I recently had to recruit for a ‘Designer’. I knew what I wanted getting done but it was still confusing what label do I give the role. It is so convoluted nowadays with all the nuances of design. Managing expectations has become a nightmare when it comes to people who are not into that digital thing. The moment I utter the word ‘design’ and people imagine colours coming alive, unicorns running through the scree and overall fairy tale lands being built in a digital format. To help some other peers in a similar situation here is a quick guide to who is who and who does what in this design thing. If you do not feel like reading, scroll to the bottom infographic.
UX Designer a.k.a. King or Queen of Logic
This is a designer who is not that much into the airy fairy side of things but into logic. Is the journey logical? Can the user go from A to B and if they can, is this the best/easiest/intuitive way to do so. (This was the guy I needed by the way). What you expect them to deliver is ‘wireframes’, sitemaps and some story boards. A wireframe is usually poor on the colour and design side but rich on the layout for a page (grid layout). To get to that layout, you might need a UX Researcher.
UX Researcher a.k.a The assumptions/perceptions destroyer
Have you ever been in a business where the employees do not think they know it all about their customers, and what they want from the brand? Well the UX Researcher comes in to debunk all the myths held on a business level. This role is there to ask the customer’ ‘who are you’, what do you want’, ‘how do you want it’ and so on. This is a crucial piece in providing the UX Designer with valid information (the backbone) for them to design proper journeys. If the research side of things is flawed, so will be the journeys and so will be the end result (and the return won’t be what the projection was). Some UX designers also do research, so you might be lucky and find 2 in 1.
UI Designers a.k.a The Stylists
It is a blurred line between UX and UI to be honest, sometimes I get lost as to why do we need both. However they do have distinctive purposes in large scale projects. I underline large scale, as if you are a start up or a small company, you can find 1 person who does both roles. However if you are a pure play digital platform you better find 1 of each, as they should compliment each other and deliver an outstanding product. The UI person will ensure the style across the wireframes is consistent, it makes sense, the layout is intuitive.
Visual Designer a.k.a The details
These ones are simple – they design, they make it pretty, they make it perfect. They will adjust things to look like they belong together and are visually pleasing. Again some UI/UX guys come from a visual background so they might be able to combine all these skills in 1 and deliver the final product.
Advice from a person who went on this journey recently. Know what you want delivered. It is rare to find someone who is crazy creative and also perfectly logical. It is 2 different brain hemispheres at the end of the day. So if you want someone to draw it all pretty and so on, you might want to go more towards someone with a Visual Design background. If you want to carry out research, decide on personas and deliver sitemaps and journeys you need to look for UX.
A really nice infographic I found online (thanks AbDevLabs):
I hope you can now sleep better at night, knowing whom do you need when 😉