Usability design

Usability design is an area of graphic design that is concerned with how it actually feels to use websites and applications. It looks at performance, not appearance.

Work activities

Usability design refers to user experience (UX) design and user interface (UI) design. These two elements are sometimes combined or even confused, but they do refer to different roles.

As an UX designer you would think about the whole relationship between the user and the company. You would talk to users, find out about their lifestyles and watch them using test versions of the software. You would use this information to build diagrams of the user interface, known as wireframes.

As an UI designer, you would take the wireframes prepared by the UX designer and think in detail about the layout of each screen. You would also consider broader principles of interface design, such as the need for consistency and clarity.

Both areas require some technical skills, but the real focus is on how humans relate to technology and how their experience of using it can be improved.

Entry requirements

Employers will usually expect you to have a degree in graphic design or a similar art subject. They will also want to see that you have worked on the design of a variety of websites or apps and have a good portfolio of work.

They will expect you to be practised in using relevant software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks.

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