Most agencies are not accustomed to working with or hiring UX experts on their teams. Over the past few years, there has been growing demand from clients who are seeking UX expertise from their agencies.
While most think a UX Designer is a magician who can tackle Research, Wireframes, Designs, Interactions, Prototypes, Usability Tests, Analysis and Development Handoff, this is largely untrue. The reality is, there are experts in each one of these fields and in order for your team to succeed we recommend finding one of each.
This guide will teach you how to define each role in the field and why it’s worth the investment.
A Product Designer is the combination of both a UX/UI Designer and it is how we at Academy refer to our Design team. Below is a more detailed description of the distinction between the two fields but for the purposes of our projects we refer to them by one name. We feel it’s important our Product Designers understand both the visual aesthetics as well as the usability of a product, which is why we have made the decision to make them one in the same.
- UX DESIGNER (USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER)
- A UX Designer will lead the team and work collaboratively with your Researchers, UI Designers, Interaction Designers, Product Managers, Developers, Users and Clients to ensure a fluid experience that logically flows together. They will organize/lead Design Sprints around the problems you are trying to tackle, oversee research, analysis, wireframes, visual design, interaction design, prototyping, usability studies and more.
- Why it’s worth it: You will need a person who really understands each role and can be your liaison between the client, users, design, development, and management. Invest heavily in this unicorn they are hard to find.
- UI DESIGNER (USER INTERFACE DESIGNER)
- A UI Designer will build the design language associated with a particular product, service or strategy. They are responsible for the aesthetics, usability, and accessibility of a Design. Further, they will create a Design Language Systems that will serve as the guiding principle and will allow for more efficient component-based design and development.
- Why it’s worth it: You will need a person who can empathize with a user and truly put themselves in their shoes. Finding a high-quality UI Designer can be challenging but it’s also a skill that can be easily developed.
INTERACTION DESIGNER (MOTION DESIGNER)
An Interaction Designer is primarily responsible for all the animations, transitions, and micro-interactions that happen inside a product. They will use tools to evoke anticipation, expectation, surprise, mystery, and delight that will make the user experience feel fluid and seamless.
Why it’s worth it: There are people who specialize in this, and because they have a deep understanding of both Design, Motion, and Code they will be invaluable as you get further into the process. If you can’t find one, try to find a motion designer who really wants to learn.
UX RESEARCHER (USER RESEARCHER)
A UX Researcher will conduct stakeholder interviews, perform analysis on analytics, customer complaint logs, user interviews, and help build a complete understanding of a product, service or strategy prior to any design or development. They will provide a clear picture of the problems the team will need to tackle and set the benchmarks for the prototype and usability study. Once Design/Prototypes are complete they will also be responsible for conducting a Usability Study and Analysis that will be presented back to the client and team upon completion with a recommendation for a path forward.
Why it’s worth it: UX Researchers are critical to the operation as they are trained professionals who know how to remove bias from studies and ask the right questions to elicit the best answers. Having someone other than a professional do this will skew your results and could lead to bad decision making.