UX & UI Designers. Same but diffrent?
In this article, I’ll describe the differences between UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) designers by answering the most popular questions that come up about those professions.
How not to get confused about what scope of work is assigned to each of the UX areas? What is the difference between a UX designer and a UI designer? Which of them should you choose? Hopefully, answering those questions will help you decide which of the two fits your skills best.
I will try to summarize the main points of the UX/UI discussion in the simplest way, according to both my own experience and the experts I respect.
Basically, UX is how the car rides and UI is how it looks.
Differences between UX and UI design
UX designer (User experience designer)
UI designer (User interface designer)
Responsible for designing how users behave using a product, understanding the users, ensuring the features work, and improving the users’ overall experience.
Responsible for expanding on the UX designer’s work by creating its visual representation, adjusting the look of the website to a brand’s style, and focusing attention on interaction with contrast spacing and placement of components.
Motion graphic designer
Front end programmer
Further specializations (obligatory roles)
UX/UI Designer (generalist)
UX/UI Designer (generalist)
Web & UI designer
Motion graphic and animation designer
Illustration and graphic designer
Typography and publication designer
Responsibilities and processes
- Conducting user interviews to identify their requirements
- Create personas of a typical user to identify their goals
- Competition and market data
- Journey maps – how people use this product
Brainstorming and designing
- Analyzing and creating information architecture
- Communicating design ideas to developers
- Developing user flows – diagrams of experiencing a product step by step
- Developing wireframes – a rough skeleton representing UI and components
- Analyze usability problems by observing real users using the product
- Split testing the effectiveness between design iterations
- Analytics reporting with additional insights such as time spent on pages, click-through rate, etc.
- Analyzing brand style
- Designing and researching mood boards
- Designing prototypes – Fulfills UX wireframes with graphic content, low and high-quality interactive prototypes
- Creating a UI kit with a visual hierarchy
- Communicating with front-end and back-end developers
- Solving visual problems on websites
- Optimizing and preparing graphics to match development and performance requirements
- Iterating to improve users’ visual attention on the website
Overall way of work
Big picture of the problem
Works with people
Focuses on listening, data, and analysis
Polishing and finalizing touches
Works mostly on their own
Focuses on visual representations and details
So, why so much confusion?
Surely, you’ve come across the term UX & UI designer in many job offers. This term usually refers to UX, UI generalist that combines both UI and UX skills. This term brings a lot of confusion because, on the one hand, UX & UI are separate fields, on the other, they overlap to some extent. To make matters worse, UX designers often come from UI designers and vice versa, which does not make it any easier to distinguish one from the other.
The best UI design with a bad UX design is still a bad design.
Which career path is better?
Most freelancers’ work is a one-man show that combines both UX and UI designers’ roles. On top of that, market demand is not set in any direction. Due to the slowdown of the global market, companies are increasingly looking for individuals with a broader skill set, eliminating the risk associated with the employment budget. However, hiring generalists involves a greater risk of them making mistakes than in the case of individual specialists. Thus, the choice of development should be motivated by your personal skills, because, ultimately, they are the deciding factor in whether a particular company will be interested in your employment.
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