The age of user-centricity has arrived on the Web. Companies must design websites and applications that offer straightforward and customized experiences if they want to draw in new consumers and retain their current ones. The user experience is crucial to the success of any online business, both for-profit and non-profit websites. The people responsible for that success are the UX designers. But what skills does the phrase “UX” cover, and equally as importantly, how do you go about finding the perfect UX talent for your company?
Over the last 5 five years there has been an increasing interest in UX all over the world that has accelerated through 2022. Source: Google Trends.
Let’s start by defining a UX and UI designer
UX and UI designers have very diverse responsibilities, for which reason you should probably not have one employee handling the tasks of both, if your company has the budget for it. Both these positions are crucial to your company´s success, so hiring two separate candidates increases the chances of your website to be ahead of the curve.
UX when it all started
Starting from the basics, UX stands for ¨User Experience¨. What that entails, is the ways that users interact with the digital product and factors that affect that interaction. Enhancing UX translates to optimizing the website for effective and easy navigation. According to legend, Apple's Don Norman was the first to use the word back in 1993 when he said ¨ User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products”.
Source: Nielsen Group
User Interaction, the digital revolution
UI, on the other hand, stands for User Interface. It is the aesthetic appeal of the digital product's display. As an example, consider your smartphone's touchscreen. When we discuss UI, we talk about the interaction between you and your digital product or device.
Both UX and UI are tricky to pin down, as no official skills nor credentials can be strictly defined – no two career paths or job descriptions are identical. For example, some UX design positions require only graphic design skills, others mainly planning and wire framing. Nevertheless, you can probably already see why it requires two people with different skillsets to ensure optimal implementation of the best practices in the two fields. What they do have in common is the need for the professional to have a natural appreciation of the human mind and its complexity and be adaptable to frequent changes.
Back in the day User Experience was nowhere to be seen, websites just made things that worked without paying too much attention to the "experience" part. Source: Weforum
Responsibilities of UX and UI Designers
Day in life of a UX expert:
Many people believe that the role of UX is to create wireframes to indicate where items should go and to do so in such a manner that the user is not confused when using your app or website. Yes, that is a component of it, but it is far from the most crucial aspect of the job. A UX Designer's role is to know everything there is to know about their users and to maintain consistency in their experience throughout all phases of the project. This means that the UX Designer must be present at all stages of the process, from concept to execution to implementation.
The UX Designer's duties may include the following:
- Running user tests
- Interviews in person
- Field investigation
- Developing user personas
- Analyzing detailed data
The UX Designer oversees the overall project output. This implies they must be present in several areas simultaneously, ensuring that the value to the user is never diluted or compromised, and they must always represent the best interests of the user's experience. A UX designer is seen as a highly analytical and technical role.
UI Designer´s key tasks:
There exists a common misconception that the responsibilities of a UI Designer entail solely on making wireframe mockups that look visually appealing. While it is a part of the job, it is not the most important element. UI Designers must be wary of the visual part; however, they also work on determining how easy it is to interact with the product and what features can enhance the experience. This is done by building tools for users to interact with in an enjoyable manner, including:
- Interface layout
- Interface design
- Visual design
- Interaction design
- Establishing visual guidelines
The UI Designer is a more concentrated function in comparison to the one of UX Designer, as it entails overseeing only one aspect of the project - ensuring that the interface is aesthetically appealing and can be successfully interacted with.
Why are UX and UI Designers important?
If there is one thing to be sure of, is that the skillset required for both these positions are in demand and although that is changing, they are still in short supply. Both User Interface and Experience are crucial for any digital business. You might ask why. Well, shortly put, we can say that if users cannot easily use the product, they simply will not.
Now, if you'd like to start hiring UX professionals, have a look at series of blog posts where we discuss all about UX: How to recruit UX Candidates, Questions to ask them when interviewing, or what type of designers you should hire first.
If you need more information regarding UX and UI Designers, as well as hiring processes, get in touch with us - we´ll be happy to help!