There's No Such Thing As a UX/UI Designer.

And you are hurting real UI and UX Designers by pretending there is.

It's a trend we've been dealing with in IT for a long time. Job titles have become so complex that no one knows what they are about anymore.

A Junior Software Developer, I understand. And I have no problem with a Senior Data Scientist either. But what on earth is a Systems Engineering Technician? I met one once, and he could not explain to me what it was supposed to be, only what he did in practice.

Some companies seem to think that the solution lies in "embarrassing" names. The result is that we now have Chief Hackers. And Code Ninjas. And Tech Wizards. All they manage to do is make job ads unreadable. No one knows what it's about anymore, what his or her responsibility is, and how to explain what you do on a birthday.

Fortunately, that realization has slowly begun to sink in with most companies.

But we now have a bigger problem

In fact, I have been coming across job openings for UX/UI Designers continuously for the past few years. And I don't mean UX and UI Designers, I mean combined roles. Like it's the same thing. And hey, I do understand that these fields touch on each other. Indeed, for both, the following applies:

  • They touch on the user's primary process
  • They both develop prototypes
  • They both work together with front-end developers
  • They both care about colors

But that doesn't mean they are the same.

A UI Designer cares about what a user does, a UX Designer cares about how the user feels. This means that a UI Designer will be concerned with design, while a UX Designer is primarily concerned with testing and research. A UX Designer often doesn't get beyond wireframes, while a UI designer really develops prototypes.

And of course, a UI Designer can engage in the work of a UX Designer (and it's healthy that he does), but that doesn't mean it's the same. A baker also considers the nutritional value of his bread, but that really doesn't make him a dietician.

Pretending they are the same harms both UI and UX Designers.

This is because it is difficult for the true specialists to explain to uninformed clients that they can only take on part of the job. Clients are believing that a large proportion of UI Designers are also UX Designers. And vice versa, of course.

And yes, I am also arguing here that I have my doubts about full-stack developers. Full-Stack developers working on their own project: that makes sense to me, and I have no problem with that. Of course, that's the same for designers who pick up both UI and UX within their own project.

What I do have an issue with, are companies that put out job advertisements for Full-Stack developers. This is, for the same reason, harmful to both Front and Backend Developers. But it also harms Full-Stack developers, who don't have the space to develop and specialize optimally.

So, can we please stop posting job listings for Code Ninjas, and get back to our real jobs?