Everything You Need To Get Started in User Experience Design

Websites that exist today are not just about showcasing the products and services, but over the period of the last few years, they have evolved to become a medium of business growth for their owners. With all this complexity involved in how websites look and function today, the popularity of user experience (UX) has also grown significantly.

UX design, however, is not just limited to websites, despite the major impact that the latter has on it. In fact, UX design also applies to tangible products and software, and UX designers play a major role in designing such products.

We’re sure you must have seen a job posting regarding the requirement of on a UX designer. But, what exactly is a UX designer and what do they do? Before answering that, it is important to know what a UX design practically is.

UX Design: An Introduction

UX design is all about simplicity – how simple, convenient and enjoyable the navigation experience is for a visitor, user or a consumer. It’s the art of making things easy, so that they can be enjoyed on the go. Moreover, it is a “silent” art – while the user gets to reap the benefit of a great UX design, he or she does not get to see the exact effort that goes into creating a user-friendly product that offers a great design.

Confusing navigation, poorly designed forms and information overload on a specific page of a website are example of a poor UX design. The role of the UX designer here is to create a final intuitive product that is enjoyable from a customer’s perspective, while retaining all the major functionalities within the budget specified by the client.

Who Is A Good UX Designer?

A typical UX designer must have an eye for functionality and the ability to see what would please the eyes of the visitor or a perspective customer. Some industry experts believe a UX designer to be a mix of a writer, scientist, software engineer and an artist.

However, the fact is that a UX designer’s job primarily involves listening to the needs of the client. It’s about listening and observing, before making good design decisions.

But, merely stating that you have great listening skills won’t fetch you a job of a UX designer. You must, in addition, have a set of technical qualifications for the job.

For example, the candidate should have fair knowledge of JavaScript, visual design, Adobe photoshop, user interface design and prototyping. In addition, a majority of jobs demand HTML5, usability testing, information architecture, conceptual development and Website design skills as their basic requirement for the job.

UX Designer: The Career Path

The job of a UX designer was once not so popular. However, today, it has emerged as a formal career field.

According to the experts in this field, naturally having the enthusiasm to figure out why one design works better than the other acts as a natural catalyst while working on the projects. More importantly, it is necessary for the UX designers to see how customers are interacting with their product. This not only helps generate an interest in the field, but also helps UX designers grow themselves in their career.

7 Easy Tips For Designing Effective Animated GIFs For Your Website

Animated GIFs are pure marketing goldmines. You have the visual dynamics of a video on your site that is a fraction of the size an actual video or animation would have been. But, you probably already know how great animated GIFs are and that’s why you’re here in the first place. Well then, here are seven great tips you should keep in mind when you design animated GIFs for your site:

Tip 1: Start out your animated GIFs as videos
To make your life a whole lot easier, when you’re creating an animated GIF, first create it as a video. (Practically any video editing and publishing software will do here.) And then, once your video is complete and ready, import it into Photoshop via the command File -> Import -> Video -> Frames As Layers.

Tip 2: Cut down on the colors in your animated GIF
Remember that, with an animated GIF, you don’t really need to have a lot of intricate colors to make your point. In fact, limit the colors you use in an animated GIF. It will not only greatly help you in reducing the file size of the animated GIF, but it will also give you the consequent benefit of adding more actual content in your GIF without creating a monster of a file that doesn’t load on your site quickly enough.

Tip 3: Motion blur adds more pizazz to your animated GIF
If there’s going to be quick movements in your animated GIF, use motion blur whenever possible. For this has two uses: One, it actually makes the object look like its moving faster than it actually is and thus looks very professional. And two, it can help you cover up dropped frames and make the animation look really smooth.

Tip 4: Simple animated GIFs are the best
One key factor of the animated GIFs is that they run on a short duration of time. Plus, they often move fast and are on a constant loop. Hence, don’t go overboard with what you put into the GIF. You don’t need a thousand elements going into your 5-second GIF; a few that makes your point will do. Minimalistic is the mode to go when you’re designing animated GIFs.

Tip 5: Drop frames – especially duplicate frames
Where possible, reduce your file size. And one way to do that is to simply lower your frame rate and delete as many frames in the animation as you can.

Tip 6: Cut down on the colors when saving the final file
Yes, you’ve already used a limited number of colors on your GIF. Great. Now cut them down further in your “Colors” setting when you save the final file in Photoshop. Just make sure the GIF looks good enough with the minimum colors posible, and you’re good to go.

Tip 7: Keep your “Lossy” between 1 and 10
When you’re saving the final GIF in Photoshop, pick a value between 1 and 10 in the “Lossy” setting in Photoshop. It’ll further lower your file-size without ruining your GIF. Optimally, try to keep your animated GIFs within the file-size of 1MB.