UX Design

Are You a UX/UI Designer?

Think again & label yourself properly

Niki Tisza
Tiny Design Tips


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Labelling ourselves when we do interaction design is tricky.

Have you ever labelled yourself as a UX/UI designer?

Don’t worry. We’re all guilty of this.

I remember it was 2014 when I applied for a UX/UI Designer position. I was excited when I got the offer, but the title didn’t sit well with me. So, I asked the CEO to change it for me to be a Digital Product Designer instead of a UX/UI Designer. He was open to it; he knew very little about the space, so he trusted me with my suggestion. It didn’t matter for the company because it was a startup with no career GPS in place or any career development opportunity. They were like, if we make this product successful, that’s a good problem to have. If we don’t make the product successful, let’s just give in to this candidate because it won’t matter in a couple of years.

Sidenote: It didn’t matter, sadly, as all of our jobs were made redundant in 2 years as the business shot down, but that’s a story for another time.

See, the problem is 2-fold with the UX/UI designer title.

  1. There are the people who label themselves as UX/UI designer and
  2. There are companies that are looking for UX/UI designers. Check out LinkedIn to see how many (even UX agencies) are unclear on the terminology.

Both of them contribute to digging the ditch of confusion.

Let’s Dive In: What’s Wrong With the Title?

Wrong #1

Let me better illustrate the relationship between UI and UX design through an analogy to see how UI is an integral component of UX.

Imagine you’re a Baker/Chef in a fine-dining restaurant.

In this scenario, being a baker is like specializing in UI Design, where you focus on the specifics — the ingredients, measurements, and techniques required to create delicious breads, pastries, and desserts. It’s all about the details, aesthetics, and immediate sensory experience, similar to how UI centers on a product’s visual and interactive elements.

On the other hand, being a chef is more similar to UX Design. A chef needs to understand not just the individual dishes but also how they fit into a broader menu, the overall dining experience, nutrition, dietary needs, and even kitchen management. This is much like how UX encompasses a broader scope, including user research, understanding the users’ needs and behaviours, and designing a cohesive product experience.

So, saying you’re a Baker/Chef somewhat muddles the distinction.

While baking is a crucial skill within the culinary world, it’s just one part of the vast expertise a chef needs to master. Similarly, UI is a vital UX component but doesn’t encompass the entire UX domain.

Wrong #2

Equating UI with UX and bundling them together in a job title is misleading. It implies that they are equal halves of a mysterious whole, leading to confusion about their distinct roles and importance.

Why Can’t We Let the UX/UI Designer Title Go?

I can think of many reasons.

  • SEO searches: How do recruiters and clients find us on LinkedIn if we don’t add it to our title?
  • Lack of education in the field: We can all do better when educating our employers about our title. You don’t need to wait until you get to the job offer part; you can ask during the screening interview if there’s a chance to change the job title if you get an offer (if the company advertised a UX/UI designer role).
  • The old saying with no growth mindset: ‘We’ve always done it this way!’ — This goes back to the education part.

What Are The Alternatives?

We should aim for a more descriptive title that reflects the responsibilities and skills you need to do your job well.

Product design doesn’t quite capture UX/UI design because there are actual product designers who design physical products, and we’re not one of those.

To clearly distinguish yourself from the physical product designers, my favourite alternative title is ‘Digital Product Designer.’ That encompasses 3 aspects of our work:

  • 20% UX research
  • 50% UX design
  • 30% UI design

Speaking of titles, recruiters, and LinkedIn. If you’d like to craft an attention-grabbing resume that passes the widely-used ATS (Applicant Tracking System), this video is for you. Make sure to head into the description section to get your free downloadable.

If you’re new to me, my name is Niki. I’m a part-time writer with a 9-to-5 job in tech.

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