Who Does What In UX? A detailed look at the roles and their contributions

Introduction

Dive into the world of UX design, where it feels like there are more roles than herbs in KFC’s chicken recipe. Each role promises to make the user experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible – a bit like a Michelin-starred chef promising to turn every dish into a masterpiece. But why so many chefs in the UX kitchen? In this blog post, we reveal the secret of the many faces behind great user experience design and show how they work together to create digital products that not only work, but delight.

 

Why are there so many UX roles

The diversity of roles in the field of user experience design reflects the complexity and iterative nature of the design process. At the centre of this process is design thinking, an approach that is divided into five phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. Each phase aims to develop a deep understanding of users, identify clear problems, generate innovative solutions, create prototypes and test them – a cycle that is often repeated to achieve the best possible results.

The role of specialisation in the design thinking process

The creation of specific UX roles serves to cover different aspects of this process. As the phases are closely linked, they often overlap and are iterative by nature. This iteration and overlap makes it difficult to fully define and separate the roles. However, it is this flexibility and dynamism that makes the UX design process so effective.

  • Empathise: This is where user researchers come into play, using qualitative and quantitative research methods to develop a deep understanding of users and their needs.
  • Define: In this phase, UX strategists and information architects are required to help translate the collected findings into clear, manageable problems or challenges.
  • Ideate: UX designers and interaction designers use creative techniques to develop a wide range of solutions based on the defined challenges.
  • Prototype: UI designers and product designers often work closely together to quickly create tangible prototypes that visualise the ideated solutions.
  • Test: Usability testers then conduct tests with real users to gather feedback and evaluate the effectiveness of the prototypes.</li

Dependence on the company structure

The specific organisation of these roles and how they are positioned in the design process depends heavily on the size, structure and culture of the respective company. In a start-up, some of these roles may be grouped together, with one person wearing several hats. In larger organisations, on the other hand, the roles are often more specialised and more clearly defined.

The emergence of different UX roles is a direct response to the requirements of the design thinking process and its phases. Specialisation within the UX field allows for deeper exploration and expertise in each step of the process. At the same time, the close connection and iteration between the phases requires flexible and adaptive collaboration between the different roles. This enables an effective and holistic design of the user experience that is geared towards the actual needs and behaviour of the user.

 

The individual roles in detail

UX Designer

UX designers are key figures in the design process, responsible for creating user-centred experiences. They work based on data to understand user needs, define problems and develop creative solutions. Through prototyping and user testing, they iterate their designs to create intuitive and engaging products.

Core responsibilities

    • Developing empathy and understanding user needs

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  • Defining the core problems based on user data.
  • Idea generation and development of solution approaches.
  • Creation of prototypes to visualise ideas.
  • Conducting user tests and iteratively improving designs.

Contribution to the design process

UX designers form the bridge between user and product by ensuring that the end product is both desirable and functional. Their work is based on the premise of using user insights to arrive at solutions that offer real added value.

 

UI Designer

UI designers focus on the visual design of the user interface to ensure that products are not only functional but also visually appealing. They transform complex functions into accessible, aesthetically pleasing and intuitive interfaces.

Core responsibilities

  • Designing the visual elements of the user interface, such as buttons, icons and layouts.</li
  • Ensuring a consistent brand identity across all design elements.
  • Optimising user guidance through visual cues and an intuitive structure.</li
  • Customising designs for different platforms and screen sizes.</li
  • Collaborating with UX designers and developers to turn visual designs into working interfaces.</li

Contribution to the design process

UI designers play a crucial role in creating a direct connection between the user and the digital product. With their in-depth understanding of visual principles and technologies, they play a key role in ensuring that users find their way around intuitively and have a positive experience with the product.

 

UX & UI Designer

UX & UI designers represent a combined role that combines expertise in user experience design and user interface design. The exact nature of this position varies greatly depending on the employer and can range from working on UX and UI tasks at the same time to focussing specifically on elements of both areas.

Core responsibilities

  • Designing solutions that are both functional and visually appealing
  • Creating wireframes, mockups and prototypes that integrate UX and UI elements.
  • Collaborating with development teams to realise the designs.</li

Contribution to the design process

Bridging the gap between user-centred functionality and the aesthetic appeal of the product, UX & UI designers adapt to the specific requirements of their employer to ensure an optimal user experience.

 

UX Manager

The UX Manager leads and coordinates the UX team and is responsible for the strategic direction of the user experience within a project or organisation. This role includes the planning and monitoring of all UX activities, from research to implementation, and ensures that the end products meet user needs.

Core responsibilities

    • Leading the UX team: Leading and developing the UX team, fostering a collaborative work environment

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  • Strategic planning: Developing and implementing UX strategies that are aligned with business goals.</li
  • Stakeholder management: Collaboration with various stakeholders in the company to ensure that UX principles are considered and implemented.</li
  • Monitoring of UX projects: Ensuring that all UX projects remain on schedule and meet the set quality standards
  • Budget management: Responsible for allocating and monitoring the budget for UX-related activities.</li

Contribution to the design process

UX managers play a crucial role in the design process by not only leading the UX team, but also acting as a bridge between the team and other departments and management. They ensure that UX decisions are made at a strategic level and that the user experience is seen as an integral part of the product development process. Through their work, they play a key role in ensuring that products are developed that are both user-friendly and commercially successful

 

User Researcher

User researchers specialise in gaining in-depth insights into the needs, wishes and behaviour of users. They play a crucial role in the design process by ensuring that product decisions are based on solid data and user understanding.

