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As a UX designer, you get to work on creative, rewarding, even life-changing projects. It’s an industry with flexible working and countless opportunities. All this, and you get paid well too.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a creative prodigy, or a tech grandmaster; you can learn to become a UX designer with the right mindset, a few tools you pick up along the way, and some committed learning.

By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll be well on your way to designing your new career.

You can do this, let’s get started…

What is a Career in UX like?

Every career is different, but generally speaking, a UX designer works on making a user’s interaction with a product or service (normally websites) as intuitive as possible.

Just as a golf architect designs the layout of a golf course to flow through greens, tees, and holes, with buggy paths for access, and the odd bunker to add a challenge; so a UX designer creates the optimum experience for a site. A golf architect doesn’t need to reinvent the game of golf, and neither does a UX designer need to reinvent websites.

A golf architect will not design a course with a 360-degree sand bunker surrounding a tee (well, they might, but they really really shouldn’t), or a hole too small for a golf ball. In the same way as a UX designer, you’re not going to design an ecommerce site with a cart in the bottom left, a non-existent search feature, or hidden pricing.

The best thing about being a UX designer is that you don’t need to spend years in formal education to get qualified. The flipside is that if you want to be a great UX designer, it’s not a walk in the park.

Every designer is different, but some of the main traits of successful UX designers are: an enjoyment of problem-solving; good listening skills; curiosity; open-mindedness; attention to detail; creativity; communication skills; process-driven; and adaptability.

Before committing to this career path, check out a few podcasts, and read a few blog posts, to dip your toe in the water.

Still interested? Excellent, the next step is…

Getting Certified as a UX Designer

UX design is a practical skill. It’s all well and good knowing the theory, but without practice putting the theory into action no one will give you a chance to prove what you can do. So how do you get practical experience? You get certified, and there are three popular options: online, in-person training, or self-taught.

A good UX syllabus will include portfolio-building projects, tool mastery, networking opportunities, and even 1-2-1 mentorship. As well as learning the fundamentals of UX, you’ll cover user research and strategy, analysis, UI design, and more.

Option A: Online Course

Online courses tend to be much easier on the bank balance, as well as being flexible, which means you can fit them around your current job. You can work at your own pace, and in many cases choose modules that interest you, once you’ve completed the basic introduction.

There are many online course providers, including Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare, and Career Foundry.

Whatever option you choose, it is a good idea to get as broad a perspective as possible, so consider following more than one course — perhaps mix and match a paid course with a free one.

Option B: In-Person Training

This could be a university course, or a local boot camp where you physically sit in with an instructor and classmates.

This is more expensive, but it provides benefits that nothing else does. Firstly, you’ll have classmates you can bounce ideas off, collaborate with, keep motivated, inspired, and accountable. You can also get real-time, intensive coaching and advice from someone who’s been there, done that, bought the T-shirt (and redesigned it so it fits better).

Seach local boot camps and workshops, check out workshops at local conferences, and ask your local college what courses they offer.

Option C: Self-Taught

Being self-taught is the cheapest of all options. Work at your own pace, where, and when you want to. Watch YouTube videos, read blogs, garner information anywhere you can find it.

This option involves a lot of stumbling around in the dark. The biggest challenge is that you don’t know what it is that you don’t know. For this reason, it can pay to follow the syllabus of a local college course, even if you’re not enrolled and don’t attend lectures.

In reality, all education is self-taught to an extent, even the most prescribed courses need self-motivation.

Some of the most in-demand UX designers in the world are self-taught, so why not? Start exploring UX blogs like Nielsen Norman Group articles, Google Design,  UX Planet, and UX Matters.

Mastering UX Tools

Recruiters and hiring managers will seek your technical ability and your experience using popular tools from user research, to wireframing, to prototyping. When you get your first job in UX, the tools you use will be determined by your project manager, so it’s a good idea to have a passing familiarity with the most popular. These will include Maze, Userzoom, Sketch, XD, Figma, Marvel, and Hotjar.

If you’re following a guided course you should get an introduction to at least a couple of important tools. Once you understand one, you can probably pick the others up quite quickly… because, after all… they should be intuitive.

You do not need to know how to code, but understanding the roles, and restrictions of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is very beneficial. When you get your first UX job, you’ll need to be able to talk about how technologies fit into the plan.

Building a UX Portfolio

Your portfolio is your résumé. The golden ticket. The silver bullet. Amassing a content-rich portfolio is paramount. You don’t need a real-world job to build your portfolio, and you should already have content to add from your course.

You need to demonstrate knowledge of UX tools and processes (what future employers will look for). Case studies that incorporate research, problem-solving, strategy, imagination, and (if possible) results are the best way to do this.

There are a variety of ways of building a portfolio, but the best is taking a real website, and redesigning it. Don’t worry if your first few projects aren’t the best; as long as you demonstrate improvement and growth, that counts for something. 

You can showcase your portfolio on sites such as Behance, Dribbble, or preferably create your website.

Landing Your First Job in UX

Start combing the job boards to see which companies are looking for UX designers. There’s a global shortage of qualified UX designers, so if you can’t find anything you’re looking in the wrong place! Make sure your whole network, from your Mom’s hairdresser to the barista at your favorite coffee place know that you’re looking; you never know where a good lead will come from.

Some companies are looking for UX skills as part of other roles. Others are looking for full-time UXers.

