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The Many Hats of User Experience

User experience sure has become the most essential weapon in everyones digital team or product. In my last article I covered why ux is important for your business, but many people have the misconception that User Experience is done only by ONE person, when in reality we user experience designers wear MANY hats, which I personally love.

We cover bases such as design, psychology and research which makes my day to day work completely different from the one before. In some cases having a one man band might be true with the exception of unicorn designers (overly talented wizards that can do it all from design to coding) which are very rare.

But personally I wouldn’t recommend giving one person all the work as with all the overload in responsibilities, the quality of your product could be affected, but we all know there’s many penny-pincher companies out there who like to save on costs bringing in someone that could be the man (or woman)THAT DOES IT ALL!!. However in reality user experience is in fact a TEAM effort meaning there’s usually more then one person involved on making sure your company or app has a rockstar user experience. But being a UX Designer makes you a jack-of-all-trades almost by default. As a field we’re broken up into several specialisms. As our industry advances these only get more complex.

 

 

So who are the people that are involved in a user experience team and what do they do?

There’s a lot of debate around how these specialisms are classified. Personally, I like to break UX down into five main areas :

  • User research.
  • Information architecture.
  • Interaction design.
  • UI design
  • Content strategy.

Some organizations will actually treat these as distinct jobs and hire for them individually. This is particularly true with larger businesses, where multiple UX designers are needed on a single project. But like I mentioned before this varies from business to business. In many cases us ux designers  switch between  these roles over the course of a single project.

What are the specialisms of UX?

User Research

A user researcher gathers the insight to drive decision making in our project. Rather than creating the ‘what’, they instead focus on the ‘why’. There are loads of research methods than can be drawn upon, both quantitative and qualitative. These all go into informing the solution, and defining user requirements for a new project. Research must be done to know what should work best and what possible app navigation design mistakes that designers should avoid.

When taking on the user researcher role, the main responsibilities include :

  • Workshops and interviews.
  • User testing sessions.
  • Analytics data and ethnographic research.
  • Creating user personas & requirements.

Information Architecture

An information architect looks at the product from a birds-eye view, understanding how content links together. They’ll piece together how users move through the flows in a site or app, without getting bogged down in the minute details of UI.

When taking on the information architect role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Planning user flows.
  • Creating sitemaps and data models.
  • Defining navigation, taxonomies and other content classifications.

Content strategy

A content strategist creates the guidelines for how information is communicated through the website or app. They make sure the output we give to the user is easy to understand, consistent and generally fit-for-purpose.

When taking on the content strategist role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Planning of key content themes & topics.
  • Content structure & templates.
  • Content style & presentation guidelines.

Interaction design

An interaction designer plans how users will interact with the system. They’ll translate the high-level flows defined in the information architecture & content strategy into more detailed screen layouts, usually in the form of wireframes.

When taking on the interaction designer role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Wireframing & early prototyping.
  • Interaction guidelines and UI patterns.
  • Functional documentation.

UI design

A UI designer brings the interface to life by applying a brand’s ‘look and feel’ to the system. They’re responsible for creating the visual language for a site or app, and generally ensuring that it looks awesome.

When taking on the UI designer role, the main responsibilities include :

  • Realistic page mock-ups.
  • High fidelity prototypes.
  • Style guides.

Now that you know all the many hats of ux design, what are you waiting for to bring in UX Designers to your current dev team? If you liked this article make sure you follow me on linked in and instagram  for more!! What other topics would you like me to cover? Shoot me a message.

I am a web designer and UX/UI Designer based in Caguas, Puerto Rico. I consider myself a creative problem solver and a fan of all things creative. I studied UX/UI Design in Ironhack Miami,FL and after working with a few startups in South Florida I decided to move back to PR after hurricane Maria to collaborate and share my knowledge of design with the San Juan local tech community. I have designed for local companies like w@w marketing, wovenware ,BM Interactive Group and have collaborated in projects with the Puerto Rico Department of Health , Departamento de Hacienda, Wicked Lily Restaurant and UX+DEV Summit in South ,FL

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