much easier, that’s far from true. Thus, let’s move on further to find out what responsibilities UI designers have.

UI experts are responsible to make the interface intuitive which is a quite challenging task. Depending on their work, the visitors will choose their product over the other or not. Do you know why people prefer Apple phone to Samsung? The answer is quite obvious. Due to the fact that it is more intuitive. Continuing with Apple devices. It is necessary to mention that UI is integrated with UX so good that no one will even feel like it’s there. With that being said, the smoother UI the more intuitive the product is.

Yet, except for making the product intuitive, UI designer is also responsible for:

  • analyzing the target group;
  • researching the design;
  • developing brand and graphic;
  • user manuals and subject line;
  • UI prototyping;
  • animation and interactivity;
  • responsiveness to any screen size;
  • implementation of the product with developers etc.

Remember that both of the elements should work flawlessly. If one of them is poor, it influences the product quality and the way the user feels it. Thus, the blend of UI and UX design is a perfect solution for developing a user-friendly web product.

Skills Required To Become A Professional UI/UX Designer?

When trying to get a job in UI/UX design, make sure to discover the skills required for this field. However we insist on considering both elements as a unit, let’s review the habits separately for each of them though.

Let us start with the skills expected from UX practitioners:

  • Strategy. UXers are in charge of building a strategy to gain a user-friendly interface.
  • Ability to research and test which leads to recruiting users, making scripts for tests, studying and showcasing the research results.
  • Management experience. UX requires to be ready to make decisions, approve and implement the ideas fast. Besides, UX designers have to coordinate with upper management, designers, coders, marketers, and others.
  • So-called diplomatic skills are a perfect complement to the previous management experience. It is a crucial habit to be able to communicate, persuade, or listen to team members.
  • Orientation on the user. A hotshot UXer always focuses on how the user feels.

Now, it is UI designer’s turn and we’ll try to cover all essential skills required for this field:

  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS and JS languages. With front-end development experience, UI practitioners have a chance to create a competitive interactive work.
  • Educational level. Having a background in visual art, graphic design, or front-end development you can create a strong portfolio and get hired at a top company.
  • The flexibility that leads to giving up the apparently excellent idea for the sake of great purpose.
  • Compliance with trends. A top-notch UI designer has to know the latest tendencies and implement them into the work.
  • A mix of creative freedom and following the instructions. UI practitioner still has to respect the boundaries if they are set.

Of course, these are not all skills expected from UI/UX designers, but we’ve found them to be key ones. If you get them over the ability to create and work on many ideas, sketch, prototype, argue with emotions etc., you have good chances to join designers community.

How To Learn UI/UX Design?

If you are one without a design background, yet want to learn it, there are numerous books and courses for independent education. You may wonder if you have to take classes at the university to learn this field. The thing is that everything depends on your preferences and the ability to promptly digest the information. Someone needs to earn higher education to feel more confident when getting a job as UI/UXer. While the others can read books, watch video on YouTube, simultaneously practice, and soon become experts in UI/UX design. It all depends and is up to you.

Meantime, in this paragraph, we are going to discover all possible ways that will help you get better in UI/UX design. Let’s start with books and then move to a list of courses, useful blogs, university certifications, and tutorials.

  1. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug. This book is found to be a guide to understanding the principles of intuitive nav and informative design.
  2. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman shows that well-done, usable design is real.
  3. Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun and Effective User Experiences by Stephen P. Anderson. Besides aesthetics and game of seduction, you’ll find the principles of psychology in this book as well.
  4. Emotional Design by Don Norman. About a human-oriented design with emotional triggers.
  5. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk. Here, you’ll discover how to make the design more intuitive and engaging, increase conversions and usability of your design projects.
  6. Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell. This is a so-called encyclopedia including 125 laws, instructions, human prejudice, and general aspects that are quite significant for a successful design.
  7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal. Learn how to better sell your web product with this book.
  8. About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper is a popularization of new web technologies and mobile platforms.
  9. Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young will let you understand the users’ reasons for doing things.
  10. Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge tells the stories of designers who’ve changed the way people use things in the digital age.
  11. The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond by Jesse James Garrett. This book defines the best UX practices.
  12. A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making by Russ Unger. About UX design in a more advanced sense.
  13. UI is Communication by Everett N McKay shows how to create an intuitive UI making an accent on effective human dialogue.
  14. Mobile Design Pattern Gallery: UI Patterns for Mobile Applications by Theresa Neil.