Don’t be disheartened if “Junior UX Designer” positions require 2 years of experience; HR just throws this in as a pre-filter. If you think you can do the job, apply anyway, if your portfolio’s good you might get an interview regardless, and if you get an interview they think you’re worth taking the time to meet.

If you don’t get the job, don’t be downhearted. Remember: every time someone else gets a job, that’s one less person you’re competing with for the next job.

Quick Prep on Some Common UX Interview Questions:

  • What’s your interpretation of a UX Designer?
  • What has inspired you to become a UX Designer?
  • How do you take constructive feedback and non-constructive feedback?
  • Who, or what companies, do you look up to in this industry, and why?
  • What’s your process with a new project?

Good Luck!

So, now you know what it takes to get into the field, it’s time to start applying yourself to this newfound and richly rewarding career. As the great writer Anton Chekov said, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” So get out there and practice, practice, practice. Add and add and add to your portfolio.

To become a UX Designer, enroll in a great course, build your portfolio, network, apply for roles, and always be learning. Always be open to new ideas and suggestions. There’s a lot of leg work, but the juice will be worth the squeeze. 

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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The post How to Kickstart Your UX Career in 2022 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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The year might be coming to an end, but plenty of design trends are still beginning to emerge. It’ll be interesting to see how many of these website design elements remain popular into the new year. From vintage elements to circles to happier feelings, there’s a lot to play with here.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month…

Old-School Print Inspired

Vintage design elements seem to circle back in new iterations at a pretty frequent pace. This time website designers are finding inspiration from old-school print design.

These projects mimic the look of old newspapers and magazines with styles that look like news or advertising content. One of the most exciting takeaways might be color, with beige backgrounds that almost seem like aged paper.

Note the font choices, scale, and imagery as well. All of these things have an old-school feel that’s modern enough to help encourage interaction.

Each of these designs keeps visitors engaged with trendy effects that pair with the vintage aesthetic so that while there’s an old-school look, the overall design is modern and fresh.

The portfolio of Niccolo Miranda feels like a “WAR” day on the front page of a major newspaper, but with modern touches – computer illustrations, animated images, and button-style icons.

Enfant Sauvage Music takes on the feel of an old-style newspaper or magazine ad with a single color design and grainy imagery. An oversized funky pointer on hover and side navigation keeps the design interesting.

Kalso uses a giant timeline with typography and effects that mimic the era on the screen. Animation and motion keep the design with the times and on-trend.

Center-Screen Circles

Circles seem to be a website design trend that just never goes out of style – it only evolves.

The newest iteration includes center-screen circles. And you can use them in all kinds of different ways. The nice thing about a circle is the shape is innately harmonious and can pull a design together and make everything feel together and unified.

They can be an excellent container for text or other elements or serve as a button.

Circles work with almost any overall design pattern, in any color, and with virtually any type of image or video. The shape is practically perfect! (That’s why it’s a trend that never really gets old.)

Each of these examples uses a center-screen circle in a slightly different way.

Aflote uses a center circle as part of its overall branding effort and to help draw the eye from the split-screen images to the center arrow, encouraging users to scroll to the next bit of content. Color helps here, and the circle is a container for brand and some other content with a nice layer on top of the images.

One Ocean Science uses one of the oldest circles we know – the globe – as a dominant art element that rotates in the center of the screen. The layer on top – the exact text in multiple languages – gets extra attention thanks to the center placement. The design also uses a top left corner circle for branding and a bottom right corner circle as a CTA, helping create a visual flow through the design from top to center to bottom to click.

To Be Love uses a fantastic animated set of concentric circles to pull together the name of the event and draw interest to the CTAs. The circle is just the right size in a sea of black sky to draw the eye to the content in the middle of the screen.

Lighter, Happier Designs

After a couple of years of pandemic life and a world that’s just been a little less than cheery, website designers include lighter, happier elements to projects. This might just be the design trend we all need right now.

This effect can be designed in several ways, including color, imagery, animation, scale, and even typography. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes a design lighter and happier until you see it, but when you do, you’ll know it. (It might just be that little grin at the corner of your mouth when you see it.)

Meanpug uses fun, animated illustrations as a load screen with a full-text homepage (you’ll have to click through to see it). Between color and animation, you can’t help but feel good looking at the design. What might be most interesting is that the website is for a marketing agency that works with law firms. (Probably not what you expected at all.)

Happy smiling faces are hard not to feel good about. Even the devil emoji seems somewhat joyful. Add in big, bold typography and the yellow smiley, and the world just feels a little less dark.

Oatly uses lots of small elements in a cartoon-style aesthetic that is light and interesting. In addition to fun fonts and animation, all of the words on the website also contribute to a feeling of ease and happiness. It’s a solid strategy for sales; make people feel good about what they are thinking of buying to help propel them toward a purchase.

 

Conclusion

One of the most exciting things that we’ve seen with design trends in the past year is how world events – from the pandemic to isolation to working remotely – have impacted design projects as a whole.

We’ve seen fewer faces, more illustrations and typography, and an overall shift in feeling to some of the lighter, happier design elements featured here. Cheers to 2022!

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It’s that time again. Black Friday. November 26, to be exact. And the many enticing deals you’ve been looking forward to at this time of the year are here as well.

There are three types of Black Friday shoppers. Those who are successful because they have prepared. Those who are successful because they got lucky. And, those who let some good deals simply slip away.

Your best bet, of course, is to be prepared, which is the purpose of this guide.

As you go down this list, you’ll find discounts, some pretty amazing offers, a few surprises perhaps – and plenty of inspiration.

