Be a UX designer, not a Web designer.


UX Designer Drawing on WhiteboardAs I have been exploring the world of usability and branching out from my developer life over the last three years, I’ve run across a bunch of “UX jobs” that seem to vary in job title and responsibilities. Here are a few of the job titles that I found:

  1. UX Designer
  2. Interaction Designer
  3. User Experience (UX) Engineer
  4. Human Computer Interface (HCI) Specialist
  5. Information Architect
  6. Usability Analyst
  7. UX Application Developer
  8. UX Graphic Developer
  9. Web designer“Hold on, wait a second!”

These job titles are interesting to look at side-by-side. Some of them emphasize strong design skills while others require research/analyst type of roles.

I really question the “Web designer” job title that is listed in a search for “UX jobs”. I know a lot of graphic artists that claim to be Web designers, but is any Web designer automatically ranked as a UX designer or Interaction designer? People that use the job title, Web designer, might have some great artistic talent, but some can’t build a design with good navigation to save their life. I understand that this argument does not apply to all Web designers, some have learned over the years how to design sites that work well and even push the back-end developers into building better code. This is not about the skills of an artist, it’s about a misclassification of a job.

Ultimately I question, “Is the title “Web designer” dead? Since the Web 2.0 revolution, I have heard less about Web designers and more about usability and user experience development. In my opinion, Web designers have a responsibility to pursue the usability track and understand more about designing the user experience than just graphic design. Once they have this knowledge, switching to a UX title would be justified, even deserved. My conclusion is that the job title Web designer is no longer a valid one and has been replaced with or user experience designer or UX designer. Even if the job title does not disappear, it should not be listed as a “UX job”.

User experience design is about finding balance between what information you want to convey and how people will find that information.

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