Designer titles have become unnecessarily complicated these days.
We like to use an insane number of acronyms, like UI, IxD, IA, UX, and many, many more.
It’s become such an inside joke that you’ll find websites that will auto-generate ridiculous titles like:
While we won’t cover ALL designer title acronyms that are found in the design world, we will cover some major ones.
So…what iIs the difference between UI, IxD, IA, UX?
UI designers are responsible for making the visual design of a website appealing to users while following a business’ brand guidelines.
UI designers need to follow a company’s style guide to design an interface that both pleases the user but also meets the business’ visual brand (i.e. they need to make it look consistent).
That means knowing the sizing of buttons, the colors used to highlight elements on a page, what graphics to use, which font types and sizes are needed, how the business uses icon assets, etc.
Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator
This role supports PANDORA’s strategic ambition to be industry leading in omnichannel and grow our Global eCommerce business by providing critical in-house design leadership across our digital technology stack. This role will be part of a dynamic team who are responsible for all of Pandora’s websites globally.
Interaction designers make it their goal to make sure that any interactions a user has with a product are simple and smooth.
The interfaces these designers create are logically thought out. All behaviors and actions are intentionally designed specifically so that the product is simple for the user to use. That means that the actions allowed by the product need to be intuitive and have a defined purpose. In other words, interaction designers design the flow through the application.
An interaction designer might also have the duties of a UI designer because designing the flow of a user interface, or UI, usually includes designing the UI itself as well.
Axure, Sketch, InVision
Are you ready to do the best work of your life? Is every project an opportunity for you to gain a deeper understanding of users and improve your abilities? Do you want to own the experience from concept through implementation? Then join us as we redefine what it means to experience content on the PlayStation® platform.
As a Designer at PlayStation, you will play a key role in shaping the world’s largest game and content distribution platform. You will collaborate directly with a talented cross-functional team of designers, researchers, engineers, and business partners to ideate, communicate and define experiences that both delight users and support our growing business.
While this role is located in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMa district, you will be part of the larger SONY global design group, collaborating with designers both locally and globally to elevate the design practice across the organization while being exposed to emerging technologies.
As a Designer in this role, You Will
Information architects make sure the product’s content is logically structured and organized.
Information architects tend to be organized individuals. They need to make vast, complex information/content easy for users to navigate through. Basically, if the user is at sea, IA designers would be the compass.
That means being able to predict what a user might search for. IA designers often do this by doing an audit of an application. They will break down all the content on a website first, group similar information, create categories and subcategories, make hierarchies of information, and design menus. Organization and logic are key here.
Omnigraffle, Axure, Keynote, Visio
From Amazon Web Services:
The ideal candidate will have a track record of driving enterprise-level information architecture, communicating content strategy to senior-level executives, managing complex projects with multiple stakeholders and competing priorities, and successfully resolving issues. You will possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills and an ability to translate ambiguity and incomplete information into insights and bias for action. You will have a customer-obsessed and collaborative approach, a strong desire to learn and be curious, and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get things done.
UX designers try to make the best experience possible for users that interact with their products.
If you think the goal definition above is broad, you would be correct. A UX designer tends to be a combination of UI design, interaction design, and information architecture design. A good UX designer has a good understanding of research, design, and (a bit of) coding.
UX designers usually start with setting goals for the product and initially defining who the users are. They then look at what competitors are (or aren’t) doing, talk to users, and analyze existing data that could explain common user behaviors.
Much like interaction designers, they will create user flows and journey maps. Much like information architects, they will create site maps that show the hierarchy of information of the website.
After wireframing to create a skeleton version of the application, UX designers will create mockups, much like UI designers. These mockups are then turned into prototypes that are tested with users to make sure the product creates a good user experience (these tests are normally called usability tests). Then, the cycle of all the above starts all over again with the new information they’ve received. This iterating method is called agile.
If you want to learn more about UX design, we wrote another article here that goes into more detail.
Sketch, InVision, Adobe Photoshop, Axure
As a UX Designer, you will own and lead feature development. You will be able to navigate ambiguity and contribute to early product definition. You are also able to create elegant design solutions within a fast moving, agile environment. You are also able to combine strengths across disciplines to create a compelling and effective point of view.
You will bring a mix of great visual aesthetic with an ability to understand how to make a complex product feel simple and intuitive. You should have an inspiring portfolio, great design sense, a love for complex problems and the ability to clearly articulate how a product should work both in software and in the physical world.