We’ve been keeping close tabs on the various Black Friday discounts and promotions, and we’ve corralled the best of the bunch for you.

Starting with:

1. Brizy – The No-Code Website Builder For Non-Techies

Brizy is a fast and easy-to-use website builder for designers and agencies. Take advantage of Brizy’s Black Friday special and tap into the skills of a team that has been creating website-building tools for over 11 years.

This premier website builder gets better with each update.

  • Web designers can choose between Brizy for WordPress and the Brizy Cloud website builder, which includes hosting;
  • Agencies can choose among several white-label options;
  • Brizy brings power to the novice; use the pre-made designs or start with a blank page and let the imagination be the guide.

Black Friday is a time to take advantage of great deals, and this year is no different.

  • Big discounts are available on Brizy’s white label agency plans;
  • Participate at no cost to win a MacBook PRO;
  • Partner perks and discounts;
  • And exclusive new designs.

Design or coding experience is not a requirement to use Brizy’s drag and drop visual builder.

Click on the banner to take advantage of these great Black Friday specials.

2. Portfoliobox

A 50% discount on any portfolio website builder would seem like a good deal. On the other hand, getting one at 50% off that enables you to quickly create a portfolio website that reflects your creative personality and will truly set you apart from the crowd is definitely worth taking advantage of.

Portfoliobox offers:

  • Mix and match templates to help achieve a unique look;
  • Powerful eCommerce functionality built right into the platform;
  • Safe and secure private client galleries;
  • An included Domain (custom domain with Pro plans);
  • Fantastic 24/7 support to keep problems to a minimum;
  • Affordable, transparent pricing plans that let you know what you are getting before you buy.

Click on the banner to find out more about this fast, affordable, and easy to work with a portfolio website builder for creatives.

3. wpDataTables

wpDataTables is a popular, power-packed plugin that can manage vast amounts of data in seconds and organize it to build a table or chart the way you want.

  • wpDataTables and charts are responsive, customizable, and easy to edit and maintain;
  • wpDataTables readily accepts data from a variety of data sources, from multiple database connections, and in the most used formats;
  • Tables and charts can be configured to nicely blend in with other website content and a website’s overall design, plus it is easy to add spice to a table or chart by using colors, adjusting font sizes, and highlighting key data using conditional formatting.

wpDataTables features Elementor and Gutenberg integration, provides the ability to connect WordPress tables with Google API, allows cascade data filtering, and much more.

Click on the banner to take advantage of the 30% off Black Friday special.

4. Amelia WordPress Booking Plugin

Amelia can be a genuine time and money saver for a variety of business types. Amelia automates and streamlines a business’s booking process.

  • Amelia relieves business owners and managers from the task of managing multiple appointments and events;
  • Clients and customers love the ability to make and manage their appointments 24/7;
  • Bookings and events are managed from a single platform, even when multiple locations are involved.

Annual and lifetime subscriptions are available.

5. Mobirise Free Website Builder

As it is an offline builder, Mobirise does not tie you to any platform, you can host it anywhere, and you have total control over creating the website you have in mind.

Mobirise:

  • is drag and drop and easy and simple use;
  • is based on the latest Google AMP or Bootstrap 5, so your site will be mobile-friendly and crazy fast;
  • comes with eCommerce, huge selections of themes, blocks and templates, and a shopping cart.

Mobirise is free for both personal and commercial use.

6. Slider Revolution

There is a difference between an “interesting” website and one whose WOW effects cause it to stand far above the competition.

Slider Revolution specializes in WOW effects that can take any website to the next level, and it can be yours on Black Friday at a 33% discount on all licenses.

The Slider Revolution package includes:

  • Innovative templates and add-ons;
  • Advanced automation and special effects tools.

Grab the Black Friday offer now.

7. Getillustrations Bundle – Commercial illustrations for the web

Digital illustrations help attract attention to and pique interest in your website.

Getillustrations.com features a package of more than 9000 commercial web and app illustrations in a wide range of topics.

  • This package features all the design formats you’re likely to need, e.g., Ai, SVG, PNG, Figma, Sketch, and more;
  • Great illustrations to spice up landing pages are included.

The package is available at a 25% discount. Use coupon code EliteDesingers25.

8. Litho – Multipurpose Elementor WordPress Theme

Litho is a creative, modern, and highly customizable theme that can be used for any type of business niche as well as for creating eCommerce, blog, and portfolio websites.

This multipurpose Elementor WordPress theme’s features include –

  • 36+ ready home pages, 200+ creative elements, and a 300+ template library;
  • One-click demo import;
  • Top loading speed and SEO result capabilities.

Litho also features detailed online documentation and top-of-the-line customer support.

9. 8bio – Linktree Alternative

Instagram and TikTok enthusiasts, take note!

With the 8bio tool at your fingertips, you can add a clickable URL to your social media platform profiles so visitors can visit your website, product page, or any other important page.

8bio offers:

  • Beautiful skins and catchy animated backgrounds;
  • The ability to link to your own domain or to *.8b.io;
  • Powerful SEO and tracking options.

The 8bio tool can also be used for your Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube posts.

10. XStore – Highly Customizable WordPress WooCommerce Theme

XStore is designed to work with the best page builders on the market and is fully compatible with the Elementor and WPBakery builders.

