All Post

The UI Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide in Creating Unique UI Design

8 min read
July 14, 2023
The UI Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide in Creating Unique UI Design


The UI Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide in Creating Unique UI Design

UI Designers are great at designing UI, but when it comes to branding it's not really their forte. That is why most user interfaces have started to look the same across so many different brands.

In this article, you will learn how to form a clear strategy and process for the visual direction for your UI.

The UI design process

The lack of structure in UI design poses a major challenge, leading to poor planning and confusing outputs. To address this, understanding the UI design process is essential. It involves seven key steps that UI designers can adapt to create their own UI design strategy:

UI Design Process
  1. Setting design goals
  2. Conducting user research
  3. Creating a wireframe
  4. Developing the visual design
  5. Prototyping
  6. Handing over to developers
  7. Gathering user feedback

UI designers often encounter challenges when crafting the visual design, as they must merge the insights gained from the first three steps into a cohesive concept. These roadblocks may arise due to insufficient data on user needs, inadequate processing of design goals, or a struggle to find inspiration.

The solution to this problem is not rocket science; designers usually need to strengthen their UI design strategy to help create new designs. But how do you do that? There are four easy yet crucial steps to solidifying a UI design process:

  1. Defining the Target Audience
  2. Finding UI Design Inspiration
  3. Applying UI Design Inspiration to Enhance Your Designs
  4. Presenting your designs

Let's go in-depth with each step.

Defining the Target Audience

Defining the Target Audience

When receiving a wireframe from your client or product manager, two main objectives stand out:

  • Identifying the target audience
  • Understanding how they should feel.

As a UI designer, recognizing your target audience enables you to create designs tailored to their needs, demographics, and behavior. This initial understanding streamlines the process of meeting your clients' or team's requirements while determining the essential elements for your design.

From a marketing perspective, designing with the target audience in mind can enhance brand awareness. When accurately pinpointing your target audience, you can effectively execute your client's or company's branding strategies. By aligning your design with the characteristics and preferences of the target audience, you meet your client's needs and create designs that resonate and engage with the intended users.

Types of Target Audiences

Target Audience

Understanding your audience goes beyond simple demographic labels like "women aged 18 to 25" or "tech specialists." It involves delving deeper into their characteristics and preferences - your audience's psychographics.

In Designership's Practical User Research & Strategy course, we emphasize the importance of identifying psychographic themes related to your target audience. This entails exploring their purchasing behavior, brand associations, life values, lifestyle, etc.

Target Audience - Psychographic Theme

For example, you're designing an iOS food application targeting corporate professionals seeking a premium experience. And after conducting your user research, you identified that this audience is those with a higher pay grade and a higher-end lifestyle. Having this information allows you to make a more informed design decision where you're able to consider factors such as which features to prioritize, which visual elements to incorporate, and the like.

Understanding your audience's specific characteristics provides valuable insights and serves as a solid foundation for drawing inspiration and starting your design project.

Keep in mind that your target audience may differ depending on your project. With thorough research, you can identify your users' demographic and behavioral characteristics, allowing you to make informed design decisions.

Desired Emotional Experience

Target Audience - Desired Experience

It is crucial to identify your target audience and determine the desired experience you want them to have when interacting with your designed interface. Your client or stakeholders typically provide this information, but if not, effective communication becomes essential to understand their expectations better. After all, the design you create is ultimately for them.

Target Audience - Desired Experience

Using the same target audience sample we discussed earlier, let's say your client specifies that the desired emotional experience for your target audience is to feel exclusive and sleek when interacting with your design. Having this valuable information at hand significantly facilitates finding UI design inspiration.

Understanding the specific emotions and experiences you want to evoke allows you to narrow your search for design inspiration to align with the desired aesthetic and mood. Defining the desired emotional experience can significantly enhance your ability to seek relevant design inspirations when designing for a specific target audience. Focusing on the user's emotional journey can lead to more impactful and meaningful design solutions.

Where to Find Best UI Design Inspirations

Best UI Design Inspirations

Understanding your users' desired emotional experience is crucial in guiding you toward a specific aesthetic. However, creative blocks can sometimes hinder your progress. To overcome this, many UI designers turn to platforms like Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance, Mobbin, Collect UI, and more, which offer much inspiration from other people's work.

Pinterest Design Ideas

Pinterest, in particular, provides a diverse range of visual design ideas, including color schemes, themes, font styles, and textures. By using keywords that align with your identified target audience, in this case, "premium," "exclusive," and "sleek," you can explore various pins to discover the right aesthetic. Searching for interior designs can offer valuable insights into how businesses and others interpret the emotional experience you aim to evoke.

