UX/UI Designers, on behalf of the recruitment community, we are sorry. It must be so frustrating that some people still don’t know the difference between these two roles.
So what do these specialties mean for employers?
A large majority of companies do not really understand what each role does. Why should a candidate have both sets of skills? It’s frustrating for the candidate. If he says he’s more UX, then he might be put into a visual designer role. We have seen this happen. It happens less with UI, that visual designers are being put in for a testing role, but it has happened. This just leads to job dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, low retention and ultimately, it harms the team.
Put simply, a UX expert creates the narrative of the project. Like a novelist planning out the plot points, or a scriptwriter of a movie. They plan how the user will go from A to B with the least amount of trouble and with the best experience.
UX makes the team understand the user’s needs and wants through personas and research.
Maybe most importantly, a UX expert dictates the entire development process, ensuring that design and development are implemented according to the dictates of the UX outline. If the research or testing suggests that there is an issue, the developers and designer needs to address this. So you could say a UX expert is the overarching discipline, with design and development being the more focused elements.
Some of the best UX people we know, don’t know how to use Photoshop. They aren’t designers. And this is the difference. It’s not about pixels. It’s about narrative. UX is concerned with the experience, how one experience flows into the next. A UX designer creates an atmosphere of ease.
To do this, the methods they employ are user research, user testing and even eye tracking. The tools they may use are Balsamiq, wireframe apps, storyboarding, sketching, wireframes, and whiteboards. They don’t necessarily have to even use any technology: just good old fashioned markers and whiteboard can get their message across.
The UI takes the planned narrative and writes it. The style of the piece. The flavour. What words to use. What style to use.
The UI designer takes what the UX expert has laid out, and arranges the design on-screen. They create the overall look of the project. It is the UI Designers who visually communicate the UX flow. They are also responsible for overall visual and brand consistency within the project. They are “The Protectors” of the brand image.
A UI person uses style, consistency, patterns and hierarchy amongst their methods.
Some say that the UI person is also the visual designer. The one who prettifies the work. But that is doing their work a disservice. They are about finding out what will work where, and optimising the experience.
So give UX guys a break. If you need design done, reach for a web designer or visual designer. If you need your product to satisfy your customers, hire a UX expert or researcher.
Can’t be bothered? Hit us up and we will connect you with the right people! 🙂