The XStore package includes

  • $510 worth of carefully handpicked Premium Plugins for WooCommerce;
  • More than 110+ awesome Prebuilt Shops;
  • A built-in AMP for WooCommerce, a Full Ajax Shop, multi-vendor support, and much more.

Become one of XStore’s more than 60,000+ happy customers by taking advantage of the Black Friday special.

Knowing that it’s the early bird that gets the worm, we’ve worked hard to place before you and your fellow website designers and agencies this enticing selection of the best Black Friday offers.

You will no doubt find some of the products familiar. A few might not be. In either case, the opportunities are here for you to get some great deals on some premier products.

Happy shopping!

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Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

The 9 Best XAMPP Alternatives for Hosting your Website Locally

Exciting New Tools for Designers, November 2021

Why Developers are so Divided Over WordPress

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Design a Website Homepage

How to Build F and Z-Patterns Using HTML and CSS

UX Design Psychology Tricks for Design Excellence

What if Phones were Actually Designed for Hands?

Dddoodle – Collection of Fun Hand-Drawn Illustrations in SVG Format

Layout Patterns – Collection of Layout Patterns Built Using CSS

22 Impressive Web Design Concepts for Various Business Objectives

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The post Popular Design News of the Week: November 15, 2021 – November 21, 2021 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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With the holidays fast approaching, there are plenty of fun gifts for you in this roundup of new tools and resources for web designers. Make sure to share anything you find helpful with others to spread additional holiday cheer.

Here’s what is new for designers this month…

Volley

Volley, billing itself as Snapchat for work, is a new way to collaborate with remote teams. The tool addresses the two main problems of remote teams (lack of communication and loneliness) with an async video messaging app with interactive transcriptions neatly organized into workspaces. Volley emphasizes talking over typing (76% of volleys sent are video), doesn’t require you to coordinate schedules (it’s 100% asynchronous), and lives in a threaded conversation with context that’s neatly organized. Plus, the tool is free to use.

Upnext

Upnext is a new type of reading list. It’s designed to help you save, organize, and focus on fantastic content while expanding your knowledge on your favorite topics. You can create playlists with almost any type of content that you can refer to later and follow “thinkers” that you love. Search and filter content, focus on reading, integrate videos, and even highlight and note specific content in your customized library. This brand-new web app has a waitlist that you can join to get access soon.

Startup 5

Startup 5 is a new version of the popular website builder, and it’s a perfect tool to create your online presence. With Startup, it’s fast and easy to get your business online with pre-designed blocks. It includes a visual editor with 150+ blocks with pre-designed and pre-coded elements and styles you can easily customize in a drag and drop interface. It’s an easy tool for building a website quickly without a coding background. Most users can publish a website quickly and easily.

Flatmap

Flatmap generates Mapbox Vector Tiles from geographic data sources like OpenStreetMap. It is memory-efficient so that you can build a map of the world in a few hours on a single machine without any external tools or database. Vector tiles contain raw point, line, and polygon geometries that clients like MapLibre can use to render custom maps in the browser, native apps, or a server. Flatmap packages tiles into an MBTiles (SQLite) file that can be served using tools like TileServer GL or even queried directly from the browser.

Cleanup.Pictures

Cleanup.Pictures is a web-based tool to remove objects, people, text, or other defects from your images before using them in projects. It’s an AI-based alternative to other photo-editing software.

Linkz.ai

Linkz.ai helps you make smart link preview popups for your website to help encourage greater engagement and interaction for links. It works with a line of code you can install quickly and easily, and then you get smart link previews (in two style options) for every link on your site.

Llline

Llline is an SVG generator that helps you create smooth and organic lines and strokes with plenty of customization options for almost any application. This tool helps create graphic elements in just a few clicks, allowing you to add a few points to a canvas and then draw a smooth curve using these points. You can then tweak the resulting SVG graphic by rotating it, changing its color, giving it a gradient, making it a dashed line, and then you can download or copy the SVG markup.

Lorem.Space

Lorem.Space is a valuable placeholder image tool. With just a little bit of code, you can pop cool placeholder images – from movie posters to shoes – right in your website mockup so that the design is easier to visualize. It’s a great solution that’s fun and keeps you from having to put empty boxes throughout the design. And everything can be randomized, so you don’t spend time looking for placeholders.

Huetone

Huetone can help you create more accessible color palettes by making use of the Advanced Perceptual Contrast Algorithm. The contrast ratios and color combinations show on one screen to help you quickly develop palettes and combinations. Plus, the tool has hotkeys that make it easy to change hues, toggle, and adjust quickly. Then you can export everything to Figma.

Rowy

Rowy is an open-source tool to build on the Google Cloud Platform. You can manage Firestore data in a spreadsheet-style user interface, write Cloud Functions in the browser, and connect to third-party platforms.

AdCreative.ai

AdCreative.ai uses artificial intelligence to help create better ad creative. To get started, you upload logos and color files, connect social and other accounts, pick the sizes you need, write text, pick a background, and upload product images, and let the AI do the work. Once you have the creative you like, you can connect to your online ad accounts for easy use. This is a premium tool that’s free to try.

Flowrift

Flowrift is a tool to browse and then copy and customize Tailwind CSS blocks in groups of collections. Filter by block type and then experiment with the options. It even has e-commerce blocks.

Layout Patterns

Layout Patterns is a collection of layout patterns built using modern CSS APIs to help you build common interfaces such as cards, dynamic grid areas, and full-page layouts.

You.com

You.com is a new private search engine that summarizes the web. The tool is in open beta and includes superior privacy choices, actionable results, extensible apps, and personalization through preferred sources.

