Which design career should you go for?

A career in UX design is becoming an increasingly popular choice for many people. However, the job
titles associated with design can be confusing. This article aims to break down the confusion by looking
at 5 of the most common UX job titles and what they mean/what you would be doing in that position.


The 5 roles I will be focusing on are:

UX designer
Product designer
UI designer
UX researcher
UX Writer


Design Thinking Process


To understand which role would be suited to you in UX, it is important to understand that all UX
positions exist to serve the design thinking process. The design process is an iterative, non-linear
process focusing on the collaboration between users and designers. It is made up of 5 stages:
Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.


Empathise – Learning about your users.
Identify – Recognising any problems and your users’ needs.
Ideate – Assembling design ideas to solve those problems.
Prototype – Creating mock-ups that will eventually lead to the final product.
Test – Trialling your designs with users to improve them.


The 5 roles may contribute to some if not all of the 5 stages and next I will break down the roles and
where they sit within the stages.


UX Designer


A UX Designer will take charge of all 5 stages of the design process. They are in essence UX Generalists.
This area would suit anyone who enjoys taking part in the entire design process, that is from the initial
stage of understanding to producing a high-fidelity prototype.


In a larger company UX Designers would work in a team with UX Researchers and UI Designers.
However, in a smaller company or in a start-up, UX designers would handle all the work – and this is
something to consider when interviewing for positions if you would like to be working on a team.


Other common job titles for UX Designers are: UX/UI Designers, Experience Designers & Interaction
Designers.


Product Designer


Product Design is an area that continues to grow in UX. A product designer position over 10 years ago
would have invariably been looking at physical product design (which is still the case) but in terms of
UX it is a position like UX design, which involves all stages of the design process as well as helping to
shape the product roadmap.


This position would suit someone who loves the UX design aspect but who also loves collaborating
with different stakeholders within the business as there would be a lot of collaboration with Tech,
Product and Marketing teams to ensure that business goals are integrated into design and product
positions.


Other common titles for Product Designers: They do not really exist, however, certain companies see
Product Design and UX Design as identical, and that can be seen on job descriptions (if there is a
mention of shaping the product roadmap). Other companies may see them as Senior UX Designers,
who have the added responsibility of the companies’ product roadmap as one of their job
requirements.

UI Designer


A UI designer, unlike a UX or Product Designer is a specialist, focusing on the prototype stage of the
design process. UI Designers can also be responsible for creating design systems/style guides for
products, apps and/or websites. For this area it is such an important skill to have – to be able to create
reusable, scalable components and define them in a design system.


The concepts of Visual Design are especially important to this role, as having a deep understanding of
typography, colour along with gestalt theory and use of space are what will transform UX goals into
visually pleasing, easy to use and accessible designs such as an app or website.


Other common titles for UI Designers: Visual Designers


Important Note – UI Design is focused on Digital Products, and it is not in their scope to create
marketing/advertising campaigns. This is one common mistake that candidates can make when
applying for a UI position when their portfolio is much more aligned to Art Direction and Graphic
Design.

UX Researcher


A UX Researcher is also a specialist, who influences the first stages of the design process (empathize
and identify) as well as the final test stage.

Quantitative and qualitative research methods are used to provide real user information which UX
designers will then use to inform their designs. Quantitative methods would involve research such as
surveys and card sorting whilst qualitative methods would include doing research on user interviews and
observations.


UX Research may suit people who have started in a UX Design position and want to become more
specialised. It also interestingly attracts people from social & behavioural science backgrounds as it is in
effect all about the psychology of why people use a product.


Other common titles for UX Researchers: User Researcher, Research & Insights Specialist, UX Analyst


UX Writer


The last position on this list is that of the UX Writer. UX Design is about creating meaningful products,
and it is also about creating accessible products. A UX Writer plays an important part in this as their
focus is targeted at copywriting, more specifically microcopy (also known as UX copy) such as short
menu texts, button labels and CTAs (calls to action), modals and error messages – common UI
elements.


UX writers can be tasked with ensuring the products ‘voice’ is in line with their users and ensure that
the content they write is easily understandable for them. This again is a specialist position that is
focused on the prototype stage of the design process.


Other common titles for UX Writers: Content Strategist, Content Designer, Digital Copywriters


Important Note – Similar to UI design, this area can get muddled in with Marketing at times.
A UX Writer would be someone who would focus on content to improve the overall user experience,
whereas a copywriter (in a Marketing sense) is someone who writes to focus on promoting the
business sales. Take care when reading a job spec that it is the job you are looking to go into.



This list of course is not exhaustive of all the Design roles out there, there are others such as Service
Design and UX Engineers which are not mentioned here. However, these can act as a springboard
for you to move into a career in UX or pivot from one design area to another. Hopefully, this may
clarifysome questions you may have on UX.

If you want to learn more about different design roles, design skills or the different positions we have available, contact me today at [email protected] and take the next step in your design career!

View all of our design roles HERE.

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