user experience job titles

Let us try to be clear about “UX” in job titles

First, a word of caution: UX is everything but a Job Title. User Experience is a very broad term and a vast discipline made up of several different areas of expertise. As for job titles: It is all about naming and for some it might be relevant, as it give an abstract of your skills, deliverables and yourself.

With the sheer number of confusing UX Job titles and as UX roles sometimes overlaps, I will try to clarify what are the nuances between responsibilities and tasks for the most common UX roles in the industry today for now.

UX Strategist

aka UX Architect, Director of UX, UX Manager, UX Product Manager,

What they do:
A UX strategist advises and oversees a project’s execution. They work closely with other UX specialists throughout the process and provides human-centred design thinking.

She or he partners with product owners to help the company take the right decision .

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.

— Michael E. Porter

A strategist has to understand visual design, business, and technology to do their job skilfully.

UX Researcher

aka Usability Researcher, Design Researcher, User Researcher or Analyst

As the name suggests UX researchers conduct a variety of qualitative and quantitative research activities such as interviews, usability studies, ethnographic studies and A/B tests, contextual inquiries, diary studies, personas, card sorting.

When UX doesn’t consider ALL users, shouldn’t it be known as “SOME User Experience” or… SUX?

— Billy Gregory, Senior Accessibility Engineer

UX researchers employs a variety of techniques, tools, and methodologies to reach conclusions, determine facts, and uncover problems.

Their role is to build up a picture of the targeted users based on their needs, wants, motivations, and pain-points which can be fed into the design process.

UX Designer

aka UX architect

user experience design is the most accustomed term in the UX field, it is not immediately clear what they actually do day to day.

UX designers are primarily concerned with how the product feels They are conceptualising and architecting the products specifications iterating low/mid/hi fidelity wireframes, interactive prototypes and mockups.

Our opportunity, as designers, is to learn how to handle the complexity, rather than shy away from it, and to realise that the big art of design is to make complicated things simple.

— Tim Parsey

UX Designers are crafting the blueprint of a product with a strong focus on optimal usability and intuitive user-centric mindset. They refine and iterate to create the “best” user experience

Visual Designer

aka graphic designer, brand designer, web designer, visual communications, digital designer

Visual design was born out of a mixture of graphic design and user interface (UI) design. They create and iterate on assets that reflect a brand, enforce a language, improve the user experience and the aesthetic appeal.

It’s not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and yes, beauty to people’s lives.

— Don Norman

Visual design aims to shape the user experience in order to elicit user responses and behaviours that suit the use and purpose of the product through considering the outcome of typography, color, space and layouts.

They Produce high-quality visual designs–from concept to execution at a variety of resolutions and devices sizes.

UI designer

The boundary between UI and UX designers is fairly blurred. UI Design stands for User Interface Design and is more concerned with the context, surface and overall feel of a design.

UI is the saddle, the stirrups, & the reins. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse.

— Dain Miller, Web Developer

User interface (UI) designer focus building highly usable and efficient user interfaces for softwares, applications, dashboards and devices. This requires an eye for clean and artful design and the ability to translate high-level requirements into interaction flows and artefacts.

Their responsibility is to deliver an outstanding user experience providing an exceptional and intuitive application design.

Interaction designer

Interaction design is an important component within the giant umbrella of user experience.

Interaction design is a process in which designers focus on enhancing user interfaces with interactive, logical and thought out behaviours and actions.

Feedback is the heart of interaction. If user interaction is a conversation between your user and the product, then your product better participate in a friendly, interesting, and helpful manner.

— UXPin team

Unlike visual designers who usually deal with static assets, interaction designers create subtle visual motions and clues on how to use the product. Their goal is to create interactions that enable the user to achieve their objectives in the best way possible and when applied efficiently the motion becomes an integral part of the interface and the experience with the product (apps, websites, forms)

Front-end developer

aka UX developer, Front-End Engineer, CSS/HTML Developer, Front-End Web Designer

The Front-end or UX developer role is another discipline under the overall user experience umbrella. A UX developer is a Front-end developer with a talent and sensitivity for understanding the User Experience work that goes ahead of the UI design

Design isn’t finished until somebody is using it.

— Brenda Laurel, PhD, Independent Scholar

Front-end developers are responsible for creating a functional implementation of a product’s interface. The focus is on whether the interactions, process and overall experience of the application works for the end user.

Usually the front-end developer translates the mockup it into an interactive experience but also code the visual interactions that she/he or the Interaction designer came up with. They are somehow part designer, part developer.

in fine

Even at this point there’s still room for confusion, the boundaries between each of these various design roles are very fluid.

And with all that said, Job title doesn’t matter one bit. I know UX Designers that only create visuals, product designers who frankly are visual designers. And honestly Some UX Designer at one company may have a completely different set of responsibilities and task at another.

So .. part-researcher, part-designer, part-visual designer, the UX role is complex, challenging and versatile.. This is mainly driven by the scale of the company and what is the kind of operating they do.

The Small Company in many cases require their UX specialist to be multifaceted. UX Design, Visual Design and Code

The Larger Company tend to have more structural teams and units with consequently more dedicated roles.

The Agencies: An agency would recruit a UX strategist or a UX designer or researcher (…) when required. They hire based on project or client needs.

But regardless of the type of company, working in something that you are passionate about and believe in produces amazing results.

This was tagged UX , you can find me on twitter @setgraphic