3D Icons

3D Icons is a fun set of three-dimensional, full-color icons that are free for all uses. (Donations are accepted.) They integrate with pretty much any web design tool you are using and come in four color styles – clay, gradient, color, and premium – so you can get just the right look for your project. Each icon also includes three rendering views – dynamic, side, and isometric.

Arco Design

Arco Design is a comprehensive React UI components library based on the Arco Design system. It includes a customizable theme and more than 60 crafted components that you can use out of the box.

Seekvectors.com

Seekvectors.com is a search tool to find free resources in five different formats, PNG, SVG, JPG, EPS, and AI.

Outline to Single Stroke

Outline to Single Stroke is a tool in the Figma community that works just like the name implies. Select a filled vector on the canvas, and then you can outline it to a single stroke and adjust the line weight if you like.

Codeamigo

Codeamigo is a new self-paced platform to help you learn coding skills. It’s packed with various lessons for different languages and templates and has something for every level from beginner to advanced.

Sizze

Sizze is a Figma to React Native export tool to create app prototypes and instantly export to code.

CodingFont

CodingFont is an excellent game that can help you pick a font to use for coding that you like! If you spend a lot of time looking at code each day, the right font can help reduce eye strain and make the work a little easier to see.

Christmas Revue

Christmas Revue is the first in a trio of holiday typefaces that you can use this season. This SCG color font is fun and perfect for the holidays with exciting glyphs. It is free for personal use only.

Hotsnow

Hotsnow is a fun display font that has interesting fills and shapes in an all-caps character set. It is free for personal use.

Marlwich

Marlwich is a feminine handwriting-style typeface that has the feel of signing a holiday letter or card. It contains upper- and lower-case characters and is only for non-commercial use for free. (A paid option is available for commercial projects.)

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Wireframes are a powerful tool, especially for UX designers; whether you are developing a new app, a website, or anything else, the initial steps of any project can be tackled with this robust approach.

There are many occasions when we get stuck or overwhelmed for hours in front of a new project. This is where creating wireframes can be beneficial. A wireframe is nothing more than a diagram of your ideas for the flow of a project.

This post will analyze what wireframes are, and why they are so crucial for user mapping. Then, we will reveal the steps you need to follow to create an efficient wireframe. Let’s dive in…

What Is A Wireframe?

In a few words, a wireframe is a drawing created in the early stages of a UX project. Wireframes are a brilliant and effortless way to create a blueprint for the structure of a page.

In such a drawing, you can include valuable information about the UI and UX of the page you want to design.

You can think of wireframing as a process of visualizing the initial ideas you have about a project. It does not matter if you are comfortable with drawing; you can design wireframes on paper or digitally.

In either case, drawing a wireframe is not about your artistic skills. Instead, wireframes are about structuring your project and identifying the fundamental interactions you want to build out.

Why Is Wireframing Important For UX Designers? 

If you are an experienced UX designer, you have already come across concepts like user mapping and user journeys. Mapping the entire user experience is crucial. And that’s the main reason why wireframing is a must for a UX project.

Since you need to provide a top-notch user experience, wireframing is a great way to ensure this from the earliest stages of your design. But what is the process you need to follow when designing wireframes?

And how can you ensure that your wireframes are efficient? Let’s find out…

Creating An Effective Wireframe In 5 Simple Steps

Creating a good wireframe will allow you to construct your project. You will think it through, prioritize some fundamental interactions and consider alternatives.

1. Research

Although this is not a wireframing step per se, it is critical to the efficiency of your wireframes. How can you start drafting without doing user research? Well, you can not. That’s why the first thing you need to do is analyze your project.

All you have to do is seek similar products/services and check them out. Look at what your competitors are doing right and what they are doing wrong. This way, you will be ready for the next step.

2. Create Personas

You have already selected the best practices and ruled out other guidelines you believe will not be effective on this project. Now it’s time to think about user flow: How many screens will you put on a page? Where are users coming from, and where do you want them to go after reading this page?

By mapping your user flow, you can create a user persona. Then all you have to do is figure out what information to include. 

Mapping the information correctly is crucial because it will help you ensure that users do not get frustrated or overwhelmed when they visit your final page.

Once you do that, you are good to go. 

3. Start Sketching

It’s time to reach for your fine pen, pencil, eraser, and paper. Visualizing your ideas needs to be quick and efficient. Try to avoid fine details because this step is not about creating a high-fidelity wireframe on paper. 

All you need to do here is sketch out basic features and formats.

Since most of us designers are perfectionists, you can use a timer. Set the timer to 4-5 minutes and force yourself to finish the wireframe by that time. Repeat this step until you have created a few wireframes with which you are happy.

Finally, expand and polish your favorite mockups for a few minutes and prepare for the hard part.

4. Ask for Feedback

There is nothing more important than feedback when it comes to wireframing. Discuss your project with your colleagues. Just let them know how each mockup helps you with the project and what idea it visualizes.

Try to sincerely listen to what they have to say about your designs. Once you have gathered all the information and advice, start modifying the wireframe accordingly.

5. Add Details and Create Prototypes

It’s been a long road, but you are now at the point where you feel most comfortable as a UX designer: prototyping. Plenty of software (Adobe XD, Framer, Proto.io, etc.) can help you with this step. 

Start by turning your low-fidelity sketch into a high-quality prototype. Once you are happy with the result, test your prototype’s screens and see if the result serves the user flow. Platforms like UsabilityHub and Prott can help you with this.

Valuable Tips to Keep in Mind While Creating a Wireframe

Keep your Wireframes Simple: Creating a wireframe is not about fine details; try to manage the time you spend on it well. All you need is a clear and simple visualization of your page. You will have all the time you need for prototyping.

Don’t Worry About Your Artistic Skills: Anyone can draw. It’s as simple as that. You do not have to be an artist to create a clear wireframe to help you visualize your ideas. Be confident and make sure you include all the information you need.

Always Think of the User Personas You Created: Creating a wireframe is a smart way to ensure that the page you create meets the user’s needs. Therefore, you should always keep in mind what users will do when they open this page and whether it meets their needs and goals.

The Bottom Line

Creating a wireframe is not as difficult as you might think. All you need to do is research, find out what users need from this page, and create a map. By following these simple steps, you’ll ensure that the wireframes you design deliver a top-notch user experience.

 

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As a web designer, you’re responsible for a lot of things. Your client is relying on you to ensure that their website is user-friendly, accessible, eye-catching, and even good enough on the back-end to capture the attention of the search engines. 

However, what many business leaders and clients don’t realize is that they also have a part to play in ensuring that they get the right results from their site; there’s more to the client and contractor relationship than an exchange of funds. 

Today, we’re going to examine some of the most common mistakes that clients make when they begin working with a website designer for the first time. After all, when a client makes a mistake, it’s up to you to show them how to get back on track. 

Client Mistake 1: Providing Minimal Insight

Creativity, for the most part, is the responsibility of the designer in any web-building project. You know best what you can do for a client. 

When you’re discussing an upcoming project with a business owner, you can walk them through concepts like dark mode design or strategies for digital accessibility. However, you’re still reliant on your client to let you know if there’s anything specific they need. 

An insufficient brief in a web design project usually means that you waste time on a project because you have to go back and forth multiple times, making updates and edits. Getting a brief ironed out properly from day one can reduce misunderstandings and mistakes. 

To get your client started, ask them to share some details like:

  • Who’s the target audience? Do they have a user persona they can share?
  • What specific features does the site need? Landing pages, forms, widgets, etc.?
  • Competitor sites they like: What do they appreciate about those designs?
  • Brand colors and assets: What kind of hues and shades should you use?
  • Technical feature requirements: Does the site need to have its own app, integrate with APIs, or have a checkout solution, for instance?

Client Mistake 2: Underestimating The Workload

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that clients make when seeking help from a designer is that they have no idea how much work it will take to create the kind of site they want. If they haven’t provided a great brief in the first place, they might not have had a chance to see all the work they’re asking for written down. Walking your client through the brief process can help here. 

On the other hand, if your client has already provided a brief, along with an unrealistic deadline for completion, you might need to have a discussion with them about what you need to do. Walking your client through some of the processes involved in creating their website could give them an insight into how long it will realistically take to bring their ideas to life. 

Additionally, ensuring that your customers fully understand the amount of work you’re taking on could also mean that they can better grasp why you’re charging a certain price for your services. That brings us neatly to the next mistake…

Client Mistake 3: Not Having The Right Budget

Pricing your design services can be a complicated process for web designers. You need to make sure that you’re charging enough to cover the cost of things like essential software and hardware for your company. At the same time, with so many other designers out there, you also need to ensure that your costs are competitive. 

After you’ve gone through the hard work of figuring out what your pricing structure should be, you also need to be capable of justifying that expense to your client. It’s common for many customers to go into their work with a web designer expecting that they’ll be able to get an entire website, blog, and app for less than a couple of hundred dollars. 

Make sure that your client is aware of your pricing immediately to avoid any confusion. If possible, have a pricing page on your website or portfolio which highlights the cost of different packages and precisely what your clients are going to get. 

If your customers can see the value in your services and even equate to an hourly workload or skillset, they might be better equipped to set the proper budget. 

Client Mistake 4: Making Too Many Technology Decisions

You’ll find that you work with many different types of client during your time as a web designer. Sometimes, you’ll have people who come to you not really knowing what they want or need. This means that you may need to spend some time speaking to them about their expectations and discussing what’s possible. 

On the other hand, there’s always a chance that you could work with a client who thinks that they should be making all of the decisions themselves. While it’s true that your client should have some control over things like the style of their website and what features it has, it’s up to you to make technical decisions like what kind of tools you’re going to use. 

If your client tries to dictate everything you do and how you’re going to do it, this could make it difficult for you to deliver your best work. Explain your processes to your customer in advance and find out why they want you to use specific technology. 

For instance, if your client wants to use a specific kind of website builder because they’ve heard it’s “the best,” you can explain what you like most about the product you’re already using. 

Client Mistake 5: Being Too Attached To An Idea

This is a problem that happens in a lot of creative industries. A client goes out and finds something that they like on another website. It might be an attractive landing page or a specific checkout process. They’re so excited by what they see there that they refuse to compromise on that idea when working with their designer – even if the concept isn’t suitable. 

For instance, your client might come to you wanting a website that’s full of dynamic animations and videos. However, if they only have a limited amount of bandwidth from their hosting provider, this could mean that they end up with a slow site that aggravates their customers. 

The best thing you can do when this happens is to present the issue to your client in a way that they can understand. For instance, if you’re worried something will slow down their website, talk to them about how speed is essential to good customer experience. You could even share some page speed stats like: if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, over half of all visitors will abandon it. 

Seeing the stats for themselves could mean that your clients are more likely to change their minds. 

Client Mistake 6: Working With The Wrong Designer

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes any client can make is working with the wrong website designer. There are a lot of professionals out there, each with their unique skills to offer in things like UX design, ecommerce page creation, and so much more. However, it’s not always easy to know what you need as a business owner getting online for the first time. 

The good news for web design clients is that there’s a lot of information out there that you can use to get informed fast. The bad news for designers is that this means you’re going to need to work at keeping your skills on the cutting edge if you want to attract the widest selection of customers. 

To ensure that you’re more likely to be the right designer for your customers, stay up to date with the latest web design standards, and check out what’s trending in your industry. Webinars, articles, and even TED talks can be an excellent way to brush up your knowledge and make your portfolio much more appealing. 

Strengthen Your Client/Designer Relationships 

Succeeding as a web designer isn’t just about building a robust portfolio full of excellent websites where you can showcase your skills. While it’s true that you need to stay on the cutting edge with your design talents, you also need to make sure that you can create positive relationships with every client that comes to you. 

Like designers, clients can make mistakes too, but not knowing what they want, trying to take too much control, or simply failing to understand the scope of a product. Rather than letting those mistakes hold you back, prove your mettle as a designer by helping your clients navigate these issues. The result will be more streamlined project experiences, happier customers, and better reviews for your company. 

 

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Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers

The Metaverse is BS

8 JavaScript Set Methods You Should Master Today

7 Web Design Tips To Improve Your Site

Visual Git

Nazca – New GUI for the Web

Dashana – Visualize your Data in Less than a Minute

Color Peeker – Color Code in the Menu Bar

Bootstrap V4.6.1

Why We Love FIFA’s New Women’s World Cup 2023 Logo

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Is sketching essential to UX and UI designers? Well, if you think of sketching as a way to explore problems and record potential solutions, then yes, it absolutely is.

One of the most challenging tasks of any design process is capturing the initial idea. We’ve all spent countless hours thinking through an innovative solution to a project, only to lose the idea again. It turns out that sketching is a brilliant solution to this problem.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to improve your UX designs using sketching as a tool. First, we’ll answer the question of how sketching benefits design, then we’ll look at the tools you need, and finally what an efficient sketching process looks like. By the end of this 3-minute read, you’ll have valuable new knowledge that will help you as a designer.

Why Sketching Is Important For Designers

When you start working on a project, it’s tempting to jump straight into high-resolution wireframes. But in doing so, you run the risk of spending hours on each little detail, only to discover that the overall concept doesn’t work.

Sketching — unlike drawing, which is about communicating an idea — is a free-flowing, process that allows you to get your ideas down on paper (yes, paper!) fast.

If there’s one thing you take away from this guide, let it be this: sketches aren’t for clients, or colleagues, or Dribbble, sketches are just for you. They’re a non-written way of rapidly making notes. Sketches will help you recall all the possible routes to consider.

Sketching is all about visualizing your ideas quickly and efficiently. When you’re sketching, you don’t have to worry about details, and you don’t have to worry about communicating with anyone else.

By sketching ideas without detail, you can quickly explore numerous solutions for a project. It’s fascinating how sketching can help you visualize an idea and revise it again and again along the way with minimal effort.

So, what revolutionary new tools do you need?

What Tools Do You Need For Sketching?

Designers love new tools, but when it comes to sketching there are relatively few, and you probably already have them to hand.

First, you’re going to need paper. A notebook is fine, it doesn’t have to be high-quality paper; in fact, you will probably feel freer and less restrained if you make sure that it is cheap.

You’ll need something to make a mark on the paper. A pencil is fine, as is a pen, a biro, and just about anything else. Don’t worry about an eraser, sketching isn’t about correcting mistakes, but you will need a sharpener if you’re using a pencil — never draw with a blunt pencil!

Whatever implement you choose, it’s a good idea to have a heavy marker, like a Sharpie, to pick out an important detail, and perhaps a fine pen to add small detail (if required).

Finally, make sure you have a timer to hand. A chess clock is perfect for an old-school aesthetic, but a timer on your phone is perfectly fine. The timer is to make sure you don’t spend too long on one sketch, so you don’t have time to get wrapped up in perfecting the details.

Sketching 101: A Step-by-Step Process

When you’ve been sketching for a while, you’ll discover your own process, and preferred methods. But for anyone new, here’s how to get started.

1. The Initial Idea

As with designing a wireframe, the most challenging step is getting started. Usually, at the beginning of a project, we are overwhelmed. This is because there are so many ideas, and we do not know where to start. For this reason, a detailed analysis of the project is essential.

You can start by thinking about the most important interactions you need to create. This way, you will find out the most important and exciting aspects of the project.

Since most of us get caught up in the fine details, it is beneficial to think of sketching as a brainstorming session. This session is simply about coming up with an innovative solution for a project and visualizing it.

It’s fine to have an idea that you’ll ultimately disregard. This is not the time to edit yourself.

2. Start Sketching

Take a piece of paper and use your sketching tool to divide it into six sections. Set your timer for 5 minutes and start drafting mockups for the first interaction.

Often, designers struggle with this step, and fall back on what they’re used to, i.e. wireframing and high-res mockups. If you find that you’re struggling to start sketching, start by making a mark on the paper; any mark at all. Then, make a second mark. With the third mark, try to position it in a way that says something to you about the project, by its size, weight, position — anything at all. Keep going, and before you know it you’ll have a complete sketch.

