It happens because nobody knows for sure the functions that this person should carry out. So who actually are these enigmatic UX designers? Are they real designers or maybe programmers? The answer is simple: neither.
They are sometimes called UX architects or even UX engineers because their contribution is obviously much bigger than it seems at first sight. Tomas Laurinavicius in his article for Forbes expands the role of UX today by asking 10 UX design experts. They all come to one and the same idea: it is the most interesting trend of the recent years. Let’s try to investigate and clarify the importance of UX design.
Going deeper into the UX designer’s role means explaining what actually UX design is. It doesn’t stand in the same line with graphic design. It is something up-to-date, still unknown and a little mysterious. Everybody knows what usability is and why it is so significant. UX design shows an integrated approach to users’ interaction with the interface of a website, an app or any other software. To put it simply, it makes the communication between the customer and the company easier, faster and mutually-beneficial. For example, Apple takes advantage of UX design in order to simplify iOS 9 as much as possible.
While creating the interface, it is necessary to take into account a lot of smaller things that help to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. For example, the type of user’s device, the way of data input or how the information is displayed. That is why the work of any UX designer presupposes a lot of research and information processing.
With the work of a graphic designer people are more or less familiar, but what is under the UX designer’s responsibility is still a mystery. A typical workflow of this non-typical designer consists of quite a bit of things to carry out:
User research takes the lion’s share of time in UX design. Researching gives all the information about the users: needs, goals, and behavior. It also helps to solve all the problems and get rid of difficulties with navigation. To conduct the research, UX designers use interviews, surveys, user testing.
The design deals not with content creation but with the usability of the end product. The designer processes the information received from the users after the research with the aim to increase functionality and usability to meet all the user’s interests.
UX designer is involved in testing and works closely with the QA team in order to improve the product’s design and see how all the changes will affect its work. The most informative way is testing on real users. It helps to observe how they interact with the product. Remote testing is just about the same thing but it can be done via screen sharing, Skype or any other program. Very popular today A/B testing is also in favor. The user has two versions of the same website page, for example, and the designer’s task is to observe which one gets a better response.
This is just a sample of how the working process goes. Hundreds of different techniques together with a flexible mind and the ability to adapt to new circumstances are the main qualities of a perfect UX designer.
That would be too imprudently to state that a UX designer deals only with interfaces. There are several other functions that this multifunctional person carries out. It is should be noted that UX designers act as a significant part of the presales process.
Imagine that the customer needs a product and he/she is not sure how it should look like. He addresses a software development company hoping to get something special. The UX designer performs the role of a mediator between the customer and the team. It is the person who will understand and visualize the clients’ demands and make a design that would be digestible from both sides.
Possessing the information after all the researches, designers can successfully develop the recommendations and proposals that can meet the customer’s needs. They can also make a presentation of the solution, interact with the development team and the customer throughout the project’s entire lifecycle. So, if the position of a business analyst is vacant, a UX designer can easily hold it during the project.
Moreover, a UX designer is a guideline-defender of the whole project. Knowing how the final product should look like, endows additional power to give tasks to the team and guide the workflow.
Though UX designers do not seem to create thousands of pages and graphics, their role in a project shouldn’t be underestimated. The perfect result of a qualified designer’s work would definitely be advantageous:
It is clearly seen that working process of UX designers doesn’t have much in common with what people usually think when they hear this word for the first time. Multifunctionality and indispensability of such people in modern project making caused a great demand in these specialists in today’s job market.