I’m not a fan a labels on people. On food, form fields, and bathrooms, sure – but not people. People are mutable, rarely fitting into one nicely defined category. And in UX, this is definitely the case. However, since UX spans such a wide-range of skills, it’s occasionally helpful to provide role definitely so that people know that there’s a lot more out there than just wireframes and visual comps. So here’s a very crude way of understanding the different roles (often held by the same person!) in UX.
Imagine you need to build a road. You go to your UX team:
Information Architect: “We must make signs so people know where to go. And those signs should be in a consistent order so they can navigate to where they need to be.”
Interaction Designer: “We must build on and off ramps and a divider to make traffic flow intuitive. They should be able to mark their favorite places in their GPS to make sure they can get back to them over and over.”
Visual Designer: “We must ensure the center line, signs, and ramps are easy to see and call attention to themselves. It should be fresh and modern and appealing.”
User Researcher: ” We must understand how many people will drive on this road and when. That will tell us how many on and off ramps to create, where to create them, which signs are needed and in what language, and what our tolerances are.”
Front End Engineer: “Guys…there’s a big mountain in the way…”
(Need I say it? Always involve development…)