UX Engineer vs. UX Designer: The Difference

Interface

Have you visited a site or opened an app with cluttered information and found it difficult to get the information you want? Many users have experienced such frustrations when dealing with certain web products. After the first trial, you might opt to delete an app from your smartphone. Or might never visit a particular website again. Conversely, other web products are user-friendly and appealing to users. Such apps are easily navigable, offering a seamless experience. 

In web development, you need a UX engineer and a UX designer to create exceptional products. These professionals are responsible for creating appealing and functional products. When you hire user interface designer, you must also include the two experts for a smooth workflow. 

There is a huge demand for UX engineers and designers since many companies develop different web products today. Many people are familiar with UX design since it entails enhancing user experience. But a UX engineer is responsible for the entire technical aspect of a web product. These experts are also known as front-end developers. While both are essential roles in web development, distinct differences set the two professions apart.

This article highlights the differences between a UX engineer and a UX designer and their roles in web development. 

Say Hello to UX Designer 

The UX expert makes digital products seamless. These designers must conduct thorough research to understand what the users need and determine ways to enhance interaction with a product. What are the essential touchpoints? How do the users feel about a particular task? 

The primary goal is to make sure the customers enjoy the overall experience while using the product. Most customers will abandon a task if they encounter friction. For instance, when shopping online on an e-commerce platform, you realize the registration takes too long with unnecessary details. Thus, a UX designer plays an essential role in ensuring less friction and product satisfaction.

UX design involves extensive research and data analysis to achieve accurate results. Thus, UX experts must know the market trends and establish the target audience. 

Tasks

  • Research market trends and customer behavior.
  • Develop interactive user models with easy access. 
  • Implement appealing designs.
  • Create product mockups.
  • Develop essential elements for the product interface – tabs, CTAs, etc. 
  • Test and troubleshoot UX problems. 
  • Liaise with the marketing team to link business goals with product design.  

Skills

  • Creative suite programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Sketch.
  • Programming languages – Javascript, HTML, etc.
  • Experience in wireframing and tools.
  • Knowledge of current UX design trends.   

Who Is a UX Engineer? 

While a UX designer is more familiar with web development, a UX engineer is also an important professional. Also known as UX developers, these experts focus on the front-end operations to ensure the users interact seamlessly with the product. The interaction entails the clicks and swipes from the entry point until the task is complete. 

You can sometimes double-tap an app or swipe to access the next section. Such interactive features are made possible by UX engineers. Therefore, they must work closely with designers to determine the user’s sequence of actions in the product. 

The engineers also apply their expertise to understand user behavior when engaging with particular design elements. Usually, this information is available after the UX team conducts their research and usability tests. 

Developing-Interface

The major difference that sets UX engineers apart is their main emphasis on the technical aspects of a UX design. These experts develop prototypes and test them on a target group to check their reception and usability. Their job is to incorporate features that reduce friction during user interaction. Usually, this happens when the product is in the final phase. 

Tasks

  • Perform extensive research on the target users and the product. 
  • Create data architecture to establish user persona.
  • Develop wireframing tools, and relevant user flows.
  • Develop prototypes and enhance them through user feedback.
  • Link visual elements through coding.

Skills

  • Knowledge and experience in relevant programming languages
  • Experience in using advanced coding programs such as Ajax, Java, PHP, Ruby, etc. 
  • Expertise in Creative programs – Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, etc. 
  • Competency in CMS tools 
  • SEO skills.

The Differences 

It can be tricky to distinguish between UX designers and engineers. Their skills are closely related since their main focus is on user experience. However, the two roles are different since the end goal is distinct as well. 

  • While designers focus on aesthetics, engineers ensure the elements run smoothly and logically in practical app use. 
  • The engineer’s role entails a lot of coding and requires diverse knowledge and experience in several programming languages, unlike the designers, who require more research and data analytical skills. 
  • UX developers are the storytellers who develop prototypes and bring the product to life. In contrast, the designers polish it with visual appeal and make the product sparkle to connect with users. 

In short, the designers brand the product and incorporate exceptional graphics. Conversely, the engineers are the brains behind making the product responsive and highly interactive. 

Since the engineer’s role is more technical, they receive a higher compensation package than the designers. Therefore, you can begin your career as a UX designer and progress to an engineer with relevant skills and experience over time. 

Final Word 

UX design is a crucial phase of web product development. It is impossible to launch a product to the market without concentrating on the user experience. You need to consider numerous UX aspects, do research, develop a strategy first, and then realize it technically. Thus, UX is about theory that informs the development practice. 

Most startups often hire a UX designer to do the job of a developer, especially if they have coding skills. Still, it is imperative to note that a UX designer has different roles and responsibilities compared to a UX engineer. 

To streamline your product’s user experience, make sure you hire competent experts for the two positions. So, take time to analyze each UX professional’s skills, experience, and expertise during the recruitment process, finding the right person for each of these two roles. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.