Thoughts on UX & Design

In 2007, I supported an expansive suite of research products at a large company. For years I spent most of my work life gaining insights from customers, walking with them through their experiences while using our platform. As a result, user experience became glued to the forefront of my mind. At that time, I had no clue that I would eventually build products.

I’m now a full-stack software engineer for a healthcare innovations company. I’m only into my 5th week in the role with a code base that is vastly different from my last job, but I’m already helping to develop a product geared toward making life easier for patients and care providers in EmberJS & Ruby. When I’m not at the office, I build everything from front to back-end side projects with an occasional freelance endeavor.

As web developers/engineers we can never reach our full potential without designers and they will never see their concepts materialize without engineering. We must do more than just co-exist. Our success depends on our willingness to collaborate and support each other.

So what is the difference between UX and UI design? Here’s an explanation from a source I found that briefly addresses the question…

UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process and the design discipline. Where UX Design is a more analytical and technical field, UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.

As a developer with a mind often wandering into various crevices & caveats of UX, I don’t believe web designers are often granted the respect that is due to them. The time and skill needed to create a seamless and remarkable user experience from both a UX and UI perspective seems like it requires extreme mental and emotional investment. I know for a fact that development does. While I don’t get paid to conceptualize layouts at my day job, UI design is something I have the deepest respect for. Every web developer should embrace the designers on their team and vice versa because without our collective skill set, much of our work remains hidden. Moving one another forward is our only option. We validate each other across the board in terms of delivering creative solutions and building business value.