The terms UX designers and UI designers are often used together in an almost interchangeable manner. While people in both these roles have to work very closely with each other in building a product, their job profiles are distinctively different. UX Designers (user experience designers) deal with building the technical aspects of a website or app (feature) while UI Designers (user interface designers) handle the graphic design parts of building the product. Although the role of a UI Designer is a lot more complex than that, this is the simplest way of distinguishing the two roles.
Like mentioned earlier, both of these cannot function without each other. While a UI Designer is responsible for creating designs that a user finds comfortable and likes engaging with, a UX Designer makes sure they’re built in the most efficient manner for optimal output. So, no matter which role you’re thinking of getting into, it is important to find out how intertwined these roles are and how they work together for the best productivity.
1. Starts with a discussion
From the starting point, when a new product or a feature is to be built, there needs to be a team discussion involving the CTO of the company and the web development team. The usual points of contact of a web development team involves the UX and UI designers. When a product or feature is being introduced and is under discussion, the UX designers help analyse what is feasible and what isn’t. UI designers on the other hand, like to get their research done and share with the team what users like to do and what they don’t based on their experiences. It is crucial to have this discussion at the inception of something new so that no time is wasted later on with impractical and inefficient products. Apart from feedback on productivity and feasibility, this process also helps estimate the scope of work that the project would demand and the resources that would be required for it.
2. Research takes place
Once the initial phase of introduction is done, both UX and UI designers get their hands on research. The UX Designer might discuss with his team about the scope of work and the plan for the next few weeks to implement the project at hand. However, UI Designers go much more into detail with their researches. It is their job to understand user problems, behavior, their needs, and responses. They do this by gathering data through various surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. The methods used for this research depends upon the nature of the project, its requirements, the kind of target audience, the budget allocated, etc. A few broad things they like to find out are whether or not the users like the new feature, what kind of experience are they expecting, how they use the overall product, etc. Without the UI Designers doing this, there will be no product for the UX designers to build upon.
3. Presentation of findings
Once their individual researches are done, it is time to get everything on the table. This is where the initial expectations of the company, the findings of the UI team and the ideas of the UX team come together to design something concrete. Up until this point, all members of the team are building designs based on assumptions about user behavior. And unsupported assumptions are of no good to anyone! Therefore, at this point, the UI Designers give insights to the rest of the team about the perception of users over the new product/feature, the highlights and the pain points so they can make derivations from it. With this input, the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) can be designed keeping in mind the input form all team members. The web development team’s role is crucial here as they help the team understand the practicality of their plans and can give options to make the product better such as web hosting options, alternative design options, etc.
4. Derivations and tweaks
After the above-mentioned steps, the wheels are set in motion and work begins. However, it is nowhere near completion. Throughout the process of building the app, learning need to be done based on feedback from all teams and derivations and related tweaks need to be made to the designs to make the product better. Any product, before their launch, builds multiple prototypes and learns and tweaks itself for the best possible outcome in the end. The UX Designers build a workable prototype, which is then tested with potential users. While turning wireframes into usable prototypes, the collaboration of the UX, UI, and web development team is very essential to designs, the capacity of the product, and the user experience being aligned and in place.
5. Testing designs
Now comes the fun part. After all that boring deriving, tweaking, and refining, it is time to finally see how your users find your product! Any product is usually first shared with a few users so that they can be tested for efficiency and convenience of use. This testing can be done in person or over the internet. There are usually a set of tasks set up by the UI designers that will help them understand user’s behavior and patterns upon completion of those steps. This is a very revealing step as you finally find out whether or not your users like your product, whether they find it easy to use, etc. And once the UI designers notice and develop new input to give, it is time to again implement changes, tweak designs, and do it all over again! The UX Designers here are important to point out the implementation capacity of this input.
6. Deriving the final designs
Once all the prototyping and testing is done, it is time to draw and build the final designs. At this stage, the UI designers hand over the final designs to the web development team. But it’s not as simple as passing over a notebook in a classroom. The web developers need to define what they need from the designers, what format they need it in, and the UI designers need to ensure they fulfil their criteria for a smooth handover. For example, the software the UI designers used to build the designs (sketch, illustrator, etc.) need to be accessible for the development team. Similarly, the fonts, colors, buttons, etc. need to be easily accessible to the UX Designers and the web developers. There are many collaborative tools one can use for a smooth handover between both these teams.
Once the designs are ready and handed over to the web development team, you might think it’s time to relax! But let me break your bubble, you couldn’t be more wrong. You’ll see that once the actual development process starts, many things might not exactly happen as mentioned in the design. The UI and UX designers need to be in touch with the web development team to give alternatives as and when required, while still keeping in mind what users would prefer. Sometimes it is also likely that the designs don’t get correctly read or interpreted. So, both UX and UI designers need to be in touch with the team to ensure that is avoided and no time is lost.
Even after the product is on the market, both these teams need to start building steps and designs for the next MVP! So, in conclusion, UX and UI designers are tied together for life and the tech team of a company can’t function without them working together closely.
P. S. Just to make sure you get Design Templates in the right place.