Who designs what?

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June 14, 2021

Everything you wanted to ask about UI and UX design but were afraid of…A guide for business people in the era of designers. Explained on one project.

In the era of human-centred digital transformation, many business stakeholders have to face new challenges, should track the latest UI UX design trends of the profession and nevertheless the new job titles from the market. Here is a quick guide (with some humble opinions) which aims to help you define some newly emerged roles. Many of them are often wrongly used, so we’re here to help you! UX, SxD, IxD, UX/UI and many more… What the heck is going on? Let’s put some content under each acronym.

First of all… What is UX anyway? 

UX = user experience. Or more precisely the processes of User Experience Design. (Joel Marsh) This process originates from the design thinking methodology and in Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden’s Lean UX Book (one of the best UX design books) UX is based on three principles:

  1. design thinking,
  2. agile software development,
  3. lean startup methodology. 

“Innovation powered by [...] direct observation of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported…” (Tim Brown, IDEO)

What about UX Researchers?

How are they different from market researchers? What do User Experience designers do?

Do you remember when your elementary school teacher of literature advised you to plan ahead and create some outline before jumping into your essay? Well, that is what UX designers do in an agile mobile application development team! They plan ahead and ask questions creating user flows, information architectures, customer journeys, wireframes. They are the “low-fidelity guys” and they want to understand things first before actually making anything up. They create personas, experience and empathy maps, collaborative ideation sessions, storyboards, prototypes, wireframes. They test iteratively and have an eye on feasibility all the time. They usually have some technical knowledge and really are the bridge between business and technology.

UX Design tools: Some kind of wireframing tool, mostly Figma or Axure, thick Sharpies and ergonomy in mind.

What is a User Interface designer then?

It’s easy to guess that interface designers work on digital surfaces such as mobiles, tablets, and responsive web. They are responsible for delivering pixel perfect high-fidelity designs from building interactive prototypes to validate design ideas. They also design landing pages, maintain the design system and many more stuff can drop upon their shoulders. They usually collaborate with UX Designers, Product Management and Development teams and ensure visual consistency and aesthetics.

Toolkit: They are probably aware of all Interface design software on the market from Figma to Sketch. Other symptoms could be colour-theory in the eyes and pixel-OCD.

Outcome: Shiny User Interfaces designed in Figma ready to hand off to a developer.

The appearance of the beast called the “UX/UI Designer”

Actually, it is a very practical phenomenon since many small businesses and startups with real deadlines cannot afford to have a UX and UI team separately. The UX/UI designer is equal to the digital product designer who can easily conduct user interviews, can draw basic user flows in Axure but can really do the pixel-pushing on a well-crafted interface design as well.

Toolkit: All the design software you dare to imagine on a fancy Macbook, a messy sketchbook and kickass stickers.

The Service designer

Have you played with Age of Empires? Well, those guys definitely did, since they are the strategist of the design team. The ones with the frameworks and canvases. Witty professionals with a sense of business understanding. They usually do not create any visual design but have a clear understanding of the business domain. They are able to rethink and refine services from telco to banking at the customer pain-points. Often get trained in business models and market analysis. They should also be aware of pricing strategies and marketing.

Toolkit: Pen and paper or an overpriced dot-grid Moleskine with some pinch of amazing presentation skills.

As of today, brand new design disciplines rise on a daily basis: we can now meet with the titles Business Designer, Solution Designer, Service Designer, Employee Experience Designer, just to mention a few. This sometimes might seem strange to the eyes of visual experts coming from a more artistic background however, we should embrace the fact that design thinking is lurking its way into an increasing number of industries, sectors and eventually, jobs and changing the way people think about how processes should work. Design can be truly beneficial for all, in different terrains of everyday life and bring positive change to those using it. 

We hope that you found this blog post useful! Do not hesitate to follow us, so you won’t miss interesting stories in the future either. The professional content of this blog post was provided by Bence Siklós, Business Analyst and Melinda Havas, Head of Business Development & Marketing formed the material into this English article. 


UX/UI design