For today though, the awkwardly constructed “UX/UI Designer” and “full-stack designer” persist because building a creative unit of specialists is very expensive. The IxD and VizD core alone is worth in excess of $250,000 a year if a business wants to compete for worthwhile senior talent, and that’s before we even consider user research or programming costs. For a lot of companies this simply isn’t tenable, but neither is the cost of a creative agency. As a result, SMBs have mobile engineers building HTML templates, “full-stack” designers as an all-in-one solution, and their user-research budget is thinner than a 1990s Calvin Klein model. Things are changing though, and doing so much more quickly than a lot of people realize.
It’s deceptively simple: UX isn’t a deliverable, or even a set of assets. UX is a creative ideation process that drives business value based on clear and present user needs. It focuses the efforts of specialists, who work together to build a better product. UX provides a structure and that structure ensures desirable, consistent, and measurably successful results.
I use emotional design to refer to those aspects of product design that help create an emotional connection with the user: form, color, graphics, images, textures, sounds, animations, typography, the wording of text, and so on. Designers who are experts in these areas can take a product that is already meaningful and easy to use and make it a delightful experience for users. The ability to create delight in these kinds of details is a special skill that cannot be replicated through iteration and testing. Yes, you can do A/B testing to find out if users are more likely to click on a blue or an orange button, but no amount of A/B testing is going to create a delightful product.