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What are UI/UX designers?

UI is an initialism meaning User Interface. UI designers are people who combine their graphic design skills with some knowledge about how devices and apps are coded for greater user experience. UI designers are particularly aware of the look and feel of a website or an app.

UI and UX designers use their skills and expertise to improve the user experience of a digital device.

UX is an initialism meaning User Experience. UX designers are skilled at optimising the user experience of a device or an app. For example, if you created a digital dictionary app which becomes really slow the moment two or more people are using that app, that would be poor UX design that hasn't been optimised for multiple users. The look and feel of the dictionary app would depend on the UI design.

Both job titles are often used together because they are both concerned with improving the user experience of a digital device.

What are the similarities and difference between traditional website designers and UI/UX designers?

Over the last 20 years, there has been renewed importance in research around Human Computer Interaction (HCI). According to the international society for human-technology and human-computer interaction, HCI is a 'discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them.'

As our world becomes infused with digital systems, HCI professionals have been thinking deeply about the role of design. Donald Norman is often credited with inventing the term UX because it is used in his 1999 book The Invisible Computer. Prior to the first decade of the 21st Century, web designers where seen as professionals who created technical interfaces to enable people to interact with a complex technical machine called a computer. In this design paradigm, the computer was the main focus and people had to change themselves and their experience expectations in order to use the computer.

Learn more at HCI Bibliography: Human-Computer Interaction Resources.

When did the job come into existence?

In their current usage, experts generally agree that the terms UI/UX became popular in different parts of the world by 2005 and 2016, UX/UI can frequently be found in job advertisements in Australia.

Why is there a growing demand for UI/UX designers?

Moving towards 2030, more people are shopping online and more organisations want to attract their attention. The whole user experience has become important — the colours and graphics of apps, how a website landing page looks, and functionality matter more as companies seek to influence purchasing decisions. Companies, organisations and governments have realised that people — with a variety needs — all want a positive digital experience regardless of whether they are using computers, smartphones, virtual reality systems or voice activated systems. Many more UI/UX designers are set to be required as innovators seek to give all people a rewarding experience with digital technology.

Find out more information about this job from the Australian Computer Society's Careers Foundation website.

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