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UX, UI, Visual Designers and more – the many design roles of Technology

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Design isn’t the window dressing to your website, application, or software development project. It’s essential to the entire process, from beginning to end, and helps ensure the final product is intuitive, productive, and user-friendly. Still, given the rapid evolution of UX and UI in just the last few years alone, Foundery5 understands the confusion over the many different components of design in the digital marketplace. For that reason, we’re providing a summary of the various roles and responsibilities categorized under the term “designer” to help you and your team stay organized and focused with an eye firmly set on the prize — a product that brings value to you, your customers, and drives growth for your organization.

UX Designer

A website, application, or piece of software needs to flow well, allowing the user to rely on their intuition to find what they’re looking for or accomplish a desired task. This important responsibility falls under the jurisdiction of the UX designer, who ensures the product has the right feel. Granted, this sounds somewhat qualitative, but the best design is just as much art as it is science. Through in-person testing to judge a user’s behavior while using the product, the UX designer makes changes to create an optimal user experience.

UI Designer

A UI designer is the yin to the UX designer’s yang, responsible for the layout of the product and how the user interacts with it. If the development process is looked at as a road trip vacation, the UX designer creates the itinerary to make sure the user has a great time while the UI designer provides direction so the user successfully arrives at the destinations. The UI designer also provides a consistency throughout the many components of the product and makes sure it stays on-brand along the way. Given the interwoven nature of the UX and UI designers’ tasks, many organizations prefer to combine the positions.

Visual Designer

Think of the visual designer as the person that sweats the details. They are about aesthetics and a visually appealing user experience, the member of your team that pays extraordinary attention to the impact of different fonts, icons, controls, and other visual elements. Unlike the UX and UI designers, the visual designer is strictly concerned with engaging graphics. To that point, the visual designer is likely the role most people outside of the industry think of when hearing the term designer.

Interaction Designer

Animated assets are essential elements to immersive design that have quickly become part of the new norm in industry. Elements like transitions and animated buttons are inherently engaging and, thus, naturally lend themselves to a more saturating experience that forms stronger connections between the user and product. The interaction/motion designer creates these elements which, when effective, provide visual cues within the UI to help the user navigate their way through the product or website.

UX Researcher

Design is only as successful as it is useful to the end user. Appealing visuals, a clean and intuitive interface, and elegance to spare don’t mean a thing if the product doesn’t accomplish what the user needs from it, therefore rendering it useless and a waste of untold time, money, and effort. The UX researcher makes certain your project always avoids that scenario, continually maintaining focus on who the target user is and what they want from the product. This role is the most quantitative of the team, utilizing market research, user interviews, and reams of data to find statistical significance within a mountain of information. A/B testing is a mainstay of the role, taking the different design iterations to see which combination best fulfills the user’s expectations and goals with the product.

Front-End Developer

Also known as the UI developer, the front-end developer takes the design created by the collaborative efforts of your design team and turns it into a reality. They take the mock-up and translate it into an interactive experience that breathes life into what only existed in the hypothetical realm shortly before. Likewise, the front-end developer also codes the animations created by the interaction designer, yet another example of how this critical role transforms theory into practice.

Product Designer

The product designer is the most illusive and ill-defined of all the discussed roles, often changing from organization to organization. More a jack-of-all-trades, a design team can task a product designer with any number of responsibilities, ranging from market research and occasional coding duties to interface or visual element design. In other words, the specific role of a product designer is completely dependent on the particular needs of single project, team, or even organization.

Of course, the rapidly changing world of UX and UI likely means these roles will continue to evolve over time. Whatever these positions within your team entail one year, five years, or a decade from now, however, one notion will always remain true: the sooner your design team is brought into the fold of your product development process, the more efficient and effective that process and the resulting product will be. And as always, with our squad of design experts, Foundery5 will be here to provide our guidance and support along the way.