User interface designers are members of a software development team. They are responsible for creating and arranging the elements of a software’s user interface (the part of the program that the end-user will see and interact with). A user interface designer is sometimes hired under other names as well, such as user experience (or UX for short) designer and user interaction designer.
Regardless of what they may be called by a given organization, the duties and requirements remain largely the same, though specific competencies (such as programming languages and knowledge of certain software packages) may vary by company. Like most employees in the software industry, their work is almost entirely mental and usually takes place in an office environment. They are generally employed on a full-time basis, though significant overtime may be required on occasion, especially when due dates are approaching.
User interface designers are expected to understand the entire software development life cycle and be excellent programmers. As such, they are generally expected to hold bachelor’s degrees in a relevant field such as human-computer interaction, though graphic design or information technology-related degrees are also sometimes acceptable. Other required proficiencies, such as the ability to code in CSS, Java, or C#, will be determined by the hiring company. For example, an user interface designer working for a large web-based operation would likely be expected to be fluent in various web-based programming languages, while a designer working for a small video game startup might need to be familiar with various physics engines and flash-based programming.
User Interface Designer Tasks
- Conduct ongoing research of web-based user interface development best practices.
- Build storyboards, proof-of-concept mockups, demos and prototypes of proposed features.
- Follow user interface design standards for applications to maintain an integrated and consistent look and feel.