Dribbble UI Design Inspiration

Once you have gathered enough information about the desired aesthetic, delving into specific UI design inspiration websites like Dribbble allows you to find designs that resonate with your keywords. These platforms serve as valuable sources of references and UI design ideas to enhance your designs.

Moreover, by focusing on designs that align with your identified target audience and desired emotional experience, you ensure that the design inspiration you seek resonates with your brand values and supports your design goals.

Applying UI Design Inspiration to Enhance Your Designs

Applying UI Design Inspiration

Applying UI design inspiration is vital in enhancing your designs, but it's crucial to strike a balance between referencing and copying. While gathering inspiration from other designs, avoid replicating every element identically. Instead, aim to create a unique design by combining various influences and incorporating your creative ideas. Remember that referencing from these sources means crafting an original design that sets you apart.

Leveraging the insights gained from your target audience data and combining them with your design inspiration resources lets you develop a more focused and strategic approach. This allows you to tailor your design to your intended users' specific needs, preferences, and emotions, resulting in a more impactful and engaging UI design.

Additionally, multiple sources of design inspiration allow you to carefully select elements that align best with your design goals, such as color schemes, font styles, and image themes. This selection process enables you to incorporate the most relevant design elements into your design, resulting in a distinct and personalized UI design that resonates with your audience.

UI Design Mockup Presentation

UI Design Mockup Presentation

Creating stunning graphics is an essential aspect of effectively showcasing your designs. While it's crucial to identify your target audience and find design inspiration, it is equally important to present your design in an engaging and visually appealing manner.

Many designers make the mistake of simply pasting their design on a plain background and presenting it as is. However, this approach often leads to poor feedback or, even worse, your hard work going unnoticed. To avoid this, it is vital to consider how you want to represent your design before presenting it.

To create an impactful social media graphic, incorporate relevant elements that highlight the key features of your design. This could include using captivating imagery, incorporating typography that aligns with your design's aesthetic, and utilizing color schemes that evoke the desired emotions. By carefully crafting a graphic that complements your design, you can capture your audience's attention and effectively communicate the value of your work.

Strengthen Your Design Strategy to Stay Ahead of the Curve

In conclusion, strengthening your design strategy is crucial for success in the ever-evolving design field. A vital component of this strategy is understanding the core of your design: your users. You gain valuable insights that inform a more focused design by identifying your target audience and comprehending how you want them to feel.

This understanding serves as a compass, guiding you towards generating UI design ideas and seeking design inspirations tailored to your audience's needs, resulting in a unique and engaging design for each project.

Adopting a well-structured design strategy will ensure client and user satisfaction and help you stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing industry. As you take on each project, aim to create designs that captivate and resonate with your target audience and reflect a unique style and vision.

Struggling with Figma? Join 6,000+ designers and accelerate your career with our Figma Course.

Most UI designers struggle to advance in their careers because they:

  • Lack a structured process.
  • Struggle to keep up with the demands of a fast-paced working environment.
  • Lack specific technical knowledge that's relevant to UI design.
  • Unaware of how to hand UI designs over to developers effectively.
  • and all the other things that come with being a UI designer.

That is why we have launched the Ultimate Figma & UI Design Masterclass. Our end-to-end 10 hour Figma course that has helped over 6,000 designers from all around the world land a UX design job, double their UX salary and even seal a $10,000 freelance job. The course has helped our students in:

  • Building confidence in a real-world, end-to-end UI design process by providing structured, organized, and practical techniques and templates.
  • Mastering Autolayout, allowing them to create Responsive Designs with Smart Autolayout Tricks instantly
  • Utilizing Figma's advanced features, including interactive components, complex prototypes & animations, design systems, and more
  • Applying critical principles in UI design in real-life situations, enabling designers to create visually stunning and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Implementing design models and frameworks, including Atomic Design Framework, BEM model, CSS3 Techniques such as Flexbox, Box Model, and more, significantly boosting their confidence in theoretical and technical UI design knowledge.
  • Professionally present and collaborate with developers, ensuring a smooth handover.

The best part is that this end-to-end masterclass emphasizes practical, hands-on learning as taught by industry expert Michael Wong. This course also allows designers to enhance their skills and apply newly acquired knowledge in real-life scenarios. Taught in a compelling step-by-step method, this course's engaging content is sure to captivate every eager student's attention.

Don't take our word for it, our students have enough to say.

UX Designer, Educator, Investor & Advisor
Hello, I'm Michael Wong or better known as Mizko. I went from designer → agency owner → now founder and educator at Designership. I teach the skills and tricks that helped me build a multi-million dollar design agency, serving 50+ companies and impacting millions worldwide!
Michael W.

Related blogs

Stay updated on industry news and opinions from Designership. Check out our latest blog posts.
No items found.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.