UX Design: Defining the need for the UX Developer
As the User Experience field continues to grow and become more defined in our industry, there is an emerging need for the “UX Developer.” Especially when you are the one person ux team at your company or you have a small to medium ux team, you tend to find yourself usually spread thin. Normally, struggling to stay ahead of the development sprint cycle, you sometimes tend to find yourself falling behind deliverables, which in turn may not allow you to submit your wires or design on time…sound familiar?
Lately, I’ve had the privilege of learning from other top UX designers in the industry, where they have shared concepts such as realtime design collaboration with the business and tech leads, to strategies of better managing these situations. However, even knowing all of the above, it is sometimes not enough.
In order to meet today’s fast pace changing industry, part of any UX team should involve key or lead developers that are UX trained or have a user first approach.
It’s not just UX designers anymore that a team should rely on but also having trained UX Developers is a huge advantage to any team. UX Developers can not only be relied as technical lead, but also team up and support the UX Designer when discussing design and technical challenges with steak holders about what can be the best user experience from a technical perspective.
You may have a few “Hybrid Designers” that can code and design, but those are rare. The majority of designers have little understanding of what the technical challenges are and what a developer goes through to accomplish what’s proposed on the design. Having a developer that can understand usability and that can be aware of human mind mental models, or a user first approach makes a world of a difference in all aspects of the project life cycle.
Hearing your developer speak up and defend the design decision with examples of best ux practices from a technical perspective is always refreshing to hear.
Furthermore, having a developer that truly understands user behaviors and champion user first approach has additional benefits.
If you have a huge project that’s moving at a rapid pace and you have a small ux team that is starting to fall behind completing deliverables, you can now rely on your developer to take care of basic UI interactions and features.
This alleviates some pressure off of the ux designer and it does not hold up the project. This allows the developer to run with the basic overall concept and structure, helping align the key components in the UI and keeping the user in-mind throughout the development process.
Later the UX designer can come back and provide tweaks and changes in the next iteration (assuming you are working in an Agile structure) vs having to spend hours designing that whole screen or wire framing each section.
A UX Developer should understand: Human Mind Usability, Mental Models, User Interface Best Practices, Scaling Interfaces from a UX perspective, Mobile Interaction Best Practices, etc.