UX + UI: Can Designers do Both?

Can a UX Designer Also be a UI Designer?

Although UX and UI have existed for decades and in theory for centuries, the recent technological boost to the industry has helped in defining the terms UX and UI design better. Before we dive deep into the answer to our question, let us understand what are UX and UI? and, What is the real meaning of UX and UI?

Design is intelligence made visible. — Alina Wheeler

In simple terms — UX design refers to the design of the user experience, and UI refers to the design of the user interface. Both of these elements are vital to the product and work closely together. However, despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different and are involved in different aspects of the product development process and practice distinct design disciplines.

Let’s first define UX and UI designs’ meaning and simultaneously also look at the skills one needs for them.

UI designers need to have strong creative thinking. You should be able to model multiple design concepts, use graphics, and ensure that the design is readable and displayable. Therefore, the skills that a UI designer should have are:

  • Understanding of the Design Principles

Because the user interface of an application needs to be well displayed, an excellent user interface designer needs to be familiar with shapes, colors, and typography. Hence along with making sure that the designs are simple and easily understood they should also be attractive and eye-catching.

  • Basic Understanding of Front-end Development

UI designers should have an understanding of basic programming skills, but this does not mean that they should be proficient in all programming languages. You must be familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. An additional benefit would be the user interface design tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and so on. A good understanding of data flow and business logic is also an asset.

  • Willingness to Learn and Explore

User interface design trends are changing every day. There are technical improvements, standard updates, etc. happening quite frequently therefore, UI designers must be able to continuously update their skills through training. In addition, one should also be able to set reasonable goals for themself and achieve them.

  • Teamwork and Communication

The user interface arena is quite collaborative, designers rarely work alone. You must collaborate with other designers, user experience experts, testers, and many others. Therefore, the ability to gel with other members and being able to communicate your thoughts and understand theirs can be very advantageous.

Especially during the current remote collaboration times 🙂

Now coming to UX developers, the most important skill for them is critical thinking and being able to gain insight into the user’s history. Let us now understand the most important skills for a user experience designer:

  • User Research

To develop a great user journey, the user experience designer must be able to recognize and sympathize with the user’s needs, for which the UX designer must conduct interviews, develop questionnaires and surveys, Create focus groups and perform user testing so that excellent user research can be conducted and analytical capabilities can be understood well.

  • Wireframing and Prototyping

Wireframes and Prototypes are the blueprints that enable the designers to structure and communicate their ideas for the product they are working upon. Wireframing and Prototyping, enable the UX designers to quickly test their ideas and the overall digital layout.

  • Knowledge of Information Architecture

Understanding information architecture is a prerequisite for UX designers. This knowledge helps them in navigating and creating site maps that are intuitive to the end-users.

  • Communication

The role of a UX designer involves a lot of communication. Such people should understand user needs, communicate them to user interface designers and developers, and present ideas to customers. You need to be able to express your thoughts clearly.

In Conclusion Yes it’s a great idea to gather some knowledge and skills around both UX and UI domains that influence the products you are designing.
This is possible to do in especially small teams where a dedicated UX or UI designer is not available or too occupied. Most of the design decisions are imagined by the product owner and realized and implemented by the UX/UI Designer themself.

Hence, with the proper skill set, practice, and planning a designer can do both — UX + UI.

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