Design vs. Engineering
The difference between a designer and an engineer could be seen as follows:
- A Designer conceptualises but doesn’t necessarily build or maintain a piece of work.
- An Engineer builds or maintains a piece of work, but doesn’t necessarily conceptualise it.
UI vs. UX
A User Interface is just one portion or stop of a User eXperience journey.
- A UI Designer conceptualises the tangible / tactile human interface that users end up using.
- A UX designer conceptualises and defines the entire experience the users will go through, the UI is one portion of that.
- A UI Engineer is concerned with building the defined User Interface using the tools available to him.
- A UX Engineer is concerned with building prototypes and proof-of-concept works for the purposes of a defining a UX ‘solution’.
If you had to represent these roles in a typical timeline:
- A UX Designer is active throughout the entire process, but they start with a concept based on stakeholder requirements and user feedback / surveys / focus groups.
- A UI Designer is called in to design a user interface, based on the initial findings and concepts by the UX designer.
- A UX Engineer aids the UI designer by building testable user interfaces (if required – this role is not always needed since you can test lower fidelity prototypes).
- The UX Designer can then take those prototypes and feeds the results back into the UX process. One or more iterations can occur here until the results are effective.
- The defined solution is then handed over to the Engineering team, where a UI Engineer builds the user-facing aspects of the solution, while Developers and Software Engineers build the back-end aspects.
- The UX designer can then do further user tests on early builds from the Engineering team.