UX: Graphics Design vs. Coding

by I Know Nothing   Last Updated November 07, 2017 17:16 PM

To start, I'm a graphic designer. A friend of mine works as a programmer and does a lot of UI/UX design, but absolutely hates that part of his job-- he's more of an engineer and doesn't really have an eye for that sort of thing. I did a hi-res design for him in Photoshop and saved it in a format that he could then just implement in his code-- no actual design done on his part, just translating what I sent him into code, saving him time and frustration.

I am also currently learning a few coding languages, which I started doing with the idea that I'd get into the coding aspect of UI and UX, but in doing that project for my friend I found I really enjoyed the graphic aspect of it. I know very little about the coding industry, so my question is: are there actually jobs that entail what I did for him, or do all UI and UX jobs require one person to be able to do both things (i.e. the actual design/layout and then implement it in the code)? If there are, what is that job title?

Answers 2

What you did for your developer friend goes by a few names:

  • Visual Design
  • Front-end Design
  • UI Design
  • Interface Design

There is definitely a market for this. Many companies will list this as UI / UX out of ignorance. Those actually wouldn't be bad places to learn the ropes because they'll let you get deeper in to UX proper than you're qualified for at this point. Even better would be to work in a mature software product development team where you can learn from professionals.

You should not have to know how to write code, but many smaller companies (not producing software at scale yet ... or ever) will prefer that you can handle HTML, CSS, and possibly javascript. None of those are essential to being successful in interface design. That said, you won't regret knowing it either.

November 07, 2017 16:49 PM

Yes there are jobs for this, if you are in a large enough company/team/project.

Building a product has a bunch of steps, including; -figuring out what people want to do -what functions the product needs -what buttons those functions need -making the buttons pretty -making the buttons do their functions -testing it -marketing it -providing support for it

If you're a solo developer, this is all your job. If you're in a large company you might have several people on each step. Heck, each button might have its own person.

But in most projects you fall somewhere in between, and you have to divvy tasks up between a handful of people. This generally is done roughly on a scale from coding to arting. (although that is actually too abstract, IMO) Which means that if you know visual design, you do posters, if you do code, you make the program work. And the stuff in the middle gets divided up between the two sides.

This generally works well on smallish projects because if you have 5 coders and 5 designers, you are very flexible. You can make 5 tiny projects, one big one, you can have complex code (e.g. video drivers) and put the designers on the middle, or a simple but art-heavy app (dress-up doll) where the coders take the middle part. But this has led to there being less room in most organizations for someone that focuses in the middle. UX design, among other things, is in the middle.

You're a bit vague about what you did. Did you do research, frameworks, mockups and then the highres, or did your friend give you a mockup or layout and say 'make this pretty'. One is a bit broader than the other, but in either case there are positions of that scope.

November 08, 2017 18:55 PM

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