It’s vital that you do not exceed the time you give to yourself because sketching is not about fine details. The time is better spent exploring multiple ideas, even if those ideas only serve to confirm that the first idea was the most promising.

Repeating this step can be very valuable. Once you are happy with the results, you can move on to the next and final step.

3. Self-Editing

Unfortunately, you can not take away every concept you have outlined. This step is about choosing your most effective ideas and expanding on them.

Most designers want to create top-notch, detailed designs, and that’s fine. However, sketches are only really helpful for the early stages of a project, and creating perfect sketches in the first stages of a project may not be productive — in fact, it can be restrictive.

It’s often a good idea to combine some of your designs. Redraw them together, and once you’ve done that expand and refine them.

Improve Your Design With Sketching

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re bad at sketching — no one is going to see your sketches except you. Many of us would struggle to sing in public, but are absolutely fine singing in the shower.

Remember that sketching is not about your artistic skills; it’s about capturing an idea and expanding on it. After all, once you have your final design, you will recreate it digitally.

You don’t have to be an artist to be a designer. And since sketching can improve your UX designs, there are many reasons you should give it a try.

Once you’re comfortable with sketching, you’ll find it an invaluable tool for identifying sticking points in a project, and solving them before you reach the wireframe stage.

 

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As the year begins to wind down, there are still plenty of new and evolving website design trends going strong. Much of what you’ll see this month carries over from things we’ve been seeing all year but with fresh touches.

From peek-a-boo designs with neat animated elements to vertical bars to brutalist blocks, there are a lot of highly usable trends to work with.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

Peek-a-Boo with Animation

Designers have been experimenting with cut-out and layering elements with animation for some time, which has evolved into full peek-a-boo styles with a lot of visual interest.

How each design comes together is a little different. Some have the animation in the back, others in the front, and some include text as part of the style. There’s almost no set of actual rules to how to make this design trend work.

Each of the examples below does it somewhat differently with varying degrees of success. The commonality here is that it is almost one of those visuals that you either see and love or hate.

Jatco Insurance is the most stunning example here, with a bold color choice and a peek-a-book element inside the oversized “J.” The overall effect is soothing and interesting and naturally draws the user across the screen from the top left to the background video layer. The small tagline, “Individual attention you deserve,” is perfectly placed.

Liron Moran Interiors takes a different approach with the peek-a-boo concept with the letters peeking out from behind an image. The animation is restricted to a hover and scroll effect that adds a liquid element to the image as well as changes to the image and color background. The challenge here is in readability. More of the words show on wider screens, but is it enough?

Melon Fashion also layers text and animated effects for a neat peek-a-book style that almost seems cut out from the background. The overall look appears to have three layers: background video, middle layer for the yellow color block, and text on top. The opacity of text elements with the peeking video is interesting and well pulled together without sacrificing too much readability.

Vertical Bars

Vertical color bars are a design element that keeps popping up in different ways. Designers can use it as a standalone element or container for content, such as navigation or other click actions.

Vertical elements are helpful because they can help create a more consistent and unified user experience from desktop to mobile screens. This shape can also be somewhat disruptive because you don’t see it featured that often. (Although with this style trending that might become less true over time.)

New Classrooms uses a vertical color bar on the left to help you move through the design. The color actually changes as each slide progresses on the homepage.

Serving uses multiple vertical bars as links to different content entry points. Clickability is emphasized with a change from a red overlay to a full-color image. The navigation is also tucked inside a white bar on the left side of the screen with a hamburger menu therein.

TechnoAlpin goes with a skinny vertical navigation menu on the right side of the screen. The icons with menu elements make navigation highly visual and intuitive. The color, which significantly contrasts with the rest of the design, also helps.

Brutalist Blocks

Not many people thought brutalism would stick around when it started trending. Elements of brutalism keep sneaking in, though, although they are much less stark and harsh than some of those original trending website designs.

This version of brutalism focuses on block elements that contain images or text and often click to other pages in the design. The blocks themselves are essentially the buttons that help you navigate to additional content.

The critical question about this design technique is whether this click action is intuitive enough. Will users interact without buttons?

The answer likely depends on your audience base, but if you opt for a style like this, it is essential to keep a close eye on analytics to ensure that users know and understand how to engage.

Milli Agency might be the most intuitive example of the brutalist blocks trend. The homepage is essentially a giant navigation menu. Each block changes from white to yellow on hover and expands, further encouraging clicks.

Sick Agency uses brutalist blocks with experimental typefaces and bold color for an in-your-face design. You can’t help but look at all the different things happening here. The biggest question might be, where should you focus and click next? The cursor provides some visual cues, but it’s not quite as intuitive as you might want it to be.

Mawo mixes brutalist blocks with a big blue cursor to help users click through the design to see more clothing options. Even the images here have a rather stark feel, which isn’t typical for e-commerce. Every block element above the scroll on the homepage includes a click action from the navigation blocks across the top to the “Shop Women” and “Shop Men” images. Further, the blue cursor dot helps show where users can click, and text buttons change to blue on hover as well.

Conclusion

Most of the examples here show trends as homepage elements, but you aren’t limited to that application. Try some of these techniques on landing pages or interior pages that you want to add a little something special to.

This can be an excellent way to test the design and see if your users like the style and know-how to interact with it. If it works, then you can extend the aesthetic to more of the design.

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