Ahmed Karam

Pop culture enthusiast, living in the intersections of Art and Technology.

Interview with a UX Designer

I think it’s important for people coming into the industry to understand the difference between UX and UI and interaction design and product design and all these other things.

UI designers historically have been graphic designers that designed a visual element of an interface. So, typically to be a UI designer you would usually have pretty good graphic skills whether it’s Photoshop or Sketch. You would usually be working with somebody who’s maybe a UX designer or interaction designer and they might be looking at the more conceptual stuff, but working with you to kind of utilize your graphic design skills. That doesn’t mean that they can’t spread their skills and actually you see a lot more UI designers now who are interested in the interaction design stuff. So not just the visual layer, but actually how the different elements interact with each other, how those elements kind of moved from page to page.

What you tend to find is that level of more conceptual design is commonly known as interaction design so I’m seeing a lot more UI designers having an interest in interaction design. Generally, in Silicon Valley if you are a UI designer – you would typically be calling yourself a product designer. Often those kind of product designers will also have animation skills, product designers are very commonly working not only on web but also on mobile and in the mobile space particularly when you’ve got small constraints of screens and maybe you’re not doing really big, deep kind of information architectures, you could probably be a product designer and design a relatively simple mobile smartphone or a tablet app all on your own without having extra help. So, UI design and Product designer are similar but if you want to focus much more on the visual design side of things – you’re a UI designer. If you want to do a bit both –  Interaction designer.  You then have UX design, which is different.

UX designer is a composite term used to describe somebody that has four particular skills. So somebody who has interaction skills, somebody who has user research skills, somebody who has information architecture skills and someone who has design and business strategy skills. Back in the day, like five six seven years ago, before you had this new hybrid of product designers – your kind of typically find you have a pairing of a UI designer and UX designer. There aren’t many UX designers around. People who are genuinely UX designers, there aren’t that many of them around. There was a massive demand and under supply. So a lot of people have been calling the service UX designers when they’re more so Product Designers.


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