In recent years there’s been a surge in demand for designers with both UX and UI design skills. Many of our clients call a candidate with both these abilities a ‘product designer’.
Because of this relatively recent trend, designers have taken to upskilling in both areas, enabling them to position themselves to design from the ideation stage, all the way through to product delivery.
With this in mind, we ask: “can you be both a great UI and a UX designer?”.
Cogs’ Head of UX & Service Design, Claire Sadler says, “It is a common view that as a designer, you consider all touchpoints and interactions when designing anyway, so a hands-on skill in both areas is not out of the ordinary”.
Claire continues “There will always be specialists in separate areas, from core UX practices (discovery, research, user journey creation, information architecture, prototyping and testing) to design (digital, visual, interface, graphic)”.
With so many different roles and requirements across the thousands of businesses in London, designers – whatever their form – are encouraged by employers to focus on areas they are most competent at – whether that is both UX and UI design together, or their smaller specialisms.
The view from our Singapore office?
Cogs’ Senior Consultant, Fanny Yap commented “Asia is still emerging in digital maturity when it comes to design and it is largely fragmented and ever-changing.
Whilst it’s great to be a Jack-of-all-trades to meet these agile demands, it can also be potentially dangerous to be a master of none”.
This underlines Claire Sadler’s basic point that it’s perfectly acceptable and possible to be both a UX and UI designer if you capitalise on your specific area of expertise.
Fanny adds “If you’re a designer that wants to focus in a specific vertical, my advice is you need to – and should want to – build a personal reputation for it from as early as possible and be resilient in your craft, so that in the long run, you’re the ‘go-to’ person for that particular skill and will not find yourself ousted by folks that can do what you do just as well”.
Being flexible to adopt specialisms depending on the current economic landscape is worth thinking about for any designer. Sustainability of skills today vs 12-24mths down the road is what we need to be looking at in the digital economy.
Can you be both?
Developing specialised craft in both areas is no easy task, and not for the faint hearted. You can be an established hybrid designer, but (and there’s always a ‘but’) you’d have to put the right amount of attention and commitment to both areas because one part is more concerned with visual aesthetics, branding and systems organisation and is interaction orientated.
The other implies a lot of ground work that supports that, such as research, user journey mapping, information mapping, and more strategic design elements.
Fanny adds, “If you’re naturally geared towards one or the other already, then it just depends how much of a learning curve you’re willing to go through to achieve the right balance, or if you’d position yourself as a specialist with an accompanying skill and can prove your understanding of both areas. So yes, you can!”.
Similar but different
The differences between UX and UI designers can and do overlap often, and with many companies and organisations choosing to combine these roles into one position, this allows more potential for candidates to enhance and expand skills in the capability they are not as fluent in.
We at Cogs work with UX and UI designers and have global clients that need both.
To see the latest UX jobs go here.
And to explore UI opportunities go here.
And for anything else you may be looking for get in touch here: