UX and UI Designer – Who does what?
Before we get into what UI and UX Designers do, we need to know about design. Design as a profession is a very broad and vague term. For someone to say “I am a designer” is not a complete description of their profession. First of all, there is never one right answer to a design problem. While this may make you feel that anyone can be a designer, another thing to consider is that there can be tens of thousands of wrong answers to a design problem, and sometimes the costs of those wrong answers can show up years later.
The De Havilland Comet, owned by the de Havilland company and very popular in the 1950s, was known for its ability to fly faster at higher altitudes than other aircraft of the era. In 1953, three planes broke up in mid-air, killing 43 people in total. It turned out that the cause of the accidents was the design of the plane’s windows. The rectangle windows we know from our homes would shatter at high altitude due to the stress on the corners, causing the plane to crash. After those years, the windows of airplanes took the shape we know today.
Of course, the above example is an industrial design error and involves a lot of materials engineering and physics. Recently, as technology has entered every home, many new design roles have emerged to produce interfaces for screens. Today, job titles like UX or UI designer can be confusing even for designers from other industries.
In this article we will explain what these two design titles are, what they do and how they do it in the context of the tech industry.
UX Designer (User Experience Designer)
A user experience (UX) designer aims to create products that provide users with meaningful and relevant experiences. This involves designing the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of brand, design, usability and function.
UX design frames the end user’s interaction with the product. UX takes into account the entire user’s journey through the product and aims to shape the responsiveness of the interaction and design of the elements.
UX designers work closely with marketers and product teams to understand and meet the ultimate needs of customers. A great user experience doesn’t happen overnight. The UX design process often involves user testing and research. It is common for the UX design process to continue even after the software project has been finalized as a product.
As a UX designer, you are expected to take into account business objectives, technical constraints and user needs, and ensure that the user’s journey leaves them with a positive experience.
In the 21st century, time moves faster. While in the 20th century it took months of courses to learn relatively primitive computer applications, today even large professional applications take a few days to learn completely because the user experience has reached a certain level and standard. The main reason for this is that user-oriented design matches our habits.
Don Norman, the first name that comes to mind when it comes to user-oriented design, explains the importance of user experience as follows: “People are so adaptable that they are capable of shouldering the entire burden of accommodation to an artifact, but skillful designers make large parts of this burden vanish by adapting the artifact to the users.”
UI Designer (User Interface Designer)
Unlike UX designers who are concerned with the overall feel of the product, user interface (UI) designers are concerned with how the product looks. UI designers are responsible for designing every screen or page that a user interacts with and ensuring that the interface visually communicates the path that the UX designer has laid out.
UI designers are typically responsible for creating a cohesive style guide and ensuring that a consistent design language is applied across the product. Ensuring consistency in visual elements and defining behavior, such as how error or warning conditions are displayed, fall under the purview of a UI designer.
Every person has an idea about visual design and may think that the colors or fonts they choose look good. This is a misconception. UI design, just like UX design, requires serious knowledge. The design should be developed by feeding on data and shaped according to the user audience. Colors that look great to any of us may not be suitable for the industry in which that product will be marketed, or websites decorated with huge fonts may not appeal to today’s users who are used to minimal trends.
Today’s UI designers have almost limitless opportunities to work on websites, mobile applications, wearable technology and smart home devices. As long as computers remain a part of everyday life, there will be a need to create interfaces that users of all ages, backgrounds and technical experience can use effectively.
Although these two terms are often confused, they are actually two different parts of the product development process. When asked about the differences between UI and UX, Craig Morrison, Truvani’s deputy creative director, answers: “There is no difference between UX and UI design because they are two things that aren’t comparable to each other.”
Jason Ogle, a designer at CACI International, approaches this from a different angle and says: “UI is the bridge that takes us where we want to go, UX is the feeling we get when we arrive.”
One of the main differences is this. UX is the big picture. So much so that UI design is part of UX. It has a significant impact on the user experience. You may not choose to travel to the most beautiful city in the world in the world’s most uncomfortable car. Even if you have a great product idea or an application that offers important solutions, color complexity or wrong font usage in the application interface will affect your marketing activities badly.
The wonderful development of technology has led to the fragmentation of each profession into multiple specializations and the emergence of different professional disciplines. It seems that anyone living today has more life experience in a year than in a lifetime in pre-industrial revolution societies.
In this fast-paced age, none of us want to waste our time. That’s why disciplines like UX and UI design aim to make our lives easier. Human-centered designs are becoming more and more widespread and nothing from websites to mobile applications is evaluated only by the quality of the content.
You are free to learn either or both of these disciplines. But keep in mind that a serious learning process awaits you according to your interests and abilities. The good news is that as long as there are computers and applications in our lives, the demand for user experience and user interface designers will continue to increase.
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