UX and UI – beyond the job function

As a Design leader, I help teams solve customer problems and help companies shape their business strategy. Throughout the project lifecycle, I encourage my teams to apply a range of design methodologies. Starting with user experience, tackle the big picture with discovery of the user journey, then move to realize and define the solution.

At first glance the diagram below might seem to be about “who does what”. However, when you apply this as a framework for “what happens when”, the team begins to share a common understanding of the user needs and are then able to deliver solutions in support. Where the two areas overlap, are wonderful opportunities for collaboration. These “Magic Moments” are opportunities where product, research, design and development can put their heads together.

UX, and UI designers are now industry titles but we used to have roles like “Information Architects” or “Interaction” or “Usability” Designers. I’ve always felt those titles did a better job setting expectations for function accountability. What is critical though, and helpful for design teams regardless of titles is a shared understanding of the customer mental models that can be uncovered through a collaborative multifaceted approach.

The way we as design leaders organize our teams, has a great effect on the customer experience. Consider the following team model: Design ops, Researchers, UX and UI designers. This range of disciplines will help teams be autonomous and allow them to go deep into the user/product development journey.

UX/UI should be a partnership with regular meetings along the sprint and as design leaders, the structure and methodologies we apply will help catalyze for collaboration.