- What do interface designers do?
- Interface designer career path
- Interface designer salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Interface designer skills
- Pros and cons of being an interface designer
- Interface designer work-life balance
- Typical employers
- Related jobs
- More information
Are you looking for a career that combines technology with design? Do you want to help users have the best experience possible on any website or app? If you enjoy graphic design then a career as an interface designer could be for you.
Are you wondering about interface designer opportunities? Explore available IT and Software Development graduate jobs.
What does an interface designer do?
Interface designers, or user interface designers, create the visual side of websites and apps with which users like you interact every day. To do this, here are some tasks that your job as an interface designer could include:
- Being given a brief for the work you need to do by a client or supervisor
- Creating storyboards and design ideas
- Making a prototype of the design, combining the requirements of the brief and the ideas you come up with
- Reviewing your prototype to see if there are any issues and editing it if you notice anything you need to change
- Presenting your ideas to your colleagues, supervisor and stakeholders
- Editing your work based on feedback you receive
- Working with designers, software engineers and copywriters to produce a complete web page or app
Take care when looking for interface designer jobs. You may come across many jobs called “web designer”, “visual designer” “user interface designer” and “user experience designer”. Whilst there are differences between these jobs, some of the basic content will be the same. Make sure to read the job description carefully so you know if the job is right for you.
Interface designer career path
Your career as an interface designer could take you to high positions within a company. Here are the steps that you can take in your career for success:
As an interface designer, you could begin in a junior interface designer position. This is meant for people without lots of experience but a passion for the work. If you have prior experience in design alongside a great portfolio of work, you could go straight into an interface designer job. In junior and entry-level positions, you receive clear guidelines for the work you are set. Your work is not overly complex but challenges you and teaches you the skills to progress in your career.
Beyond junior and entry-level positions, you progress to mid-level interface design jobs. The work you do increases in complexity and skill level. You have more autonomy over the work you do and less direction from your supervisor.
After several years of experience, you reach a senior interface designer job. Like the move from entry-level to mid-level, the complexity of your work increases, as does the skill level required to complete it. You work with higher profile clients or companies because you have a positive track record backing up your years of experience.
The next move you could make is becoming a design manager. In this role, you oversee the work completed by everyone in your team, ensure it remains at the standard that you set and assign work according to priority and the skill level of your colleagues.
Once you have the relevant skills and years of experience, you enter the executive levels. This could be the director of design where you oversee all the work in the department for a client including advertising and branding. You are in charge of maintaining high standards of work throughout the teams working for the client and keeping the work consistent by setting out a single vision that the client wants to achieve.
After the director of design comes the vice president of design and then the head of design. These positions are high up in a company and typically require more than 10 years of experience. Your work is wider, taking responsibility for more departments in the company. Having a larger impact on the company comes with higher implications if your work isn’t up to standard but does have an impressive paycheck to match your responsibility.
Interface designer salaries
Your career as an interface designer could take you to high levels within a company. Here are the salary levels that you could expect when working your way up:
- Starting jobs like junior interface designer have salaries between £24,000 and £34,000 per year.
- With some previous experience or through a promotion, a mid-level interface designer gets paid between £35,000 and £48,000 per year.
- Senior interface designers typically earn around £53,000 per year.
- Design managers earn between £50,000 and £60,000 per year.
- An executive head of design position could earn above £65,000 per year.
Qualifications and training
Interface designers don’t typically need any formal qualifications for this career path. Having some education in art or graphic design helps your technical understanding of how to combine colours and how to use art design software. However, this doesn’t need to be in the form of a degree and could be through A-Level study, a diploma or professional certification.
There are many professional qualifications that you can get when considering a career in interface design. However, you don’t need a professional qualification or certification for the job. The benefit of gaining professional qualifications is so you can demonstrate that you have the required skills to get the job. This could set you apart from other candidates who are relying on their portfolios.
To save yourself the cost of some of the expensive courses, you can get a great deal of experience in interface design at home. The most important part of getting a job in interface design is demonstrating your skill and passion for the job through your portfolio. This is a collection of work that you have completed which shows off how great you are at interface design.
Building up your portfolio means providing examples of your designs. You could begin by completing an online tutorial on websites like YouTube to help you design your first interface and learn the basics.
Next, you could take a well-known company’s website and redesign it with new and interesting ideas to demonstrate how you would incorporate the company’s values and requirements into an innovative design. You could volunteer for a charity or a startup to design their website or app. You could even look for internship opportunities in interface design.
Your portfolio should include your reasoning behind different design and colour choices in your work so a hiring manager can easily understand your thought process if they look through your portfolio.
Interface designer skills
Since hiring managers don’t only select candidates to interview based on education, it’s really important to have the required skills to work well at the job. Here are some key hard and soft skills for interface designers:
- A good understanding of design software. This could be Adobe, Sketch or InVision Studio amongst many others. Understanding how to effectively use one or more of these types of software shows that you are experienced and could easily adapt to a workplace. There are free tutorials online through websites like YouTube to help you use many types of interface software.
- Understand colour palettes and which colours go well together. Good knowledge of how to combine colours in a visually aesthetic way helps you make great designs.
- Some coding knowledge. This isn’t essential but could help you to understand how your designs work on a website meaning you can optimise your work for the type of interface you’re using, whether this is a website or an app.
- Creativity. Interface design is a highly creative career. You produce new, interesting designs for every client so being creative is really important.
- Research. To produce the best design, you must understand the user. This means researching the client to understand their values and researching their customers to determine what appeals most to them.
- Listening skills. Your work depends on the briefs given to you by clients or your supervisor. Having excellent listening skills means you can identify key points in the brief that they want you to focus on and would improve a design.
Pros and cons of being an interface designer
Interface designing is an interesting career that requires a creative person to constantly come up with innovative ideas. Here are some factors about the job that you should consider before becoming an interface designer:
- It is a relatively stress-free job if you’re passionate about design and enjoy presenting your ideas. This could help you maintain a positive work-life balance.
- All levels of interface design are well paid.
- Your work changes on a regular basis because you may produce designs for many companies or for different areas of an app or website.
- There is a lot of work available for skilled interface designers.
- It is rewarding work because you can see the impact of your designs on websites and apps.
- Thinking up new ideas for every brief can be tricky and you don’t want to suggest the same design ideas repeatedly. Keeping a record of all your ideas and the ones that you’ve already used could help.
- You may have negative feedback for your work from either a supervisor or a client. Listening carefully to a brief and asking relevant questions to fully understand what your supervisor or a client wants from you could help produce the type of work that they’re looking for.
- You may have relatively little freedom in the work that you do. This means you may work on designs that don’t interest you very much. Once you progress to higher levels, you have more input and choice in the work that you do.
Depending on the company you work for, you could work between 40 and 60 hours a week. This includes meetings and creating your designs. There is scope for overtime around deadlines or if you have a challenging brief.
Some companies allow interface designers to be flexible and work the hours that they are most productive instead of 9am to 5pm plus overtime. This depends on the company. Take time to learn about the company culture and whether it suits you before accepting a job offer.
Typical interface designer employers
As an interface designer, you have the opportunity to work with some of the biggest companies in the world. Here are some examples of companies that hire interface designers:
Related jobs to interface designer
Are you interested in starting your career as an interface designer? Explore the interface design jobs available right now.