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UX designers: don’t neglect visual design
I've been mentoring young designers on ADPlist and MentorCruise for some time now and I had amazing conversations with designers all over the globe. 
From these exchanges, I got the chance of understanding which are some of the most common struggles of junior and aspiring designers today. A common problem I’ve seen is the lack of care for visual design.

One thing I’ve been noticing in the industry is that the separation between UX designer and UI designer is almost dead, and soon that horrific name of “UX/UI designer” will follow the same fate, in favor of the more generalist and encompassing “product designer” (and no, I don’t think it’s just a matter of nomenclature).

The situation where the UX designer does the ugly wireframes and passes them to the UI or Visual designer that makes them pretty is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, many UX courses and bootcamps focus A LOT on all the classic UX things like personas, user journeys, heuristics, etc, and neglect the visual design part.

The consequence is that a lot of aspiring and young UX designers think that’s not part of their job, and I can see someone even thinking “I’d like a job in design, but I suck at visual. I might become a UX designer then!”. Well, no. Maybe you want to become a UX researcher, not a designer.

This lack of attention to visual design is wrong for several reasons. I give you three:

  1. UI is part of UX. It’s not a step that follows and neither a parallel track. UI is a subset of UX. UI design is an integral part of the User Experience Design process.

  2. It’s where the industry is going. A product designer is a generalist, it’s a T-shaped role, where you might specialize more in one part of the creation of a digital product, but you should be able to handle it all, end to end (not including coding, but understanding it).

  3. Aesthetic usability effect. According to this, users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as a design that’s more usable. I quote from the NNG article linked 2 lines above “users have a positive emotional response to your visual design, and that makes them more tolerant of minor usability issues on your site. In most cases, this is a positive thing from your perspective. This effect is a major reason why a good user experience can’t just be a functional UI — designing an interface that’s attractive as well as functional is worth the resources”.

Visual design is hard, there’s a lot to know and to master, but it’s often the fun part. A few resources to get you started:
Design Lead @ MetaLab (Articles are my own opinions). Author of the book http://designappsforkids.comhttp://rubens.design

This article first appeared here.

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