Which future for the UI/UX Designer ?
Discover the people involved in software creation and how they perceive their profession and its evolution.
This is the first article of a series dedicated to the different professionals that collaborate on the creation of software solutions. Among the various direct and indirect actors, the purpose is to focus on three principal users: the UI/UX Designer, the Business Innovator, and the Developer.
Reading time: 2’50’’
Today, lights on Alexander Imhoff, UI/UX Designer.
Q1. How would you define your profession and its role in software creation?
In my profession, I have to deeply understand an environment, an idea, a product, an intention and represent it in a creative and impactful way to boost performance.
My role in software creation is to build an intuitive and stylish interface that translates software complexity and makes it accessible to everyone. My main activities are User Experience and Design.
Q2. How has the profession evolved with the rise of technology?
At first, it was all about Art and Creativity. I graduated from Art School as a Graphic Designer and at this time, the purpose of our profession was to “make things look nice”. As I joined an agency, I then got to work on functional design projects like yogurt packaging. As a result, my profession shifted toward a design more centered on commercial performance, where an impact can be measured.
Then, with the rise of technology, I became a Web Designer. My tasks were to program on flash, take care of the domain name registration, create the visuals and even give advice on the written content.
“You could say that I was an artisan creating the digital product from A to Z.”
Today, I am a (beware of the list!):
User Experience Designer, User Interface Designer, UX/UI Designer, User Experience Engineer, User Researcher, Experience(only) Designer, UX Strategist, Design Thinker, Human-Centric Designer, Creative Thinker, Principle Designer, Product Designer, Interaction Designer, Information Architect, Customer Experience Designer, Customer Experience Researcher, CX Strategist, Visual Designer, Digital Designer, Service Designer, Visual Storyteller, Full-stack Designer…
What happened is that the evolution of technology broke down the process of Web Design into pieces and forced people to specialize in a part of that process. As in many fields, specialization and the apparition of new tools and methods contributed to the emergence of new roles that did not exist before.
“Unlike the artisan, I am now a strategic piece in a production line of experts.”
Q3. What have been the advantages and disadvantages of this evolution?
The advantage of evolving in such a diverse context is that I continuously have to reinvent myself and my profession. It is not about learning and applying a tool, but to shape my way of thinking, seeing and interpreting things. This is the only way to stay competitive.
On the other hand, this evolution accelerated users’ adoption cycle to new technologies. It is such a fast-paced environment that it became a continuous challenge to stay relevant and up to date. The risk is that by the time we deliver something, it might already be obsolete.
Q4. What are the new challenges that you are facing today?
Technology allows to be extremely precise and control the tiniest factor influencing performance. On the other hand, it also gives us the ability to get a global vision we’ve never had access to. The challenge is to find the balance in representing and including both concrete and abstract level during the creative process.
Q5. According to you, to which extent will the profession change again during the upcoming years?
I could see two tendencies.
Ultra-specialization: like in the Web Designer example, ultra-segmented to control all factors and moderate risk.
Ultra-polyvalence: technology allowing quick understanding and adoption of the tools without going too deep in details.
The quaternary sector is flourishing, instead of extracting and manufacturing raw material or provide services, this new sector is about innovation and entrepreneurship. That is, how can one liberate its creativity and feel free to go beyond what has been learned at school.
Integrated tool: design and create software at the same time
Platforms such as the Composer Draw are opening new development horizons to the UI/UX designer. By bringing back together what has been segmented during the past years (briefs, prototypes, specifications, front/back end…), the work of one another does not suffer risky misinterpretation anymore.
Collaborative visual software creation ensures an efficient development process and aligned end products.