THE UX BATTLE || The world from a UX starter’s eyes

The UX battle — UX Analysts & Designers VS(?) (UX?) Programmers

I was at a UX Meetup last week (or more, was a week when I started writing) and I realised a weird battle happening in the digital world.

I am a developer most of the time. Basically I am clarifying this because most UXers all around the web feel that the word developer is not to be paired with the UX “term”. Kinda.. 
Ok.. I now feel the need to explain that I am not the UXers adversary..

Ok.. This got out of hand.

Lets go back a bit.

It’s Tuesday, I have just closed the door leaving kinda early from a UX Meetup, and the idea for this article springs in mind. I have to say that this was one of the best cooperative mind chats I have had in my life so far. I mean.. It was friendly, it was not a boring presentation in any part and I got to learn a LOT. Bare in mind I am 32, I take part in quite a few meetups and open coffe events from different sides (Designer, Developer, Maker etc), and I am not an expert on the subject so there is still room for error.

The sidetalk of the Meetup was really buzzying as everyone would expect. The guys who took part at the presentation where very open and welcome, a few small chatgroups formed and since a lot of the guys where new to the event, everyone wanted to take part on the chat.

And then, the problem presented it self

While we were talking, most of the experienced UXers started pointing out that most UX ads these days really ask for a programmer. And really, a programmer is not the UXer’s job.

So the average job ad is like.. “UI/UX designer / developer with knowledge of Javascript, Angular JS, (add lower level programming language), 5 years experience in similar position, BA or Master in Computer Science or related subject.”

I have done quite some research after that (I am that kind of guy) and what I realised was this: A UXer is the guy that will analyse, design and carry out tests with a good team of people from all over the company to find out what needs to be changed, what needs to be done and how this will affect the whole turn over ratio product wise.

And all these ads really ask for a programmer!
I have been there obviously. Gone to many such interviews. 
(As a developer I suppose)

Yes, that does happen a lot lately! So why?

The problem as UX community worldswide presents it is that UX is not understood as a term. It is “not a thing” yet for many smaller markets, and besides big companies or companies having the brains to invest, the rest simply ask for a programmer that will insert some user interaction in a site.

The people in HR can’t be expected to know the difference..

To be honest though, it is not just them. Many programmers and designers don’t know the difference either. I my self understood pretty much nothing of what the actual job object is of a UX designer, and pretty much ignored the existance of a UX Analyst.

Until recently I never realised that there is a UX analyst that (alongside a team) researches and actually creates the data that explain the user need to be designed. He dives in the user profiles, searches video recordings of actual users, tests, makes quality control and user satisfaction tests, and realises what the users do. And what they do wrong because that might be a “user perceived bug”.

Most of the time, most of us take a job request asking to use our “guessing” skills and your previous expertise to imagine the needs, and either design or even more scary for the UXer, simply code them.

These guys are not this.
They DON’T guess. They analyse interpret and suggest.

Hold on! There is more though..

Most of the time, that is what the UX ad asks. A redesign / redevelop!

Now, like I said, I am a developer most of the time. And as a guy who can see the developer side, I have to say that UXers miss one part of the equation.

So as I was writing this, it hit me. Many people in the design industry never realise that developers dont like to code for human “interaction”!

Many programmers simply can’t afford to care about that!

Frontend programmers (if there even is a distinction of roles in most workplaces) have to care about: 
- Coding efficiently, 
- Producing the least required code that works as good as possible, 
- With the least pc power needed, 
- With small sizes so that mobile will get it working fast over 3g-4g, 
- Keeping responcive or mobile first design rules like holy scriptures, 
- Thinking over what the backend needs presented, 
- What the company owner wants presented, 
- What will look cool AND 
- What will use new technologies so that future browsers will use most of it BUT STILL WORKS on older ones..

IT IS A NIGHTMARE, trust me!

So when you ask a programmer to code for human interaction with the site, when you ask him to code with the user in mind you have to know that he has been doing so for a looooong time now. Just.. not in the way you think.

Many people take these for granted but it really is a lot of work!

Most developers don’t want to / can’t take part in the friendly for user interactions web developing. It is too much to ask of anyone really!

Hmm.. What then?

I believe, what the world needs is a new developer branch.
The UI/UX developers.

I mean really! Think of this hypothetical job, the “UX developer”. A person that will take the data provided, take the designer ideas and then make them.. animations, poping modals that say something, added value content and user stats!

Actual things!
I believe he should exist!

..It is getting late

This is my first medium article and I feel that it is getting drawn out. I started it a few days back and I am getting it too long, too fast.

I guess I better try and summarise and maybe add a small food for thought section and close this for now.

Ok, sum it up. 
The web needs new hands. New heads. New professionals that can (and are willing) to do all this. 
Web Developers are getting older. They started when the computerised web era exploded, like 20–30 years now. They are mid 40s in average and they can’t handle all this new staff every 2 months. 
I can barelly handle them and I am only 32!

The web is starting to get alive. The VR and AR is still young but when they grow and eventually kick in the web (and they will) what users will face will be a tsunami of poorly designed, poorly thought of and poorly developed website applications that really.. Won’t be just games.

Maybe next time you see such an ad.. I don’t know, maybe try to keep in mind why the people are so confused.. I believe it is a new job, not a wrong ad. Sort of.

Keep an open mind!
See you soon!

Like what you read? Give Kostas Tsakalidis a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.