What is UI?

UI: user interface design

A UI is a digital space where users see and perceive information.

UI design specifically focuses on the visual design of interactive elements, and as a field it lives almost exclusively in digital media. Interactive elements such as drop-down menus, form fields, clickable elements, animations, button styling, and more are all critical tools in UI design.

The UI designer takes the framework and wireframes created by the UX designer and translates them into high-fidelity, final visual deliverables before handing them off to a development or engineering team for production. 

UI: user interface design
Caitlin Brisson

“UI forced me to learn in a completely different way and really pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn something (visual design) that I think would have been much harder to do on my own.”

Caitlin BrissonProduct Design Intern, Gusto

Deliverables by UI designers at Designation

Kit French

“I gained a lot of confidence by attending Designation. At my current job, I work with a lot of market and UX researchers. It’s great to be able to speak their language and request relevant research for them to conduct.”

Kit FrenchVisual Designer, MINDBODY

UI design success stories

At Designation, UI designers learn how to turn visual building blocks into systems and apply them to products. They graduate ready to change the world, one design element at a time.

Tom Kutschera

Tom Kutschera

Visual Designer at E*TRADE

“I learned the proper steps required to create an application from scratch. I never really considered the process to create and develop an application prior to attending.”

Read Tom’s Interview
Josh Magno

Josh Magno

UX/UI designer at Vitality

“I’m closer to being the person I was meant to be because of Designation.”

Read Josh’s Interview
Kate Doornbos

Kate Doornbos

Product Designer at Interior Define

“I gained an awesome UI/UX job, solid portfolio, invaluable career advice, connections to companies, and access to a huge network of friends and designers across the country. I learned. a. ton.”

Read Kate’s Interview

Frequently asked questions about UI

  • When does a designer select UX or UI as their area of focus?

    In Week 5 of Design Essentials. By that point, every designer is exposed to principles and practices of UX and UI, and has enough information about their skills and interest in both areas to choose one. Additionally, the mandatory one-on-one with the DE instructor helps provide external perspective on the decision.

  • Can a designer complete both the UX and UI tracks of the program?

    We allow designers to finish the Virtual Phase in one track and redo it in the other track before moving on to the Immersion Phase. But this repeat costs an additional $4,000 beyond our program fees, and the designer is moved to the subsequent cohort. These phases must be done back-to-back, and the switch from one track to the other is irreversible—if a designer starts in the UI track but switches to the UX track, for example, they’re required to complete the rest of the program in the UX track. This also means the full program takes 30 weeks to complete, not 24.

    The Immersion, Client, and Career Phases are not repeatable.

  • How do UX designers in the program gain UI skills, or vice versa, after Design Essentials?

    A surprising amount of knowledge about the other track is gained through the process of file handoff. This happens in the professional design world every day, as specialist designers in different areas work together on the same team, so it happens on every project at Designation. UX designers are taught how to hand off their deliverables—especially wireframes—to UI designers, who often pick up their work and continue it. In doing so, they learn how to prepare for the UI design stage. Similarly, when UI designers receive a handed-off wireframe from which to design, they learn a lot about the UX design process.

    In addition, designers from both tracks meet weekly for a peer feedback session where they provide objective, thoughtful critique of others’ work, regardless of their track. This activity helps them analyze design work at a deeper level and improve their own in various ways. Finally, graduates are given the opportunity to study the other track’s curriculum after they finish their own portfolios; this encourages them to more actively become a design generalist and be competitive for a wider range of careers.

Take the leap

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