Now, you have enough books for getting to know more about design from its cradle to the latest tendencies. Thus, we may move further to other educational resources.

  1. A great number of design documentaries at designers.watch.
  2. 30 Best Online Course Websites to Learn UI/UX. You will be able to find both free and paid courses across this list.
  3. UI/UX Design Video Courses.
  4. A variety of courses at Designlab.
  5. 10 Best UI UX Design Course, Training & Certification. The list contains both free and paid online training and courses that will help you get better in UI/UX design.
  6. 12 Design Tools & Websites for UI/UX Designers show the positive effect on usability and UX.
  7. Top 20 UX Design Blogs and Resources You Should Follow.
  8. Valuable support and community at User Experience Professionals Association and AIGA societies.
  9. Behance and Dribble as the best platforms for your future portfolio.

Having all these resources, keep in mind one important thing. All of them are useless without a bit of practice. Only by doing everything you’ve just learned you’ll be able to develop your skills. Become a real designer who loves to make things. In addition to reading books, watching videos, or earning a higher education, start drawing and playing around with tools every day. “Fall in love with the process. But being a beginner” – Ira Glass.

2021 UX Design Trends

Not only does a good UI/UX designer have to obtain particular skills needed for this profession but also keep up with the major design trends that change pretty much every year. So in order to properly prepare you for this job, I decided to share the main 2021 UI/UX design trends with you. Without further ado, let us take a look at those.

Dark Color Scheme

Although dark color schemes have been a trend for a while and were rather popular among both designers and customers, it doesn’t mean that this trend has already expired. Moreover, this year we expect it to be utilized in the design of even more mobile applications, websites, web applications.

Simplicity and Minimalism

The tendency to unload the interface from unnecessary components and focus on content has been rather popular in recent years as well. Minimalism is not even a trend, it’s a philosophy, so it for sure is going to be widely popular in 2021.

Functionality and Attention to Detail

A neat and intuitive interface is super essential for any product. Many companies will be redesigning their own front-end solutions in 2021. For example, at the end of 2021, Microsoft revealed its new logo and new product styling based on Fluent Design.

Product Gamification

This is a trend that year by year is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that almost any product can be equipped with such a solution that allows you to simply and most effectively captivate the user.

Voice UI (VUI)

Many of those who watched the Google I/O conference were fascinated by the fact of how smart Google Duplex voice assistant has become. This year, we expect this tool to become even more sophisticated because such a method of interaction is not only convenient but also has a socially significant status since it allows people with disabilities to use the product. Thus at the moment, the leaders in this area are Google and Apple.

Emotional Design

Products need to evoke emotions in the user and this is why in 2021 emotional design is going to be a huge trend. For example, as a designer, you can evoke emotions with the help of abstract illustrations, vivid animations, or colors. Apart from that, more and more designers start using the technique of empathic manipulation (which actually has been used for a very long time) and in 2021 it’s going to be extremely popular. Excellent examples of using this very technique are Apple Music and Spotify, which provide playlists suitable specifically for a particular user.

UX Copywriting

Texts are an important part of any product. The trend of writing and processing existing text into a readable, capacious and compact, understandable, and friendly format is on top in 2021.

Animated Illustrations

Animated illustrations have been around for a long time and a variety of messengers such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger already use animated stickers. This year the trend will grow even more and we expect to see the implementation of animated illustrations in other products as well.

Oversized Typography

Oversized typography is another 2021 tendency that is still going to rock in 2021. Huge headlines and large text are definitely not new but this year the trend that has been set several years ago will continue to develop.

Complex Gradients

Using gradients allows you to add depth to the picture. In a new reading of this technique, we will see complex gradients that will add volume and depth to images that are on top of the gradient.

Things to Avoid in 2021

Obviously, there are some things you want to avoid at all costs, so let’s take a brief look at those.

Pure 3D on Websites or Mobile Apps

This very tendency is expected to gradually fade away due to the limited use and implementation complexity, instead, a pseudo 3D will be more popular. However, this does not apply to game applications.

Muted Colors

This trend was relevant in 2021 but we have already stepped into a new era, which is going to be bright and colorful so muted color schemes will be substituted by vivid ones.

Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR)

Many experts believe that AR/VR technologies have already reached their peak. So we expect the popularity of AR and VR to decrease in the upcoming years.

