Is the UX Guy just a UI Guy who likes to sound fancy? Hmm…
Decided to clear my mind (and yours) about the situation. Who am I? Am I really a UX guy or would I rather call myself a UI Engineer. To answer these questions, let's clear out the meaning behind these ‘fancy’ words.
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design
User Interfaces have been there with us since late 1970’s ever since people started inventing new ways of interacting with computers. Its about everything that is used to communicate with a computer.
Even the command line interface is a user interface and works in its own awesome ways to make Human Computer Interaction(HCI) a more pleasant experience. Notice that I have emphasised ‘experience’. Which will bring us to User experience since whenever we talk about a UI or an Interaction between a human and a computer, it’s inevitable to leave out about experience… Why? because we are humans and we built these things to aid us, to make life easier for us. So, how can it not be about User Experience. Aha, now you should understand that anything that is related to a user will always have an experience part to talk/think about. Because,
We value what it meant to us, what it's like to feel using it. We constantly measure how difficult or easy it was and think about ways to improve it. We humans, are awesome like that..! ;)
By now, You and I both understand that UX and UI go hand and hand and where there’s one, there’s always the other. Now lets see how UX and UI are both fruit but not the same fruit.
User experience came to play a little bit later as people begin to think of improving the way things work regards to humans. Although there were interfaces available at that time and most computer vendors were moving rapidly towards windowed and icon based interactions from command lines, they were happy with just UIs that works. They didn’t spend time to think about “what would I feel if I were to use this computer/application/product etc..”
Although the term user experience is being used in early as 1980’s the major breakouts were gained with Apple’s rise, dominating personal computing. This was the era that defined UX and people started thinking about UX taking their step back to see the UI in another’s perspective.
So Who does What?
This is a sample of how We(The UX Guys and UI Guys) should be recognised and understood. Its obvious that a UI guy will naturally be attracted and interested in UX and vise versa. Most of the time both is an essential job requirement in industry. You can read more about job related stats on above image link. But that's not we are here for.
There are times that I Myself have this identity crisis when it comes to certain tasks. This must be due to Me being a UI Engineer for a pretty long time and having introduced UX in later days. Whatever the reason, It’s all about adaptation. When times change, people change, everything changes.
YES, We are UI Guys who does UX. But are We living a lie covered in a fancy word? NO, We wear multiple hats time to time, Empathise with users, Try to better understand systems, build hypothetical designs hoping to improve, test to validate our hypothesis. Constantly keeping business goals align with what User needs.
As you can see, it's having best of two worlds, And it's apparent that there's a lot of hard work involved. Most of UX/UI Guys and Ladies I know are very positive and sunny people. Maybe this is why.
As a self-proclaimed UX/UI Engineer, I hope I answered my own question (and Yours if you had the same) to a certain extent. Hoping to share more thoughts in future blogs.