Need suggestions on UX vs UI designing


#1

Hi All,

I am here because I am currently lost and very confused about my career. I am working as a UX designer in my organisation, where my work is not great. I get requirements and I just work on the changes on existing changes and produce prototypes, which is not very great. I want to work on pure UX side which will help me grow more in this area. In my current location, currently UX designing is not very well understood and hence organisations are looking for UX + UI design experience. I am not sure which way to head, as I am not getting any new learning in my current work and I am not getting any opportunity outside as I am not versed with latest UI dev technologies anymore (I used to work as a developer long ago). I need suggestions on what should be my thought process to move on to have a better career.

Thanks,
Rich.


#2

Hey @richab – welcome to UXMastery. :slight_smile:

Interesting challenge. Good on you for seeking advice. I’ll send some experienced people this way to see what we can help you figure out.


#3

Thanks HAWK :slight_smile:
It will really help getting some advice from experts.


#4

Hi Rich,

I’m always up for helping people with a challenge! A couple of questions which will help me get my head around things and know which suggestions to make: [LIST=1]
[]Who are you working with? Do you have a team around you who also do design?
[
]When you say ‘pure UX’, what are you aspiring to? What kinds of UX tasks really get you interested and engaged in a project?
[*]Do you think it is possible to stretch your current role to include some other tasks, or are things under pressure and pretty inflexible?
[/LIST] It sounds like it’s a hard place to branch out, but we’ll be able to give you some useful ideas. =)


#5

Hi Lukcha,

Thanks for you help :slight_smile:
Answering your questions one by one…

  1. I work along with BAs who design the solution and I do the changes in the existing applications as per his/her solutions. Developers just let me know if something that I am proposing is feasible or not. I do have a team but we all do just the same work, catering to different requirements. We don’t work on a single application, we just get requirements and we make changes to the respective application.
  2. I am currently just doing prototypes which I build using the solution designed by BA. I know that there is much more that UX designers do, which I am not aware of, hence, I want to more about it.
  3. Things in my current role are completely inflexible, there is no scope of doing more than what I am currently doing, where I cannot go beyond working on prototypes. I want to work more extensively on UX and to some extent UI as well.

Thanks,
Richa.


#6

Hi Richa,

Thanks for the responses. Let’s get into some help for you. =)

BA’s and UX designers have a lot of overlap, and in this case it looks like the BAs are doing some of your work for you and not leaving you much room to make your own decisions. But it’s good to hear you’re working with the developers and they’re giving you helpful feedback on whether things are feasible. That’s good.

A big part of doing UX is having the guts to argue the case against any approaches you don’t agree with, and then working collaboratively towards a better solution. To do this takes patience, courage, time to do your own research, a lot of homework and fact checking, and practice in forming a solid argument and being able to deliver it. A UX role needs to help find the sweet spot between the business requirements and the needs of the users/customers. You’re the customer’s own advocate working within the design team. But you can only be their advocate if you know what they’re thinking and feeling via research, testing and talking with them directly.

A big problem for you is that you’ll find it difficult to counter a BA’s or developers or manager’s suggestions/requirements—you’re not getting any time to do your own research and thus not getting time to generate your own opinions. Two critical elements that define a UX designer are research and iterative testing. If you’re not doing either of these, it’s difficult to say you’re doing UX work. Hence I empathise with the corner you’re stuck in! You’re right—you’re hungry for a more ‘pure’ UX approach.

Are you able to work more collaboratively with the BA’s, to bring the customer voice to their work? If that really can’t work, and you don’t have time to do your own research/testing tasks, then it’s really difficult and you may need to consider working elsewhere if you want a more ‘pure UX’ approach.

But let’s not give up on your workplace just yet. If you play the long game you might be able to help show your manager and teammates the benefits of a user-centred design approach. There are some solid arguments for it. You can forward them online articles, and gently encourage them towards considering it. However, it doesn’t work if you hammer them with reasons why they should change. Instead, you should try to show them and prove it.

I know exactly how hard it can be as I’ve worked in some similar places myself.

Here’s one article I wrote that has a few principles you might like to get working on: How To Apply UX In An Organisation New To User-centred Design

Let me know your thoughts, and keep the questions coming.


#7

Hi Lukcha,

Thanks a lot for your reply. This really helped me understand more on this field. I’m not doing either of the two, and hence, I understand I may not be doing exactly UX designing. Then I’m not sure what should I call myself, only prototype designer?
I read quite a no. of articles which made me conclude that I am doing a role of UX designer, may be I was too quick to make this conclusion :slight_smile:
I really don’t have much scope here, so would go with your suggestion to look for a job which gives me a scope of all the research and do some real UX job.

Thanks for your article, it was really helpful to understand some important principles related to UX designing.

Thanks!!
Richa.


#8

You’re very welcome, Richa, and I’m glad that article was helpful for you. =)

But I didn’t mean to define you out of a job! Your job title is whatever you’ve been hired to do. I believe UX is a team responsibility, and while there might often be one person advocating for the customer with a user-centred design approach, it really takes the whole team to make it happen. This is not because UX is the ultimate design approach (inside tip: it’s not). Instead, I think it has more to do with businesses paying attention to their users and customers as people, and benefiting from the insights. That’s just common sense.

Do you remember which articles lead you to the conclusion? UX has had trouble defining itself for quite a long time, and there is still a very strong affinity with user interface design. I’d argue strongly that UX and UI design are pretty different, even though a lot of things are similar. Some of the things you’re doing ARE what user experience designers do daily. However, the principles of user-centred design are pretty important to the whole process, and your workplace just seems to be squashing them away from you a bit!


#9

Hi Lukcha,
Sure, definitely you didn’t mean to do that but you previous responses really gave me more clarity about UX design role and in a positive way :slight_smile: I surely agree with your views on UX.
I exactly don’t remember the articles I read but while I read them, I realized I am doing almost everything mentioned in those articles. Hence, concluded on my role as UX designer.
Thanks for your valuable suggestions. I will get back with more queries whenever needed again :slight_smile:


#10

Very glad to hear it! Let us know when you have some more questions. =)