What a UX engineer suppose to do?
What comes to your mind when you think of a UX engineer? Is it a person who designs cool User Interfaces? Or a person who decides the application flow? Or even something else? Yes, you are correct up to an extent BUT that’s not what a UX engineer is supposed to do. You’ll understand all about what a UX engineer does in this post.
So let’s clear out the difference between UI and UX. Simply UI is not UX. UI is how it looks and UX is how it works. It doesn’t have to be a software, it can be a simple flyer, or maybe a mobile phone design. For example, where exactly the power on button of a mobile phone should be placed. So the range of a UX engineer is not limited to the software UI.
Now let’s look into the differences of UX and UI in detail. As elaborated in the infographic, a UX engineer engineers the interaction design, wire-frames and prototypes, and information architecture. He also researches into users and scenarios related to the solution. On the other hand, a UI engineer is the person who does the visual design and deals with colors, graphics, layouts etc.
When does the UX engineer comes to play?
Think of a situation where there’s a customer and there’s a problem he’s planning to solve. So the customer has an idea to build a software to solve that problem. Then he gives that idea to a company to build the software that he desires. The developers in that company are totally relying on the customer’s feedback and they develop the product to meet his requirements just the way he planned. Do you think this product will be successful? The answer is NO. The chances of that solution being the best possible marketable product is very low.
Reasons are: What if the end users of this product don’t feel the same experience that the customer felt? What if they wanted the product to be simple to use, the user interfaces don’t appeal to them, the product is too slow and users won’t bother spending money on it. More importantly, does the customer understand the problem well? Now that’s where the UX engineer comes into action.
Pain & Gain balance?
Confused with the terms? Yes, it is PAIN and GAIN. It’s a small concept in UX that is used to decide whether a product is highly marketable from user experience. So as mentioned, the key factors are the pain and the gain. Pain can be defined as the difficulty of using the product by the end users or the effort put into doing a specific task. And the gain can be defined as the problem the product is solving. As said in the bible, “nothing is new under the sun”. Similarly, the solutions or the products we come up are not new, it’s only that the pain can be reduced by different approaches.
For example, communication between two people. So the initial solution for this was the telephone and from that the gain was covered. But still the pain is high because people had to go to a specific place to do the communication. And then comes the mobile phone which is portable and easy to use while traveling and so on. So in this scenario, as shown in the diagram, the gain is equal but the pain is different — pain is high in the telephone but it is low in the mobile phone, which is the key point. The lesser the pain, the more users tend to use the product. And that’s another situation where the UX engineer comes in, reduces the pain and increases a product’s marketability.
A UX Engineer is the person who should communicate with all the three parties and understand the business model, understand how end users behave, what they prefer, the most creative ways to change a normal solution to a proper marketable product, etc. Therefore, UX engineering is the stage where a complex solution becomes a simply awesome product. As shown in the diagram below, the UX engineer should be in the middle of the triangle to make a successful product. Not in the left corner between developer and the customer, or not in the right corner between customer and problem.
What are the skills required?
You should have a wide range of knowledge, from awareness about business models to the technical feasibility of products and a high level of creativity — creativity in the sense, not only cool designs or UIs. It’s all about approaching and solving a problem creatively. The most important skills are to think analytically and understand what users expect with the help of psychology to provide the best user experience, a high level of communication to be able to enlighten people about the solution, ability to observe user behaviors continuously and identify issues and the ability to come up with different UX strategies. Talking about different UX strategies, the same strategy will not solve all problems. Take Google as an example, almost all of their products are performing brilliantly and users love them but is it the same with Google+? No, right? Because the same strategies will not solve all problems. Therefore, UX engineers should come up with different unique strategies to solve a problem successfully.
That’s the basic idea of what a UX engineer does. See you again in another blog post.