Even as a traditional, old-school developer, I’ve always enjoyed working on front end applications. Here I can immerse myself in the user’s interactions, to understand how color impacts decisions, and to see the direct impact of the decisions made in the backend of databases and services.
However recently I decided to concentrate on user experience (UX), because I was fascinated by how I could create compelling and intuitive experiences for customers.
But I admit, it has been a challenge developing the skills required to be a UX developer. While the app you use may seem simple and intuitive, there is a sophisticated process behind it that ensures the customer enjoys that compelling user experience every time. So in my journey to becoming a UX developer, what did I learn?
- The UX developer needs act like a translator. He/she needs to speak the language of design. While the traditional UI developer can concentrate on a specific technology and put the specific designer’s directives into an application, it’s the UX developer who has to close the gap between design and development.
- Do I need to become a designer? Yes, and no. The UX developer needs to know about development technologies, provide options, and communicate closely with the designer (especially if the design represents coding difficulties). The UX developer should focus on building prototypes, proofs of concepts, and examples of different technologies to test which will work better with specific features.
- The goal of the UX developer is make the application to work. With regard to the fluency and interactions with the user, this is the primary responsibility of the UX developer. There is a shift away from focusing on databases, to the validations or design patterns that are needed to make an application intuitive for the user.
So, in conclusion, what skill set should you develop? First, make sure you develop a deep understanding of core UX concepts, principles and methodologies. It helps if a UX developer has broad knowledge of a variety of frameworks, but most importantly knows how to prototype interactions between components and pages. The client wants to see an application working and interacting; not a piece of code detailing how data will be saved.
To find out more about UX and the UX process, join Belatrix’s webinar this Thursday, where my colleagues Barbara Lipinski and Bruno Vilches will present a case study where we applied the principles of UX design to a product at Belatrix.