A glimpse into what life looks like as a UX/UI designer.
From wireframes and user testing to hi-fi prototyping, UX design encompasses a large part of the product design process. Thanks to its user-centric approach, average salary, and powerful future, user interface design is often considered a "dream job".
But what does the typical daily schedule look like for UX designers? Do the core design tasks take up the majority of the workday, or is this a job where meetings and team collaborations fill a large percentage of your workload?
Of course, the role of a UX designer can change drastically depending on your team and company setup. So we decided to create a new mini-series of blog posts that shadow real UX professionals, to find out what a typical day might look like for user experience designers.
Which brings us to our very first designer:
Meet Kris Binski: Senior Digital Product Designer
Kris is a Senior Digital Product Designer and UX mentor who’s passionate about creating simple yet powerful user-centered interfaces for digital products.
For more than 13 years, he's had a chance to work with creative agencies, startups, entrepreneurs, and well-established enterprise companies such as Adobe, Colgate, Dermalogica, Johnson & Johnson, and others. When he's not designing, he enjoys traveling the world with his wife, exploring nature, and taking photos with his camera and drone.
We were extremely fortunate to catch up with Kris and hear about what his daily workflow looks like.
What it’s like to be a UX/UI designer
Kris shared some general insights into the overall highs and lows of life as a UX/UI designer.
“I have enjoyed working as a UI/UX designer for the past decade,” Kris says, “while collaborating with over 1000 clients from different parts of the world. Probably the most exciting thing about working as a UX designer is that you get a chance to be creative and build a product that might solve people's problems and satisfy their needs!
"On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to get too excited and never say no to opportunities. I find it very hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Usually, when you start to feel the consequences and realize you need a break or a change, the burnout is already there, and it takes more time to get back on track.”
UX/UI Design Projects and Home Office Setup
“I work remotely from my home office in Dubai. From day 1, I've been working as an independent 'freelance' designer, and I would never change that. Usually, I work full-time on mid-size projects that last a couple of months. My task and main objective is almost always to improve an existing or build an entirely new mobile or website app.
I've been working individually for my entire career; however, I consult about many things and work closely with my wife, who is a brand design specialist. But things will change soon as we are working on our portfolio website, and we will be launching "uniko" - our design studio. We’ll partner with other designers and developers to offer complete service to our clients.
The most recent project I was working on was for an individual client based in Luxembourg. He is an entrepreneur working on a subscription-based mobile app offering fitness and wellness video content. It is a brand new app, and the client needed a professional design to present it to potential investors and secure funding for the next round.”
Typical Daily Schedule of a UX/UI Designer
Every UX/UI design job looks a little different. Some roles will have to balance multiple projects with various deadlines, and teams of multiple designers working together. Others might be more focused around user research findings and fitting the data into the current project. For Kris, the focus of a daily schedule is less about the kind of work you're doing, and more about making sure that it's contributing to a healthy work-life balance.
One of the benefits to working as a designer in a remote office setting like Kris is that you can choose how to spend the time that would otherwise be eaten up by commuting to a physical office. For Kris, the first thing of importance in the morning schedule is time spent with his wife.
"I like to start my day by drinking coffee with my wife, partner in business, and life as well," Kris acknowledges. "It has proven to be the best way for me to wake up, as well as organize our day by reviewing the to-do list we have previously planned for the entire week."
Kris balances work and overall wellbeing by intentionally scheduling in time away from the desk and computer screens. "I try to take short (2-3min) but frequent breaks to stretch, walk and stand up during the entire day. I also try to finish my work no later than 6 PM-7 PM, and then I either go for a walk or hit the gym for an hour."
In his free time Kris enjoys pursuing photography.
The Challenges of Working as a UX/UI Designer
From juggling various project deadlines to making tough decision decisions, UX professionals have a consistent barrage of challenges to work through.
But for Kris, "The biggest challenge of being a UX designer is that you have to constantly keep up with the trends and changes in technology, like new device screens, resolutions, browser sizes, development techniques, software updates, tools, etc. Days are almost always too short, and I wish we could extend them somehow to more than 24hrs."
Peecko Mobile App Design
The Qualities Needed to be a UX/UI Designer
Intensive training and UX design bootcamps can help you gain technical knowledge about the different tools and visual design skills required within UX design. But to truly enjoy life as a UX / UI designer, you have to connect with the work on a deeper level.
"The same rule applies no matter the job industry; the formula for success is 1% talent and 99% hard work. I'd say you need to be passionate about it, you need to love creative and visual stuff, but most importantly you need to be dedicated, believe in your goals, and work hard on achieving them.
No matter how hard or impossible it seems, just keep working on achieving your goals, believe in yourself, and never give up!"
If you’re ready to take the plunge and become a UX/UI designer, you can get started with UX Academy Foundations.