If you're studying UX/UI design and looking to start a career in the field, you might feel overwhelmed by the various specialties within UX.
With options like UX research, product design, UX design, UI design, usability analysis, and UX writing, it can be hard to know which direction to take.
However, it's important to remember that no matter which path you choose, you'll be entering an exciting and fulfilling profession.
To help you navigate these options, we've outlined some of the possibilities within UX design. Keep reading to learn more about the various paths in this growing field!
The disciplines of UX Design
UX Design is a multifaceted career encompassing various disciplines, including interaction design, marketing, copywriting, usability, and more.
However, as technology continues to evolve and new areas of activity emerge, it can be challenging to understand the various fields and specialties that make up UX.
To help with this, in 2009, Dan Saffer created a chart that visually maps the areas of UX Design and how they interact (see image below).
The chart created by Saffer illustrates the vast scope of activities that fall under the umbrella of UX Design, with each discipline performing unique tasks.
Over the years, other authors have updated Saffer's mapping to include new disciplines and concepts, but the main areas remain the same.
This highlights the complexity and importance of understanding the various disciplines within UX to navigate the profession efficiently.
But what do these graphics and maps want to show us?
The intention is to help us understand what skills and activities UX Design professionals can perform within their careers. And here's a spoiler: there are many!
What are the possibilities for work in UX Design?
As seen, the possibilities for working in UX Design are many. But of course, there are the most sought-after specialties by companies.
Thus, InVision mapped out what these specialties are and built a guide to discuss the 6 most sought-after:
- UX Researcher;
- Information Architect;
- UI/UX Developer;
- Usability Analyst;
- UX Writer;
- Product Designer.
Let's take a look at each one of them?
The UX Researcher is responsible for elaborating and carrying out user research, aiming to identify behaviors, needs, motivations, and pains.
Here, the goal is to drive product development based on the information resulting from these surveys.
The Researcher usually works closely with product managers and developers to ensure a user-centered approach.
Some of their main activities include:
- Conducting interviews, research, and testing;
- Analyzing quantitative and qualitative research results,;
- Developing personas, user journeys, and prototypes;
- Communicating research results to the business.
If you enjoy spending time with people, analyzing them, and discovering what motivates them, this specialty is ideal for you.
Reading Tip: UI Design: An Essential Guide to the Profession
The Information Architect is responsible for structuring the content of a website or app to ensure a positive interaction and experience for the user.
Their work is based on the results of research and testing, and their goal is to meet user expectations regarding the structure of information presented in an interface.
Some of its main activities are:
- Analyze information from the results of user surveys and tests;
- Creating maps that illustrate the hierarchy of content in the interfaces;
- Elaborate prototypes and create templates;
- Developing models and flowcharts.
The Information Architect works closely with developers, the product team, and the content team. It is a specialty that has a close relationship with many areas and is directly linked to problem-solving.
Designers and developers usually operate in completely separate ways.
However, in UX, this separation is becoming less clear as companies opt for more optimized and leaner operations.
The UI/UX Developer is half designer, half developer. This specialty combines UX skills with UI and programming skills.
Some of their main activities include:
- Working with designers on design ideas and identifying potential problems, focusing more on technological possibilities and limitations;
- Developing graphical interfaces (code);
- Developing mockups and prototypes, and identifying technical difficulties with user experience.
The UI/UX Developer is the bridge between designers, developers, and the product team. This professional needs to be flexible as they will work on various UX activities.
The Usability Analyst primarily focuses on the usability of interfaces.
Their goal is to ensure that products are user-friendly in terms of their interaction and experience.
It is an essential specialty because it is about making sure that the product will be a success among users.
Some of their main activities include:
- Working with the research team, assisting in usability testing;
- Applying usability inspection methods such as heuristic, cognitive and persona-based guidelines;
- Translating observations and insights into action plans with the design team;
- Developing prototypes and wireframes;
- Identifying usability gaps, and presenting solutions.
The Usability Analyst is a specialty that is fully aligned with the concepts of usability and User-Centered Design. It is an ideal career for those who like to identify problems and improve user interactions.
The UX Writer has become a highly desired specialty for teams and companies because it is an intersection of UX, Copywriting and Branding.
In this way, the UX Writer focuses on understanding the user's needs while designing the tone of voice that the product is intended to convey, as a brand strategy.
The role of the UX Writer is to ensure that all text found by the user in interfaces and products will help them in their experience and journey.
The main activities of this specialty are:
- Working with research and product areas to understand personas, their needs, and their pain points;
- Copywriting – writing friendly texts at all user interaction points;
- Understanding how writing and interaction work together to build a coherent narrative in the user journey.
At first glance, UX Writer may seem like a simple specialty, but upon closer analysis, this is a complex area that requires a lot of skill in both design and writing.
The apple of the market’s eye! The professional desired by so many companies, but why?
As you have noticed, the other professionals are very specialized and end up focusing on just one part of the process. Product Designer, on the other hand, is a professional who can go from end to end in the project, possessing the skills of UX Design and UI Design.
In addition, Product Designers work with digital products, and this makes this professional have a very broad range of skills, including:
- UX disciplines;
- Project management methodologies;
- People management.
All of these skills, combined with the ability to move between technical and business aspects of a product, make the Product Designer a highly coveted professional by companies, and no wonder!
The Product Designer works with UX in:
In addition to these UX Design skills, the Product Designer also understands UI. They are responsible, for example, for:
- Creating harmonious and easy-to-use interfaces;
- Create wireframes;
- Create prototypes of interfaces;
Thus, the Product Designer is a professional with a high level of knowledge who can understand the entire process of creating a digital product. From user research to prototypes and development of final interfaces.
Reading Tip: Why Are Balanced Teams So Important To UX?
In what areas do UX Design professionals work?
The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) conducted a survey that, among other insights, showed what UX Designers work with most frequently.
Most respondents answered that they worked on developing websites and mobile applications, companies, and desktops.
As a result of this research, we can see that UX activities can be applied to many different types of products in many different areas.
There are also countless companies that are hiring UX professionals. From startups to banks. We can take some examples from our own MID students:
- Alyson Ambrósio works at Alfred Delivery, a delivery app;
- Rodrigo Guilherme works at Stefanini Brasil, IT solutions consultancy;
- Daiane Thomé works at Mercos, a software development company;
- Daniel Hildebrandt works at BMO, Bank of Montreal;
- Juliana Nieri works at Juno, a Fintech.
As companies become aware of the importance of UX in their processes and strategy, new opportunities in new markets are arising.
In addition to the many opportunities, UX Designers are happy with their work and earn good salaries.
UX Design provides the most varied types of jobs, in many different areas and types of companies. But are designers satisfied with their profession?
According to the NN/g UX Careers Report, yes, they are!
On a scale of 1-7, the average of the survey responses was 5, which shows a high satisfaction with the career, on the part of professionals.
What most UX designers are dissatisfied with, however, is not the profession itself. But the lack of opportunity to use their UX skills on a daily basis. Or the unfavorable environment to learn more about usability.
Salary has also proved to be an important factor, as the salary for UXers has been increasing in recent years, according to a report by InVision:
84% of Product Designers have had a salary increase in the last 2 years and the prospect is for another 20% increase in the next period.
The job possibilities within UX Design are many. But this does not mean that it is easy to acquire all these skills. Remember to always keep studying about the concepts, market and possibilities. By keeping up to date you become a more complete and updated professional!