UX Roles and Methods

Who Does What?

Once upon a time, if you said the word “design”, the odds were overwhelmingly likely you were talking about graphic design. But nowadays, the digital world is becoming increasingly more complicated and a lot of new job positions are appearing, which lead to confusion for people outside or new to the design industry. Here’s a quick overview of some common roles within UX.

User Experience (UX) Designer

UX designers are primarily concerned with how a product feels. UX designers strive to create products that provide meaningful and personally relevant experiences.

User Interface (UI) Designer

Unlike UX designers who are concerned with the overal feel of the product, UI designers are particular about how the product is laid out. They are in charge of designing each screen or page with which a user interacts and ensuring that the UI visually communicates the path that a UX designer has laid out.

Visual Designer

Visual designers are not concerned with how screens link to each other, nor how someone interacts with the product. Instead, their focus is on crafting beautiful icons, controls, visual elements, and making use of suitable typography.

Interaction Designer

Unlike visual desingers who usually deal with static assets, interaction designers create animation inside an app. They deal with what the interface does after a user touches it.

User Researcher (UX Researcher)

A UX researcher is the champion of a user’s needs. The goal of a researcher is to answer the twin questions of “Who are our users?” and “What do our users want?” Typically, this role entails interviewing users, researching market data, and gathering findings.

Note: The boundaries between each of these various design roles are very fluid, so in some cases these roles may have a lot of overlap.

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.

~Joe Sparano
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UX Design Methods and Techniques

UX designers employ a wide range of methods and techniques to create great experiences for users. Here are just a few.

User Interview

A user interview is a common user research technique used typically to get qualitative information from existing users. User interview helps UX designers better understand their users (user’s emotion and opinions). This technique is especially useful when the target audience is new or unknown for the team.

Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic Evaluation is a detailed analysis of a product that highlights good and bad design practices in an existing product. It helps UX designers visualize the current state of the product in terms of usability, accessibility, and effectiveness of the experience.

Card Sorting

Card sorting is a method used to help design or evaluate the information architecture of a product. The UX designer asks users to group content and functionalities into open or closed categories. A result gives the UX designer input on content hierarchy, organization and flow.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is the observation of users trying to carry out tasks with a product. Testing can be focused on a single process or be much more wide ranging.

A/B Test (or Split Test)

A/B testing is offering alternative versions of a product to different users and comparing the results in order to find out which one performs better.

Field Studies

Field study is about going out and observing users “in the wild” so that behavior can be measured in the context where a product will actually be used. This technique can include ethnographic research, interviews and observations, plus contextual enquiry.

Guerrilla Testing

Guerrilla testing is one of the simplest (and cheapest) forms of user testing. Using guerrilla testing usually means going into a coffee shop or another public place to ask people there about your product or prototype. It can be conducted anywhere, i.e., cafe, library, train station etc., essentially anywhere you can find a relevant audience.

Pay attention to what users do, not what they say

~Jakob Nielsen
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