Top 10 UX Design Books

Everybody knows that a book is the best means to learn something and, certainly, a decent book about UX design will surely help you master this art. Therefore, let us have a brief look at some bestsellers that will help you become a UX design god.

1. How to Get a UX Design Job: Create a compelling portfolio, submit a stand-out application, and ace the interview to land your user experience dream job by Lisa Murnan

2. 7STEPUX®: The complete UX process from strategy to design by Csaba Házi

3. The Basics of User Experience Design: A UX Design Book by the Interaction Design Foundation by Mads Soegaard

4. UX Methods: A Quick Guide to User Experience Research Methods by James Pannafino and Patrick McNeil

5. Mobile UI/UX Design Notebook: (White) User Interface & User Experience Design Sketchbook for App Designers and Developers by Mobile UI/UX Design Notebook

6. Mobile UX/UI Design Notebook: Mobile Wireframe Sketchpad User Interface Experience Application Development Note Book Developers App Mock Ups by Delsee

7. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Steve Krug

8. UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons by Joel Marsh

9. Think Like a UX Researcher: How to Observe Users, Influence Design, and Shape Business Strategy by David Travis and Philip Hodgson

10. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition by Don Norman

10 Top Tools for UX Designers

Learning theory is great but the best way to master any skill is practicing, so you might want to start actually making something. In fact, any UX designers, both beginners and experienced professionals, utilize various tools that help them come up with beautiful products in no time and, certainly, we are going to take a brief look at some of the best ones.

1. InVision Studio

Simple in use and rather affordable, InVision Studio is a great means for creating various web and mobile projects.

2. Sketch

Sketch is a tool that will back you up in literally any situation, so go ahead and try it for free.

3. Craft

Craft is a plugin for InVision that will allow you to create elaborate designs quickly, easily, and pain-free.

4. Adobe XD

This one is a perfect tool for those of you who often work with mockups and prototypes. So if you need some vector-based tools for the mockups you are currently working on, go ahead and check this tool out.

5. Figma

Figma is a perfect tool for team players who prefer working on projects simultaneously.

6. Marvel

Marvel is another great tool that will help you complete a high-quality mockup just in a few clicks, so do not hesitate and give it a try.

7. Origami Studio 3

Origami Studio’s simple functionality makes it perhaps the best choice for any beginner, which means that this tool is simply perfect for you.

8. Webflow

If you are looking for a tool that will enable you to create designs without dealing with CSS and HTML, then Webflow is no doubt the way to go for you.

9. Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a perfect tool for wireframing. Moreover, it makes wireframing super easy and quick even for those designers who don’t have any experience in it at all.

10. Wireframe.cc

Wireframe.cc is a simple yet functional tool for wireframing, so you should definitely give it a try.

Courses for UX Designers

Pretty often it’s hard to learn everything on your own and you need some guidance. Well, courses are the best way to learn something quickly as well as get valuable experience from experts. So here are the 10 best online courses for UX designers.

1. Interaction Design Foundation
2. Plural Sight
3. Udemy UX Design & User Experience Design Course – Theory Only
4. Coursera UX Design Fundamentals
5. Hackdesign
6. Skillshare
7. TreeHouse
8. PHP Kingdom
9. CareerFoundry
10. User Experience Design Training and Consulting

Where to Sell Your Products

Finally, once you got enough knowledge and skills, you can start creating your gorgeous products and making money on those. In fact, you can easily start selling your products through MasterBundles Sell Your Deal. This very service allows you to upload your goods on the digital marketplace, set the price, and receive money for every single item of yours that is being sold on MasterBundles. You can easily receive your money on your Payoneer account and in case you are having any difficulties, one of the professional MasterBundles managers will be more than happy to help you out. Well, why are you still waiting? Go ahead and sign up!

UI/UX Designer Career

Since most people are looking for a job online, they usually get lost among an enormous number of resources. Furthermore, job postings in UI/UX design industry are quite fragmented. This is the reason we’ve made a decision to gather all reliable job boards in one list. That being said, you don’t have to waste your time surfing the Internet and can start searching right away.

UXPA Job Bank

Glassdor Jobs

IxDA Jobs




Hyper Island Job Board

Go Remote Jobs

Dribble Jobs

Of course, we couldn’t but mention a well-known website called LinkedIn. Here, you can also discover a broad range of vacancies for UI/UX designers.

One more option you’ll not find anywhere regards the cooperation with MasterBundles. UI/UX practitioners have a chance to sell their projects or the whole bundles on the marketplace. This is a great example of passive income.

