Among the most asked questions in Quora related to UX Design, a good chuck is about the differences of titles and roles related to the practice.
First of all, when you look into the demarcation of roles today, basically, you can divide designers into two hemispheres: creative designers, and experience designers. The first related more with Marketing activities, while the latter more into, you guessed it right, digital product development, and this is where most UX designers sit in today’s digital startups.
UX Designer Roles
Note: by “UX Designers” I also imply any roles that contribute to the creation of a delightful User Experience, i.e.: UX Researcher (UXR), Information Architect (IA) Interaction Designer (IXD), Visual Designer (VD) or UI Designer (UID), Product Copywriter (PCW) or UX Writer (UXW), Product Copy Editor (PCE), and UI Developer (UI Dev).
In a more agile setting, where designers are distributed into different teams, the role of “Product Designer” usually encompasses all of those specialization mentioned earlier. Alternatively, some companies label this the end to end role as “UI/UX Designer” which is a misnomer as it treated UX activities as simply creating wireframes, a prerequisite for UI activities to create the actual design; an oversimplification.
If you should differentiate between roles, then Interaction Designer (IXD) are those that produce product design concepts, i.e. how the product works, through identifying which intent to be rendered, and how it should be rendered. User Interface Designer (UID) or Visual Designer (VD) are those that translate the design concept into mockup as the representation of the end product, plus the necessary assets to be developed by the Engineering team.
Here’s a matrix from Stephan Takken that I found accurate, which categorizes these roles by their focus:
Tips: the title of the role advertised usually give a good insight into the organization’s UX maturity, where “UI/UX Designer” is preferable by those in the early maturity stage, i.e. still “testing the waters” as to how the role could contribute to product awesomeness, while more mature ones usually prefer specialization like “Interaction Designer”, and “UI Designer”. The more mature it is, the more embedded the designers usually are within the whole product lifecycle, with a seat in the product committee board. (byms)