There's one thing I noticed browsing job boards and freelance websites is that UI design skills are much less in demand than coding skills.
Why do you think this is the case ?
Any pointers on how can I sell my UI skills ?
It's not hard to sell design.
We just need to understand and communicate the true purpose of design.
Design, in many people's eyes, is just how it looks. Of course, it's much more than that. Design is how it works, and more importantly, how it drives value to the businesses we work with.
In short: Design is a profit centre for business.
Okay, this sounds good, but what does "profit centre" mean?
Simple. Let me explain in detail:
Imagine a landing page with for a daily marketing newsletter. And let's assume this newsletter makes money from sponsored links in each of their daily newsletters. And let's say they make $1 per click on those links. In summary: The more people on their newsletter, the more people who click the sponsored links, the more money they make.
So, how can a designer be a "profit centre" in this situation?
If the design of the landing page is unclear, unprofessional, hard-to-read or not well considered on mobile, then we should assume that the conversion rates will be lower than they could be. Let's say the conversion rate is 1% at this stage.
As designers, we have an ideal opportunity to use our critical UI/UX knowledge to improve the clarity, legibility and responsiveness of this landing page. If we do this properly, we can estimate with a good degree of certainty that we should be able to improve the number of people signing-up to the newsletter. Perhaps our work will improve the conversion rate to 2%.
A jump from 1% to 2% is a 100% change. That's big, but not unrealistic.
So, over the next 12 months, this newsletter will grow at 2X speed because of the design work we did. This will then result in a 2X increase in clicks, and thus revenue for this business. (Oh and we haven't even started with improving the design of the newsletter itself)
So, because as a designer we took the time to understand and position ourselves as profit centres, we are now able to reasonably and confidently work with businesses to improve their KPIs and thus their bottom line.
This is a very simple example, but it's also quite a reasonable and common example. There are many other ways for a designer to add value and make money, but this is just one. You just have to remember your core value. It's not UI, it's not UX, it's profit; and UI and UX are just tools to enable that.
If you found this useful, you will like my Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ys
Have a great day.
Thanks for the elaborate answer. That sounds reassuring. I would like to focus on UI for websites and mobile apps; and the reason I raised concerns is because, custom design is a luxury for many clients, because a design phase add a significant cost to their project. That has lead to the proliferation of pre-designed templates for all kind products, platforms and stacks (wordpress, boostrap,material-ui, etc) and to be honest for many projects those templates are good enough. Going to check your twitter.
Templates are cool and all, and can help in some cases.
Which template is selected, how it's complied, and how it's tweaked still require the educated eye of a designer.
In fact, templates highlight the value of a designer even more. Because it's not just how it looks that matters, in fact, I don't care so much about how it looks. Rather, it's how we make it work for the unique problems the business faces. That's design.
Either way, if a businesses is being picky about investing money into their website, then:
Neither circumstance is really a business you want to work with, if you want to make a good living. There are many businesses out there that have the cash and the interest in investing in design.
Find a good niche and then build up form that. Grow your audience and make sure you don't compromise the quality of your work.
Thanks Brayden. That's some sound advice.
UI is not the same as UX. If you are a very good UI & UX designer, you should be able to get projects and get referral.