A career as an interaction designer is creative, analytical, and well paid. An interaction designer is in charge of designing the way customers interact with a service. The job outlook for this area of tech is extremely bright. Interaction designers typically earn high salaries and have excellent job opportunities.
Read this comprehensive review to find out more about potential career paths for interaction designers. We’ll look at the job description, as well as the job outlook, salary, necessary skills, and potential education pathways that lead to a career in interaction design.
What Is an Interaction Designer?
An interaction designer is a professional who designs positive and effective interactions between products and users. These products might include websites, applications, or systems. The main purpose of interaction designers is to help users achieve their objectives in the easiest way through responsive design.
To achieve this, they design user interface elements such as sound, motion, and space to facilitate ease of use. Often, interaction designers are mistaken for user experience (UX) designers. However, UX designers are concerned with influencing the user’s overall experiences when using a product, as opposed to altering their interactions with the product.
You will find that interaction designers rely on button labels and visual representations to communicate effectively with users. Interaction designers aim to affect the behavior of users by relying on their emotional responses.
Interaction Designer Job Description
The job duties of an interaction designer are defined by the company they work for and can be wide ranging. You may find an interaction designer performing the work of a user experience designer (UX designer), especially in small companies. They may also be tasked with conducting user research and user tests.
Interaction designers often assist with developing the product design strategy. They establish customer goals and ensure the product interactions achieve them. Companies also rely on them to work with the design team to develop the layout for their products.
Interaction Designer Salary and Job Outlook
Ziprecruiter states that an interaction designer’s salary averages $94,984 each year. If you want to increase your salary potential, you might want to consider the location you want to work in, your level of experience, and skills you can improve upon. The highest-paid interaction designer earns around $147,000 per year.
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Look for interaction designer job opportunities in big tech hubs like San Francisco or Santa Clara once you’ve mastered the basics. These top cities are paying interaction designers more than $110,000 a year.
The job outlook for this area of tech is good. Job demand is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2019 and 2029 for web developers and designers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which interaction designers would fall under.
Top Reasons to Become an Interaction Designer in 2021
A career in interaction design is very worthwhile and anyone can successfully pursue it if they put their mind to it. Below are some of the top reasons why professionals choose to become interaction designers in 2021.
- Job growth. BLS stipulates there will be a 13 percent job growth for web developers and digital designers between 2019 and 2029. This is much faster than average.
- High salary. ZipRecruiter reports that the median salary of an interaction designer is $96,984. If you decide to get certified, the amount you take home could rise substantially.
- No coding experience is needed. To land this job position, you do not need any programming skills. You can easily start your job without learning how to code. Instead, you will be concerned with overseeing interface design tools and techniques.
- Diverse opportunities. You might think interaction designers are only limited to the tech industry or ecommerce, but that’s not the case. Interaction designers can work in healthcare, government, game development, and more. There are a wide variety of companies that feature products that deal with human interaction.
Interaction Designer Job Requirements
Most hiring companies have a specific set of requirements for interaction design jobs. Here are some of the most common qualifications potential employers look for when hiring interaction designers.
- Bachelor’s degree. Hiring companies are keen on employing industry experts with a standard quality education from university degree programs. However, you can also choose alternative models of education to spruce up your skills.
- Two years of experience. Acquiring two years of experience in a relevant role will help you land any advertised job position easily.
- Proficiency in interaction design tools and technologies. You must have a broad range of skills and experience using Adobe Creative Suite and Axure.
- Experience in graphic design. The job role requires that you have some knowledge in texture sketching and visual presentations.
Types of Interaction Designer Careers
Once you learn the basics of interaction design, there are many potential career paths you can take. Below are descriptions of some of the top-paying interactive design careers.
Unlike an interaction or user experience designer, service designers are interested in every aspect of the client’s experience, especially when it comes to ensuring that the services of a company have had a positive impact on them. They will tackle digital platforms as well as physical infrastructure.
User Interaction Designer
Through in-depth research, user interaction designers are keen on ensuring that their data provides insights on how to improve user experiences. They focus on the emotional and physical interaction users have with products to increase user satisfaction. They are also highly involved in advancing the user interface.
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Senior Product Designer
Senior product designers oversee the development of products in their entirety. They often incorporate roles of a UX designer, interaction designer, and product manager. They are key in ensuring both the users’ and the client’s needs are met in the development of services and products.
Director UX Designer
The Director UX designer leads the entire UX design team. As a director, they are responsible for the vision of the department. It is important that they have excellent communication skills so everyone on the team is on the same page.
Interaction Designer Meaning: What Does an Interaction Designer Do?
An interaction designer has a multi-faceted role. Your day-to-day responsibilities will include a wide range of tasks, from creating wireframes to interacting with clients and testing products. Below are some of the key responsibilities of an interaction designer.
Interacts with Users
As the role is based on the user, you must constantly interact with them to get a deeper understanding of their experience with the product to ensure meaningful interactions. To be successful at this job, you’ll need to be able to build positive relationships with users.
Consults with Colleagues
Wireframes are visual guides to show what a product’s interfaces and interactions might look like. You’ll create wireframes to develop product interactions and facilitate the design process of the final product.
It is important to test products before and after releasing them onto the market. Testing and iteration are a big part of the role as clients are looking to constantly monitor and update how customers are interacting with their products and services.
Essential Interaction Designer Skills
To be a successful interaction designer, there are a few essential practical and soft skills you need to develop. Below are the most sought-after skills in interactive design.
