How Has Life Changed on the Front Lines of User Experience (UX) Design?

As a front-end web developer these days it is vital to possess a very robust skill set to be effective in the market place, and to pull your weight on a team. A lot of people think that the User Interaction and User Experience (UI and UX respectively) stuff is just making things look pretty and therefore, is not as complex as the server side of things. This could also lead someone to the conclusion that if it is not as complex as the back-end then it must not be a vital to a project. In some projects that may be the case, but it really comes down to how much “Company X” has invested in the project and what the return on that project needs to be.

Web design, HTML 5, Javascript

The UI is the first element that a User interacts with. It’s the suit and tie, smile, and handshake that will welcome them and interact with them during their stay. The common User has no idea that there is a difference between different programming languages, let alone different types of web development. A skilled front-end developer or web designer will know HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, JQuery, Photoshop and Illustrator (or their equivalent), along with a handful of plug-ins to make a project run smoother.

Often the front-end comes in at the latest stage in development so these key people need to know how to trouble shoot issues to iron out the wrinkles and get it ready for “shipping.” Designing the UI and UX for a product whether it is a website, camera, chair, or ballet is a job that requires real understanding of the target User and the desired result.  Making a product that is both intuitive and robust is a very complicated undertaking and requires much planning and experimentation. Sometimes taking something that has been created on the back-end and making it function and interact naturally with the User can be a back-and-forth process of try, fail, and succeed until finally it works.  It’s about getting creative and breaking barriers to introduce new, fun, and interactive experiences for the User. A good web designer will be there from the beginning to the end of the project; planning and drawing up mock-ups, making sure the design is set in motion, getting their hands dirty and coding, and cleaning up any trouble that will naturally come along with any project. In other words they are like the Marines, “First ones in and last ones out!” Well maybe not that drastic or dangerous but the point is there.