As 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:
- UX Designer
- Interaction Designer
- User Experience (UX) Engineer
- Human Computer Interface (HCI) Specialist
- Information Architect
- Usability Analyst
- UX Application Developer
- UX Graphic Developer
- 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.