UI/UXer Employment

Now, it is a high time to find out how much UI/UXers make money annually. Based on the article published at Forbes, UI and UX design is included in the list of 29 best jobs for work-life balance. The average salary of both fields is $ 84,500 and $ 95,000 correspondingly. In the current time, UI/UX designer is one of the most popular and perfect jobs on the IT market.

Of course, UI/UXers’ salary varies around the world. The income in the USA is much higher than the one in Europe, for instance. It also depends on the experience the designer has. For your reference, check out a few infographics below:

At last, if you are good at both UI and UX design, you will be most obviously paid more. This is your competitive edge and your ticket to the top of the field. Therefore, make sure to further develop your skills in both fields at one time.

Must-See Speeches From Professionals For UI/UX Practitioners

People who’ve become real experts in product design always have thoughts and ideas to share with the newbies. While the beginners usually need some inspirational advice or even a smackdown. We’ve taken it into account and gathered the most inspiring quotes of the shark UI/UX designers. Hope they’ll motivate you and help to learn more about UI/UX.

  1. As a rule, conventions only become conventions if they work. – Steve Krug
  2. Choose the right purpose; people will be attracted, motivated, & unified. – Robert Wong
  3. The best interfaces seem to translate intent into action instantly. – Josh Clark
  4. When there’s that balance between functionality and emotion, the two amplify each other and the result is really powerful. I am always trying to get there when I’m designing. – Mike Matas
  5. Want your users to fall in love with your designs? Fall in love with your users. – Dana Chisnell
  6. If you find an element of your interface requires instructions, then you need to redesign it. – Dan Rubin
  7. As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product. – Jef Raskin
  8. Usability does not equate to a specific number of clicks, taps, swipes, pinches, flicks. – John Morkes
  9. UI is the saddle, the stirrups, & the reigns. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse. – Dain Miller
  10. People ignore design that ignores people. – Frank Chimero

Additionally, we recommend that you check out the list of videos showing the most informative speeches of the experts who deal with creating digital products. With no doubt, they will provide useful tips for UI/UXers who work on websites and mobile apps. Enjoy listening to speakers and soak up knowledge.

Top-10 Tips To Be A Shark UI/UXer

If you’ve made some efforts to read the article till this paragraph, we may conclude that being just a good UI/UXer is not enough for you. Thus, we’ve decided to help you and have gathered 10 tips how to become the best professional into a checklist. It will help you notice your strengths and improve the weaknesses if they are available. So, let’s see what will take you to the top in UI/UX design in 2021.

  • Know your task force. If you plan to be an outstanding UI/UX designer, make sure that you know your target audience. To successfully reach it, you have to understand who you design a product for.
  • Think like a user. To design an intuitive UI, you have to analyze how the users may communicate with a specific website or mobile app. Discover what they are searching for, how they are using the product, and what feedback they usually leave. Make sure they don’t find it challenging to use your application or a specific web product. If on the contrary, try to understand what the reason is for the issue. Knowing the users well you’ll be able to highlight content that is most appropriate for them etc.
  • Build content with good typography. The question of typography is especially important for mobile designs. It should look elegant enough but doesn’t obstruct the legibility. Good typography has to contribute to a simple digesting of the information.
  • Find alternatives to undue scrolling. Scrolling is one of the principal features of the website. Even so, it may either engage the users or make them quit. All depends on how effectively you use the scrolling at your website. Fortunately, there are many alternatives like infinite scrolling, fixed-long scrolling, parallax scrolling, and others. Still, there are a few rules that need to be followed when using one of the alternatives. You need to understand what scrolling type corresponds to specific content and purpose the site has to make on-site experience flawless. Infinite scrolling is perfect for websites with loads of content and allows visitors to smoothly browse new content. For instance, Facebook, Tumblr, and other well-known social networks use infinite scrolling. For websites with video games, parallax giving a 3D effect will be just perfect.
  • Pay attention to content copy. Make sure the use of free space is effective and the text added finds a response from the audience. The engaging content should provide all the necessary information. You may also use headings and subheadings, highlight and break the text into smaller paragraphs. This will help the visitors browse your website on the fly.
  • Make design responsive. Should we tell you how important the responsive design for UI is? This is the first thing you need to keep in mind while creating UI. Make sure to use flexible layouts, images, and CSS media queries to provide the best UX.
  • Test user-interface design and improve. Once done with a design, ascertain to test it to eliminate any defects if available. In addition, check the screens making use of fonts, menu bars, toolbars, content, buttons, icons, and others.
  • Stay up to date with the latest web design trends. Keep surfing the Internet looking for the latest tendencies in web design.
  • Manage the team dynamics. Discuss certain design ideas with the team, give and accept feedback etc.
  • Strive for simplicity. For the last years, simplicity has become an unspoken rule. The simpler design is the more effective it is accepted by the audience. Even though keeping the layout and forms simple is good for design, don’t forget to make it visually attractive by adding images, icons, and color where needed.

