How do people become UI designers

What does a UI designer do?

Everything at a glance

  • The UI designer is responsible for the design of user interfaces.
  • His area of ​​responsibility includes increasing the user-friendliness of a website or application.
  • A strong technical understanding and knowledge of interaction principles are essential for this job.
  • UI designers complete their basic training in the form of a degree or training in the field of digital media design.
  • The salary nationwide is between 35,000 and 75,000 euros a year.

job profile

UI is the abbreviation for User Interface. This means the interface with which the user of a surface interacts with the system. The term is to be distinguished from UX. While a UI designer designs the user interface described, the UX designer dedicates himself to the UX, i.e. the user experience. In German one speaks of the user experience that the user interface designer creates. This goes beyond the interaction with the software interface.

Unlike the UI, which is strongly focused on graphical issues and designed by the user interface designer, the user experience is more of an analytical nature and is primarily devoted to technical issues.


The interaction between man and machine takes place via a user interface. This enables humans to communicate with the machine and to convert their commands into actions. The user interface designer must design such a surface in such a way that it is easy to understand and can be used efficiently. The more intuitively a user can interact with a machine, the more time, resource and cost saving he can proceed. A UI well designed by the user interface designer also results in increased user confidence in his technology. The UI designer ensures that the interaction between man and machine can take place in the best possible way.

What are the tasks of a UI designer?

  • Creation of requirement analyzes
  • Conception of design models
  • Optimizing the usability of a digital product
  • Planning of design templates

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User interfaces are not always graphical in nature. Voice control is also becoming increasingly widespread and is being used more and more both in business and by private consumers. There is also gesture control, which has at times found widespread use in video games. In contrast to voice control, where software users use spoken commands to give instructions, with gesture control, for example, users communicate with the machine using hand or arm movements. The UI designer must know about the strengths of the individual solutions and arrange and program them in the best possible way. He is also proficient in programming languages ​​and has psychological knowledge, especially in behavioral research.

In addition, it is important for UI designers to always keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry, because user interfaces undergo major changes over the years, for example when new approaches take hold in an industry. A well-known example is the capacitive touch surface on smartphones. With the iPhone, Apple introduced a technology that had not been used in the mass market until then in the consumer sector. The user communicates with his mobile phone via a touch-sensitive screen instead of physical buttons. Gestures like pinch-to-zoom have become an integral part of everyday smartphone use, for example to enlarge photos or text.

What does a UI designer have to be able to do?

  • Technical understanding
  • empathy
  • creativity
  • Knowledge of interaction principles

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The path to becoming a UI designer usually leads through a degree or training in the field of digital media design. An academic degree is an advantage, but not a prerequisite for gaining a foothold in the profession. In addition, the industry is open to ambitious career changers.


A UI designer has an average starting salary of around 35,000 euros gross per year. With professional experience, the average income of user interface designers is around 55,000 euros, top salaries are around 75,000 euros.

The average hourly freelancer rate for a UI designer is 76 euros. Extrapolated to an 8-hour day, the daily rate is around 608 euros (freelancermap price index - as of November 2019).

How much does a UI designer earn?

Starting salary35,000 euros
Average salary55,000 euros
Senior salary75,000 euros
Freelancer hourly rate76 euros / hour
Freelancer daily rate608 euros / day

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