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Keen to explore the world of UX/UI Design and curious about what you can earn in the field? Read our market update for the ins and outs on salaries and job prospects in Australia.
User Experience, shortened to UX, is all about creating the best possible overall experience of a product or service for the user. A UX designer will ‘get under the hood’ to truly understand the needs of the target audience by conducting research and making these findings central to the creation of the overall experience. The user’s needs will underpin every action a UX designer takes.
User Interface, shortened to UI, is focused on the visual aspects of a product or service found on device screens. The designer’s aim is to create aesthetically satisfying interfaces that successfully consider and address the needs of users.
Both UX and UI are crucial to each other, with neither out trumping the other in terms of importance to overall user experience. If an amazing user experience is devised, but the interface design makes it confusing to navigate, then the entire project suffers as a result, as does the user’s experience of the product or service. Same thing is true in reverse.
The future of UX and UI design in Australia will continue to thrive as more businesses look to further their digital transformation with tailor made applications and software that meet their unique requirements. The shift to increased ecommerce and remote working during Covid made companies realise the importance of an online presence to remain relevant and competitive, with the demand for skilled professionals still outrunning the supply.
Many of these new instances of digital development will require UX and UI designers, further increasing the demand.
It is not uncommon to see UX and UI positions advertised as one position combined, despite the two being different specialisms. This is often due to those in hiring positions thinking both are done by the same individual, but it can also be a case of organisations wanting to recruit someone who is trained across both areas. You can, of course, train across UX and UI if that appeals and it could put you in a stronger position when seeking employment.
Let’s break down the roles within UX and UI that are often advertised in Australia to gain further clarity around each, in addition to expected salaries for 2023.
Every interaction that a customer or client has with an organisation, from their first contact (could be via a website, or speaking to someone in customer service) right through to transactions and follow up support, is part of the user experience. UX Designers are responsible for developing the best experience possible for a customer, ensuring that every point in the journey is easy to navigate and enjoyable to engage with.
Successful UX Designers will need a combination of soft and hard skills, as outlined below. Transferable skills such as customer service, project management, research and general business skills are also fantastic to have in your toolkit.
According to the Hays 2023/24 salary guide the roles of both UX and UI designers are combined, with UX/UI Designers in Australia earning from $82,000 to $180,000, depending on their location, skill set and level of experience. As typical in many industries, the most densely populated cities, Sydney and Melbourne, have the highest average salary bracket for UX Designers.
Factors such as the location of the role, which industry a UX job is in, existing budgets and the strength of your portfolio are all influences on salaries.
A highly creative role, UI Designers create interfaces, or the screens, used by clients and customers, with the goal of designing them to increase engagement and make them as visually appealing, useful and easy to navigate as possible. The screen designs include all of the visual elements and interactive aspects that enable users to engage with them and will incorporate things such as typography, colour, spacing and images to guide the user.
These interfaces could be for mobile, desktop, or any other device the user may access the product or service. This could include touch point screens within health, travel or any other service centre.
Working closely with UX designers, a UI designer needs to strike the balance between ensuring what they create is aesthetically attractive, simple to navigate and meeting the specific needs of the user for their interaction with the interface, resulting in them accessing or achieving what they need to.
According to Seek, the average annual salary for User Interface Designer jobs in Australia ranges from $95,000 to $115,000.
Whichever product or service is being developed, it is essential to know who the key audience is – what their pain points are, what they need and want and how what is being offered to them will help them get it. With this in mind, the role of the UX Researcher is ultimately being an advocate for the user, giving them a strong voice throughout the development process of a product or service.
The researcher gets into the nitty gritty of data collection and analysis, to establish what information is vital in informing the design process to ensure the users needs are at the centre of all decision making.
Glassdoor’s latest insights reveal that the average Australian UX Researcher salary hovers at around $100,000, with salary details from Indeed pointing to similar.
Any text that features on a digital interface is UX writing. This could include written content on website pages and mobile apps, or what is known as microcopy – text in drop down menus, on buttons or pop up error messages. The UX writer is often given the responsibility of being across all related product and service messaging and the development of the brand or product voice and content style guide can also fall within their remit.
The difference between regular copy or content writing and UX writing is that UX writing has the specific aim of guiding the user on their journey through the website or app in a clear and intuitive manner and be part of the overall experience design to improve the life of the user.
UX Writer salary 2023
While the specific title of ‘UX writer’ isn’t used much at the moment, UX writing skills are often expected of those in digital content writing positions. According to the Hays 2023/24 salary guide, digital content writer salaries in Australia range from $80,000 to $120,000. Be mindful that having specific UX writing training could put you in a stronger position professionally when applying for digital content writing roles, particularly for those looking to work within UX UI Design teams.
The job titles of Product Designer and UX Designer are sometimes used interchangeably, which can be confusing. In general, a product designer is part of the full process of the product design and the UX designer is more focused on the user experience aspects of the product, or service. The definition of these job roles and position expectations will differ depending on the organisation. Product designers will usually be expected to be across business related processes and project management.
Product designer income insights from Morgan McKinley show salaries coming in at $95,000 per annum on the lower end of the scale, $130,000 at midpoint and $170,000 on the higher earning end in 2023.
If you’re keen to freelance in UX and/or UI, it’s wise to start out with some in house gigs first to build your experience and therefore portfolio, and your contact base. All of these elements will strengthen your earning capacity as a freelancer.
Your rates could vary greatly depending on your experience and skills, but day rates could range from $400-$1000. Don’t forget as a freelancer, you need to factor in your own superannuation, leave and taxes. A freelancer rate calculator can be a handy tool, as can looking at what your peers and colleagues are charging in the same field.
With training offered full-time, part-time or self-paced, all online, you’ll be able to gain the necessary skills and experience to go from beginner to professional UX UI Designer without putting the rest of your life on hold.
The UX UI Design: Transform offers you the chance to change careers. You’ll be supported every step of way with:
The UX UI Design: Elevate enables you to upskill and secure a promotion or take on more exciting responsibilities in your role, with:
Wanting a high-level overview of all things UX and UI? User Experience Design: Foundations and User Interface Design: Foundations are both six month self paced courses that will introduce you to the key concepts and tools that underpin the UX and UI processes.
If you’d like to discuss your transferable skills and course options, speak to a course advisor today and take the first step in your UX/UI journey.