Member Offer
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How to Change Your Career from Graphic Design to UX Design

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Mircea, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. Mircea

    Mircea New Member

    Would you change your career from Graphic Design to UX Design?

    According to this article

    there might be more advantages, at least in terms of salary.

    However, you have to adjust your mindset to those principles that are different of our way of thinking as Graphic Designers. The biggest challenge would be that on certain occasions, we would have to stop making a priority out of the aesthetic preoccupation and focus more on the user, in a proactive and iterative manner.

    I personally find it very difficult. If I find something that looks incomplete visually speaking, even if it's more eligible UX-wise, my mind stops there until I consider it 100% aesthetically pleasant.

    And I wonder: is there any way of tricking your mind into accepting a product for its UX aspect rather than the graphic one? Is there a way of preparing a presentation without giving so much thought to the way it looks as long as it's functional and you can save time?

    Or maybe our thinking patterns are set in stone?

    What would you do if you were considering a career shift towards UX Design?
  2. Mircea

    Mircea New Member

    Yes, I think I will follow that lead. Good advice. Thanks.
  3. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    This is something I battle with on a regular basis, and I hear this complaint often from other designers about sacrificing creativity for UX. I see it as two sides of the same coin, and I honestly don't think UX design should take precedence in all situations. When it comes to designing apps and interfaces or sites that present a lot of important information (Government or consumer advice sites for example) then making the site/app easy and logical to use should be the number one priority.

    In other situations you can take some more chances as users won't instantly leave a website if they're confused by a layout. Most will soldier on and at least give it a shot, so you have some elbow room providing you're not breaking all the rules (unless you're trying something wild and experimental).

    Personally I take an active interest in UX design and usability because it is incredibly important to what I do as a designer which is communicating effectively. In much the same way that a designer with a basic understanding of typography with notice widows, rivers and poor kerning instantly, a designer with a basic understanding of a user's thinking and interaction with an interface will spot UX errors.

    I try and think about how someone will use a site or interface I'm designing and work around them. Little things like using coloured text could imply that the text is a hyperlink, especially if it's blue. Here's an example. The text below details times and location of an event that is coloured blue because that blue hue is used for a particular category on the site. It looks clickable, does it not, implying that the user can interact with it in some way such as adding the event to their calendar, when in fact they can't interact with it in any way.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 14.35.31.png

    It may not seem like a big deal, but think about users using the rest of the site, which uses green coloured text for it's hyperlinks.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 14.40.19.png

    This could potentially lead to confusion coloured when text IS clickable but it isn't clear to the user because the site is giving them confusing feedback about hyperlinks. They could miss out on important information simply because they can't find the page. A quick and easy solution would be to underline any hyperlink text that is clickable to tell the user "hyperlinks are underlined." It's a little thing but it can actually have a huge difference on how users interact with a site.

    Obviously this all depends on the type of site being designed and more importantly developed. Whilst you can try more experimental approaches to content in some situations, you still have to think about accessibility for those users who are disadvantaged and rely on screen readers to read content. Not adding in alt tags to images means that a screen reader will not interpret the page correctly for them and they could potentially be missing out on information that is important to them. I explain it to clients like building a cinema or a sports stadium, but not adding ramps so wheelchair users can't gain access.

    Honestly it's a fine balance, and I think it really comes down to the project, the target audience and the client. Not every site needs to be overly creative since the aim at the end of the day is to present information to users. How users interact with sites and content is set to change anyway as new generations become more familiar with today's lazy tropes such as 'hamburger' menus. If you don't know what this represents, you probably won't know that it hides a menu or navigation. However, once you've learnt this you'll understand next time. In much the same way many teenagers have no idea what a floppy disk is, but they understand that icon represents saving a file due to exposure and repetition.
    Mircea likes this.
  4. Mircea

    Mircea New Member

    This might be the first time when I read about the "not so dramatic" intention of not making a priority out of the UX aspect. Yes, nicely said.

    In the end, I think that both Graphic Design and UX Design are different forms of creativity. They are, actually, inherently interconnected, representing nothing else but a continuum when you are involved in crafting that website. You cannot have the skin without bones and muscles, right? But the separation occurs when our mind starts to label and create concepts, in order to structure the whole thing as a science on its own.
  5. GreenEggs&Ham

    GreenEggs&Ham New Member

    They are different forms of creativity, and I think that you can do both. Depending on what your client or customer wants, you can offer both services. User experience is an incredibly high ranking element now and a lot of businesses want to focus on it. That being said, they still want an aesthetically pleasing site. I think you can sell your services as being able to offer both - designing user friendly and beautiful sites. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. How you approach the task will vary depending on focus and what you are prioritizing in a design, clear, but both can be incorporated.

    "But the separation occurs when our mind starts to label and create concepts" exactly!
    Mircea likes this.
  6. Mircea

    Mircea New Member

    I completely agree. It's very encouraging knowing that they don't have to bee mutually exclusive. I think that the separation also takes place in the UX hardcore environments, where the hardcore UX professionals (those who are specialized exclusively on User Research, for example), wish for the term UX/UI Designer to disappear completely from job posts and termonology books, as it stabs at the meaning of the very restrictive and specialized aspect of User Experience as a science (from their point of view, of course).

Share This Page