The Lure of Visual Design


Hi all,

From a realistic standpoint, currently being a front-end developer for on and off around 10 years and having sailed the shores of the internet for around 20 years now, I figure that Interaction Design is my best way of entering the UX field.

In my current job, there’s a lot of ways that rethinking the usability of various systems can have a great impact on the lives of our users and I very much enjoy solving such puzzles.

Though I won’t lie, visual design tempts me. Reading up on it, you’re still solving a puzzle, just with different tools. I’ve always dabbled with web and print design in my spare time and despite the hindrance of being red/green colour blind, I’d like to think I’d be great at it.

My question is, without becoming a unicorn, would I find myself ever doing much in the way of visual design simply through creating high-fidelity prototypes for interaction design? Whilst separate in nature, the two practices do seem to overlap on various UX charts so I’m curious if I’d find myself able to cut my teeth at visual design, even if I aimed for interaction design as a career goal.


My answer here is… you shouldn’t but you might.

Hi-fi prototypes should focus on developing the details, functions and interactions but often that does include more design (esp. if trying to make them attractive to stakeholders). It will likely depend on how big your team is and how defined your roles are.

This is quite a good read:


I am a former front-end developer with over 10 years experience who switched over to UX in the past few years. You won’t be doing much coding as a UX designer, but you definitely will be utilizing your experience as a front-end developer. Depending on the company, you will most likely be using an existing pattern library for all your work as well as creating new elements to add to it.

Do you have an eye for design as well as understand interactive design and design principles? If so you shouldn’t have a problem with the transition. All you need is some UX projects under your belt. Good luck! It’s not easy.


That sounds like an interesting freelancing niche to me, yet haven’t heard of only working on high-fidelity prototypes (and not other design duties, like low-fidelity/wireframing, for example) as a common full-time occupation.


I can’t work out how to blockquote with the linked user so in its place:

HAWK: Thanks for the info! It does sound like the high-fi prototypes are more about simply refining the interaction, which is all good. I just wondered how design-orientated things get, so it sounds like as an interaction designer, in a larger team you’d likely work with the graphic/web designer and/or visual designer to put together the high-fidelity prototypes.

I dare say high-fi prototypes also help less imaginative stakeholders? When I did a spot of self-employment a few years ago, it became apparent that some clients required a little more direction as to what a finished product could accomplish etc…

ux_dude: Aye, I figure having a background in web dev allows me to have a realistic idea of not only what can be achieved but what aspects of a design might be time consuming to develop etc… I’ve done some contract work for businesses which used modular components for their sites so, utilising design patterns isn’t too different, just making sure you use the right one for the job!

I’d like to say I have an eye for design, but I’d be saying it with no academic foundation, haha. Although that simply means there’s room to improve!

BraydnDegraw: I meant it more as an aside to the general duties of an interaction designer more than something to purely focus on, otherwise yeah, it becomes a slightly unrealistic niche that I imagine no one needs filling, haha.

But from the responses I’ve got I’ve got a better idea of what exactly high-fi prototypes encompass. I think realistically, if I ever did want to become a Visual Designer, I’d have a much better shot at it with a decent amount of Interaction Design experience under my belt.