Core responsibilities

    • Conducting user research: Using qualitative and quantitative research methods to gather user insights

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  • Analysing and interpreting data: Transforming research data into actionable insights that can guide product development.</li
  • Creating personas and user stories: Developing representative user profiles and scenarios to guide design and development.
  • Communicating research findings: Presenting findings to the design and development team to encourage informed design decisions.
  • Validation of product concepts: Conducting usability tests and other evaluation methods to verify the effectiveness of design decisions.</li

Contribution to the design process

User researchers make an indispensable contribution to ensuring that the design process remains user-centred. Through their research, they provide the necessary data and insights that enable designers and developers to create products that solve real user problems and provide a positive user experience. Their ability to understand and interpret user behaviour and needs is critical to developing solutions that are both innovative and relevant to the target audience.

 

UX Consultant

UX Consultants provide expert knowledge and strategic advice to help organisations improve their user experience. They analyse existing UX strategies, identify potential for improvement and recommend measures to increase user satisfaction and business results.

Core responsibilities

    • UX audit and assessment: Conducting evaluations of existing websites, applications or services to identify UX weaknesses

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  • Strategic consulting: Development of recommendations and strategies to improve the user experience, based on best practices and current trends.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Working with leaders and teams to raise awareness of the importance of good user experience and drive change.
  • Implementation support: Support in the implementation of UX improvements, from conception to the introduction of new designs.</li
  • Training and workshops: Conducting training and workshops to develop and promote UX skills within the organisation.</li

Contribution to the design process

UX consultants play a critical role in the design process by bringing an outside perspective and helping companies to optimise their user experience. Through their in-depth expertise in UX principles and methods, they help to ensure that products and services are not only user-friendly, but also aligned with business strategy. Their work enables organisations to make more conscious decisions that ultimately lead to improved user satisfaction and successful products.

 

UX Writers

UX Writers are responsible for creating clear, coherent and user-friendly texts within digital products. They play a crucial role in how users interact with a product by ensuring that every line of text contributes to the overall user experience.

Core responsibilities

    • Creating interface texts: Writing texts for user interfaces, including buttons, menus and error messages, that are intuitive and easy to understand

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  • Developing content strategies: Developing guidelines and standards for product content to ensure consistency across the entire user experience.
  • Collaborating with designers and developers: Working closely with the UX and UI team to ensure that text and design work harmoniously together.
  • User research and testing: Participation in user research and usability tests to evaluate the effectiveness and comprehensibility of the texts
  • Adapting the tone of voice to the target group: Fine-tuning the language and tone of voice to meet the needs and expectations of users.</li

Contribution to the design process

UX Writers’ contribution to the design process is essential to creating a seamless and engaging user experience. By carefully considering every word, they help to improve user guidance, reduce misunderstandings and foster a positive relationship between users and product. Their work ensures that communication within the product is not only informative, but also inviting and accessible.

 

Information Architect

Information Architects are responsible for transforming complex information and content into structured, organised and user-friendly systems. Their work is crucial for creating intuitive and easy-to-navigate digital products.

Core responsibilities

    • Structuring information: Developing information hierarchies that enable users to find and understand content intuitively

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  • Creating navigation concepts: Planning and designing the navigation structure for websites, apps and other digital products.
  • Data modelling: Defining the relationships between different types and categories of information.</li
  • Development of wireframes and sitemaps: Visualisation of the information architecture through wireframes and sitemaps, which serve as blueprints for the design.
  • Collaboration with UX designers and developers: Working closely with the entire design and development team to ensure that the information architecture is implemented consistently in the user experience.

Contribution to the design process

Information architects make a significant contribution to ensuring that digital products are not only functional, but also understandable and accessible. Their work forms the foundation for clear and efficient user guidance by ensuring that information is logically organised and easy to find. This makes it easier for users to find their way around the product and improves the overall experience.

 

Interaction Designer

Interaction designers focus on designing the interactive elements of a product to create an engaging, efficient and generally positive user experience. Their work is crucial for the development of products that are not only user-friendly but also intuitive to use.

Core responsibilities

  • Design of interactive elements: Development of concepts for the interaction between user and product, such as buttons, gesture control and transitions.
  • Prototyping and testing: Creation of interactive prototypes to test and refine design concepts.
  • Analysis of user behaviour: Observation and analysis of how users interact with the product to gain insights for improvements.
  • Collaboration in the design process: Working closely with UX designers, UI designers and developers to ensure a coherent and integrated user experience.
  • Considering accessibility and usability: Ensuring that interaction designs are accessible and easy to use for all users.</li

Contribution to the design process

Interaction designers play a key role in the design process by ensuring that interactions within a product are seamless and enjoyable. Their work directly influences how users perceive and use the product by translating complex functions into simple and understandable interactions. This results in products that are not only functional but also emotionally appealing and strengthens the bond between users and product.

 

Overlaps and collaboration

At the heart of user experience design lies the realisation that close collaboration between the different roles within the UX team is not only valuable, but crucial to the success of a project. The boundaries between roles such as UX designers, UI designers, interaction designers and others are often blurred, leading to significant overlap in areas of responsibility. This overlap creates a dynamic working environment in which innovation and creativity can flourish.

The inclusive nature of this collaboration allows teams to draw from different perspectives, which encourages the development of solutions that are both creative and deeply aligned with user needs. A coherent user experience that is consistent across all aspects of the product is ensured through this interdisciplinary coordination.

The ability to create and utilise synergies between different areas of expertise leads to results that exceed the sum of their parts. By recognising and addressing the challenges that come with this interdisciplinary way of working, teams can create an environment in which exceptional user experiences are created.

 

This content was created with the support of OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 and DALL-E technologies. However, the majority of the editorial work was done by our team to ensure authenticity and expertise.

 

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