- Interaction Designer
- Visual Designer
- Motion Designer
- VR/AR Designer
- UX Researcher
- UX Writer
- UX Program Manager
- UX Engineer
- Conversation Designer
Currently, the UX field is in a constant state of maturation and increasingly branching off into further areas of specialization. In fact, UX design ranked #13 on LinkedIn's 2021 Jobs on the Rise list. Hiring for UX specialists grew 20% between 2019 and 2020. If you’ve been sneakily keeping an eye on the design market, you’ll have noticed a variety of UX job titles out there! As the UX field continues to constantly grow and evolve, the question is: what UX job suits you the most?
In this article, we're going to explore all of the most popular UX careers paths. I'll also discuss the tasks and responsibilities associated with each so that you can find your dream UX job ;)
So let's get started!
Interaction designers mainly place their focus on designing the experience plus function of a product. They try their hardest to understand the user flow. A user flow is a path that a typical user takes to complete a task on a product (app, website, platform, etc.). Interaction designers are a specialized type of UX designer at big companies.
Interaction designer uses their work to answer questions like:
What would happen if a user taps on this button?
How should we make this task easier for users to complete?
How are the design elements placed within the website?
They do not focus much on how the product looks. But they strive to make the product easy simple for users to navigate and interact with.
As the name suggests, they focus on the visuals. Their responsibilities include designing logos, illustrations, icons and deciding font color, size, and placement. They mainly focus on the layout of each page or screen in order to ensure that the design elements fit together in a visually "appealing" way.
As a visual designer, you'll have to think of solutions to questions like:
To fit the product's branding, what type of visual style should the icons have?
Which color and font should be used for this button?
Motion Designers think about what it would feel like for any user to move through a product. Another important aspect of their job is to create smooth transitions between pages on any type of product (an app or website). A motion designer may also create animations or visual effects in order to bring their design ideas to life! In simple words, they place their focus on design elements that move.
Motion designer uses their work to answer questions like:
How should an app transition between pages?
How do we show the connection between these actions?
What could be an engaging and interactive animation that will help tell our story to the world?
Such designers create products that provide users with immersive experiences that are not bound by the limits of our physical world. Basically, Virtual Reality (VR) involves a wearable headset that takes over a user’s vision. The headset then blocks out their physical surroundings and as a result, they are immersed in a completely virtual world. Whereas, Augmented Reality (AR) uses the physical world as a backdrop, adding virtual elements on top of it. In AR, users are still contextually aware of their surroundings, but their reality is augmented or you can say, "enhanced".
VR or AR designers use their work to answer questions like:
How do we create a user experience that leverages 3D space?
Could this action cause a user motion sickness?
A UX researcher conducts studies or even interviews in order to examine how people use a product. They mainly focus on identifying pain points that users are experiencing. They also explore how products can help solve those problems. Moreover, they check the usability of existing products. The main goal of any UX researcher is to understand how a product can provide a solution to a real problem that users are experiencing.
As a UX researcher, you'll have to think of solutions to questions like:
What specific problems are the users facing?
Is the design of this product easy for people to use?
Would people really be interested in this new design feature?
They focus on making the language within a product clearer so that the user experience is much more intuitive. UX writers help to define a brand’s voice and personality! Their work often includes writing labels for buttons and determining the tone of language used within any type of product (app or website).
They focus on answering questions such as:
What words could be used in order to communicate this idea clearly?
Should the tone be friendly or technical for this product?
What should the language on this button label say?
A UX program manager ensures clear and timely communication. This helps the process of building a useful product move smoothly from start to finish. Their duties might include setting goals, writing project plans, and even allocating team resources. They work across departments in order to make sure that UX is involved throughout a project's lifecycle.
UX program managers answer questions such as:
What are the major goals for this project?
How to achieve those goals?
How can we increase communication and improve processes within the team?
They translate the design’s intent into a functioning experience. Examples may include apps or websites. A UX Engineer helps the UX team to figure out if designs are intuitive or even technically feasible. They bring product concepts to life!
A UX Engineer answers questions like:
How to implement each interaction?
How do we build this design so that there is no major difference between the final product and the initial design?
How should we explore various alternatives to determine the best user experience?
If you observe a bit, you might see that conversational interfaces are just everywhere! From intelligent virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Siri to interactive voice response systems you can talk to, we all interact with conversational interfaces a lot. They even include automobile navigation systems and chatbots! Hence, conversation design is very important. It incorporates natural and real-world conversational behaviors into the interactions between users and the above-mentioned systems.
The ones who make this all possible are conversation designers. They use psychology, user research, technical knowledge, and even linguistics to create user experiences that are intuitive but also engaging. They develop the “persona” or personality of the voice. Moreover, they control the flow and dialog of the interaction as well.
A conversation designer answers questions like:
- What’s the ideal language and flow based on the following points:
who users are?
the task to be accomplished?
the context of the conversation?
Is the personality of the virtual assistant genuine and reflective of the brand values?
Does the virtual assistant offer a consistent and useful experience end-to-end?
So, there you have it: a list of 9 UX careers. Do note that a UX designer role may have various meanings to different companies. Even if you’re a UX generalist, you might have to fulfill some of the responsibilities that fall under these specialist job titles. This can happen especially when you’re working at a startup or a smaller organization.
Since all careers in UX are closely connected, there’s no need to rush to decide which career you want to pursue. Just master the fundamentals of UX design and then try one of the nine routes in the field. With time and some experience, you will have a better idea of how you want to steer your UX design career.