Download a Free Checklist: Everything You Need to Become a UI/UX Designer

To sum up, being a shark UI/UX practitioner means everyday learning and developing mentioned tips. Doing so, you will feel more confident in your skills and create user-friendly designs.

The Best Graphics Bundles:

Best Presents For UI/UX Designer

If you are puzzled over what gift to choose for your designer friend, this paragraph may become rescue. Because we’ve picked here three best gift ideas for UI/UX practitioners. Here they are:

A book called Solving Product Design Exercises: Questions & Answers by Artiom Dashinsky. Besides focusing on visuals, it will help a designer prepare for job interview, learn how to interview fellow designers, and find a concept for projects. In short, this is a great guide for everyone who tends to develop skills and get a promotion.

Sketch Pad Stencil Kit for App UI Design will be a perfect gift for both UI and UX designers. Because mobile app design is now in trend, this kit will help your friend designer go keeping up with the latest tendencies. The set includes 50 sheets with both sides printed, sketch pad and stencil kit, and a pencil.

If your friend designer is moreover a zerowaster, Wipebook Reusable Dry Erase Plain will be a special gift for him or her. It allows writing, drawing, and then wiping away with minimal staining when correctable markers are used. Thanks to a wiping option, your friend will be able to avoid paper waste. Besides sketching, it is also perfect for taking notes or creating to-do lists. With this notebook, the designer may not be afraid to make a mistake.

By the way, St. Valentine’s Day is coming, so we’ve decided that you’ll be happy to get the entire gift ideas list. Here you may find 50 gift ideas for nerds including photographers, developers, and designers.

How I became a UX Designer with no experience or design degree

I’m currently a Product Designer at Instacart in San Francisco, but I previously had zero experience in design. I only offer 1:1 coaching and portfolio reviews through my patreon program linked below.

Final Thoughts

UI/UX design is a rather promising field, which means that working in this area is quite perspective as well as exciting. In fact, due to the high demand for UI/UX designers, many companies are literally hunting for great professionals so becoming one means making decent money. Certainly, UI/UX design is a rather challenging skill to master and you will probably spend a lot of time perfecting your skills but it definitely pays off. After all, an exciting and well-paid job is worth all that time you spend on learning and practicing. So believe in yourself, learn UI/UX design, and become a cool professional today.

What do you think about the UI/UX designer profession? Would you at least give it a shot? Let us know in the comment section down below!

Recommended Posts For You


📝 What is a UX designer’s salary?

It depends on the country you live in as well as the company you work for. In the United States, the average salary is about $85,000 per year. Some skilled professionals can make up to $128,000, which is in fact a pretty good salary.

📝 What is the meaning of UI/UX?

UX stands for User Experience and UI stands for User Interface.

📝 How to become a UX designer?

You can sign up for courses or learn everything by yourself using various books and helpful tutorials from YouTube. Once you feel confident in your skills, you can apply for a UI/UX designer position in a company of your choice or sign up on one of the freelance platforms like UpWork and become a freelance designer.

📝 Is UX design going to be relevant in the future?

Due to the rapid development of the technologies, I am sure that it’s going to be extremely relevant in the future, so go ahead and try it, it’s actually a cool job.

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Article Sources

Any article needs a solid base of references and this is why I always do my research on the topic I am going to write on. This time, obviously, was not an exception and I utilized the following resources:

  1. Krug, Steve. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. New Riders, 2014.
  2. Levy, Jaime. UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want. O’Reilly Media, 2015.
  3. Marsh, Joel. UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons. O’Reilly Media, 2016.
  4. Norman, Don. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition. Basic Books, 2013.
  5. Stull, Edward. UX Fundamentals for Non-UX Professionals: User Experience Principles for Managers, Writers, Designers, and Developers. Apress, 2018.