What role should I be in UX/UI design?
September 14, 2021 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I am still learning UX Design but I find myself enjoying the part when I start sketching, making wireframes (low/hi-fidelity), putting together design systems, noting specs for handoff...etc. a lot more than the initial planning and research.

I first thought UI could be what I am after; however, I don't just like building mockups but also liking the process of prototyping, figuring how features interact with touch or click...etc. I do like to doing usability studies though for feedbacks on the user flow so I can improve. Based on my description, what role do they make me? If it's not 100% UX design, should I still market myself as a UX designer in the future? Please let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions, thanks!
posted by lanhan to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a UX designer and you sound like a great fit for a visual designer to me. And there is NOTHING wrong with that! To me it just sounds like you have to find the right company and team, which is true for everyone. But I have never worked with a visual designer who wouldn't have needed to know how to prototype, hand off developer specs, work with wireframes, figure out how things interact with touch, do user research and make improvements, etc. You would just be situated on the back end of the project instead of the front, where I am, but we would do a lot of work together in the middle. And you are completely a ux designer btw.
posted by bleep at 3:13 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


That sounds like great UI/UX all the way to the developers, you are handing them on a platter a great user experience to implement, with less chances for mistakes or improper construction.

When I've worked with great UI/UX people, getting this as part of the ticket makes implementing their goals for the user a breeze.
posted by nickggully at 4:05 PM on September 14


You're describing my job – UI designer. But, UI/UX design has a lot of different titles that bleed together and get interpreted differently all the time. I wouldn't think about yourself as a UI designer, but as a UI/UX designer that specializes in skills X, Y, and Z.
posted by TurnKey at 6:08 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I’ve been in UX for 2 decades, the bulk of which as a team lead at large and super large organizations. Over the last several years there has been more demand for “T-shaped” UX skill sets, where an individual has deep expertise in one area and touches on broader skills in others. While I’d need to know more about the specifics of your work — your skills and interests sound like interaction design mixed with visual design and user research.

This is a good mix.

I’d suggest selecting and strengthening your deeper (vertical) interest so you have that as a firm foundation, and then balance it out by building your broader (horizontal) interests as complimentary skills.

If you haven’t already, you may want to check out service design, as you strike me as someone who may like that sort of thing.
posted by nandaro at 6:08 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


This describes me and my role - I bill myself as a UX designer who can also do UI.

Over time, my visual design skills have gradually increased (I used to do purely functional/wireframe design) but I’ve also found that I’ve done less of the ancillary tasks around design because of the industries I’ve moved into. When I worked in a digital agency, actual design work was maybe 30-40% of my role - I was doing a sort of combined product owner/project manager/content/everything job with design as part of it.

Now, I am much more focused on the design portion, but the broader skills I learned in earlier roles are very helpful. So I’d encourage you to take follow the ‘T-shaped’ approach that nandaro mentions above. Having a little knowledge across the whole discipline and a specialist skill that you’re developing deeper experience in lets you adjust to different industries where there is more or less variety in the UX role.

For what it’s worth, if you want to do a broader role, startups and agencies will happily pay you less money to do three or four jobs at once. If you want to have a narrower role and more time to develop your skills, government, financial services and other bigger industries will tend to have more division of labour, larger teams and more opportunities to go deep on a particular type of work.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:20 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Here's an excellent breakdown of UX roles, their synonyms, what's required, why you might like it, and next steps for each:
https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/the-ultimate-guide-to-understanding-ux-roles-and-which-one-you-should-go-for
posted by iamkimiam at 1:36 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


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