UI stands for User Interface while UX stands for User Experience. First of all, a lot of people consider it to be the same which is wrong. They are highly related but quite different. UI is more related to designing aspect while UX is more related to analysis and technical aspects. There are many differences between UI/UX designer and UI/UX engineer even though they are likely to work together in a company. In short, the role of UI/UX designer is to research and design while the role of UI/UX engineer is to design and code it out. But a UI/UX is not necessary an application developer as an application developer mainly deals with the back-end development while UI/UX engineer deals with the front-end development.

Skill Requirements –

UI/UX Designer – The best way to understand the difference between UI/UX designer and UI/UX developer is to understand the skill set they need to possess. Coming first to the UI/UX designer, as stated earlier, they need to research and design. In other words, they need to understand and analyze the needs of the users and formulate concept and design ideas that those users will love to use. Therefore, they need to have an understanding of online users’ behaviors, psychology, and all the relevant aspects. In fact, one needs to walk in the shoes of the online users and get a complete hold of what is cooking inside their heads while they are browsing.

Shai Sum, Director of UX at Elementor (a go-to platform for UX/UI designers and web creators) sums it up nicely: ‘Information needs to be traded and reciprocated. What a UX designer learns about users, competition and industry cannot remain a trade secret. This goes both ways. UI designers need to share web design trends and standards with their UX colleagues.’

But that is all non-technical skills. For a UI/UX designer, the next skill set is more important and they are technical. It is related to graphic designing. A UI/UX designer needs to know all the industrial-standard design tools especially the ones that are commonly used. Not just that, he should have a complete idea about the professional designing process that involves the UI/UX engineer as well as the application developers. The wireframes of the application are designed by UI/UX designer which form the base on any application. Therefore, it is a combinational skill set of research, analysis, and design.

UI/UX Engineer – As stated earlier, the role of UI/UX engineer is more practical and technical. After the research and analysis part is done by the UI/UX designer, he collaborates with the UI/UX designer to create the wireframe and also understand the thought process and the concepts and reasons behind all the designs. He has to pay attention to the fact the design looks good and it is functional on all browsers or operating systems or machine configurations. A UI/UX designer may not have any idea whether what he is designing will work on all browsers or not and hence, the collaboration is effective to make the final design that works for the UI/UX engineer as well as the application developer.

After the collaboration is done, it is the duty of the engineer to translate the wireframes and all the concepts into the practical output. Therefore, apart from having a design skill set, he needs to know the programming languages used to design the front-end of any application. Among the front-end programming languages, HTML+JS+CSS are a must. Then it depends on the application as well as the technology the company uses for the front-end development. It can also depend on the requirement of the clients. Sometimes, the job of turning wireframes into HTML layouts is done by UI.UX designer and the UI/UX developer fine tunes them so that the application developer can start developing the back-end and integrate with the front-end seamlessly. He has to keep in mind how the designs of front-end he is doing are going to behave in different browsers, how much time it will take to uploading, how many resources it will consume, how the users will respond and much more.

Aspects Addressed –

A UI/UX designer is more concerned with the look and feel of the interface. He is into customer surveying, user analysis, and then doing design research of the competitors, and then conceptualizing the design ideas. After that, he is concerned with the branding and graphics development. On the other hand, a UI/UX engineer is concerned with responsiveness and interactivity. The first thing he pays attention to is UI prototyping. Once that is out of the way, he looks into the interactivity and animation aspects. The adaption to all devices, platforms, and browsers are taken care of and the cons of the design aspects are stroke off. Then he starts the implementation after getting the application developer on board.

In technical terms, the job description of UI/UX designer is research, information design, and visual design. The job description of UI/UX engineer is visual design, interactive design, and front-end development. Due to the front-end part, the pay of UI/UX engineers is more than UI/UX designer based on similar years of experience. You can start as a UI/UX designer and make a transition to UI/UX engineer with enough experience.

Kitty Gupta