Research and Analytical Skills
Understanding the user is an important aspect of interaction design. You’ll need to conduct research to understand how the user feels, thinks, and behaves to cater to their needs. Your ability to retrieve and interpret relevant information will determine how successful you are in the role.
Wireframing and Prototyping Skills
The role also relies on your skills in developing sophisticated prototypes that mimic the actual product. It’s important to master wireframing, as it helps the design team play around with different concepts. Through different methods of prototyping, you can test the interaction between users with products and make improvements as needed.
You must be able to quickly understand how a business works to more effectively help them cater to the needs of their users or clients. Having a good business sense or some experience and education in the business field is important in this role.
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How Long Does It Take to Become an Interaction Designer?
Typically, if you pursue a bachelor’s degree it takes four years to enter the field of interaction design. However, it’s not a requirement to gain a four-year college degree. There are other options that can help you break into this field in a much shorter period.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become an Interaction Designer?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become an interaction designer. Many coding bootcamps feature courses that teach students about user experience design. This can be a great starting point for a beginner as they focus on giving you the practical skills needed for specific job fields.
Coding bootcamps often partner with top-tier tech companies and host industry events for professionals to network with new talent. This often gives coding bootcamp students opportunities to network with hiring companies.
Coding bootcamp alumni highly recommend bootcamp programs due to their flexibility and affordability. Their programs take much less time to complete compared to a university degree. You can start looking for roles in interaction design in a matter of weeks.
Can I Become an Interaction Designer from Home?
Yes, you can become an experienced interaction designer from home. Most education providers are offering online courses these days, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These training courses feature the same high-quality education standards as on-campus programs, but with more flexibility.
How to Become an Interaction Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide
This step-by-step guide will help you launch your career successfully in interaction design.
Step 1: Complete a degree or bootcamp
First, you should complete the educational pathway of your choice. Employers often prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. However, nowadays it isn’t always necessary. Regardless of whether or not you earn a degree, a bootcamp in a relevant topic is a great way to develop job-specific skills and give yourself a competitive edge.
Step 2: Practice
The more you practice your design skills, the better you will become. Practicing with supplemented reading materials and resources online will help you stay on top of your game at all times.
Step 3: Apply for an entry-level job
Once you feel confident about your skills and knowledge in interaction design, look for work experience or entry-level jobs to start building up your experience.
Best Schools and Education for an Interaction Designer Career
Below we’ve listed a few educational pathways that will allow you to become an interaction designer. These possibilities all offer quality education but vary in their affordability, time requirements, and flexibility.
Interaction Designer Bootcamps
There aren’t many bootcamps specifically in interaction design. However, you can attend a UX design bootcamp, which will teach similar, transferable skills. These bootcamp programs will take you from basic to advanced levels in UX design in a matter of weeks to help jumpstart your career.
There are vocational schools, or trade schools, that offer students specialized training on interaction design. These training programs are essential for helping students acquire all the technical skills they need to start a career in interaction design.
Community colleges offer shorter degree programs than four-year university degrees, and are more affordable. In only two years, you can learn all the skills necessary to start looking for jobs. You can also choose to go on to complete a bachelor’s degree if you choose to.
Interaction Designer Degrees
Another great option is gaining a university degree. A four-year degree design program will cover all the basics and advanced skills needed for a job in interaction design. They may take longer and cost more, but hiring managers can prefer candidates with four-year degrees.
The Most Important Interaction Designer Certificates
Certification programs help professionals in the field validate their skill set. There aren’t any professional certifications in interaction design. However, the certificates below will show you have undertaken additional training to help you succeed in the role.
This is a great course for you to master usability, search engine optimization, and visual design. The instructor will also take you through agile processes and user-centric design. Once you master these processes, you will be able to demonstrate a good understanding of basic usability concepts.
The instructor in this course will take you through tools, techniques, and processes to build a solid foundation in interaction design, taking into account a psychological perspective. You will master how people think and feel when using certain high-tech products, as well as learn how they behave.
How to Prepare for Your Interaction Designer Job Interview
To succeed in an interaction designer job interview, you must be well prepared. Recruiting teams are looking to employ self-motivated, creative, and committed professionals to handle the interaction of their digital products. We’ve rounded up a few possible interview questions to guide you.
Interaction Designer Job Interview Practice Questions
- What do you want to be an interaction designer?
- What is the most significant interaction design solution you’ve worked on?
- What are the main prototyping tools you use?
- How do you handle conflict among colleagues?
- Have you had a project that didn’t do as well as you expected?
Should I Become an Interaction Designer in 2021?
Yes, you should become an interaction designer in 2021. The career has a promising future and can lead to a range of perks. If you are creative and think you will be good at developing technology design solutions for a company, this would be a great career path for you.
Interaction Designer FAQ
Can You Become an Interaction Designer Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become an interaction designer without a degree. Instead of gaining a four-year college degree, you can opt to attend more affordable alternatives like bootcamp programs or vocational schools.
Is It Hard to Become an Interaction Designer?
No, it’s not hard to become an interaction designer. You can easily start your career by signing up for an online course or a bootcamp program. Once you complete the course, apply for entry-level positions to gain experience in the broad field of design.
How Do You Practice Interaction Design?
You can practice interaction design by taking online courses and projects. In these courses, you’ll practice how to establish the needs of the user, come up with design alternatives, design an interactive prototype, and evaluate success.
Are Interaction Designers in Demand?
Yes, interaction designers are in demand. According to BLS, the field of web development and digital design is set to grow by 13 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than average.
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