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I am a product designer who has recently started to work at a company that segments the research+UX designer role from a separate UI designer role. I have not worked in a company with this separation before (traditionally, I've always done a product designer role where I was research + UX + UI).

I am curious for those who have worked at companies with a similar breakdown how the workflow process worked for you? At the moment, I'm discovering the process is very waterfall-esque where I am handed requirements by the product managers, I do research, wireframes, and usability testing, then my final wires are handed off to UI to "make them beautiful" and then UI hands them off to developers.

During this process, work is lost in translation. I am uncomfortable about the lack of communication between the disciplines. I don't like that I hand off my work to a UI person who then can alter the workflow I've proposed.

Anyone else in a similar boat? What workflow improvements can I suggest to this process?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Andrew Martin, Pectoralis Major, Shreyas Tripathy, locationunknown, Wanda Jul 10 '18 at 13:53

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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In my company there are no departments separating the disciplines. But I work with UX (research, prototyping, wireframing etc). Im not a good graphical designer so I love handing over to a person with that skill. But i don't send some wireframes and be done with it. It's iterations from there. We are a small company so a close dialogue is natural. I don't think the problem in your case is the separation of disciplines, but the waterfall process you are working with.

  • I agree. It's oddly waterfall. I'm a newcomer so I'm trying to be as open-minded about the existing process before asking to try something new. Just wanted to ensure it's a process that makes some sense. – Kimchi4Me Jul 3 '18 at 8:50
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The design process in my company at a glance (FYI I'm a UX Engineer here):

Business Analysis -> User Research -> Persona & Journey maps -> Wireframing -> UI Design

  • Thanks for the information. How do you ensure that the UX wires workflow is kept when it goes into the UI realm? For me, when I give wires to UI, they change some things and the workflow isn't as good as it could be. Also, developers don't know who to ask for questions. Me or the UI person. – Kimchi4Me Jul 3 '18 at 8:58
  • 1. At the beginning of the UI design phase, UX guys sit with the UI guys and explain the feeling/experience that is expected from it. During the UI phase also they may ask doubts to the UX team. A collaborated communication is always very effective. 2. For design/color/slice related issues, devs talk to UIs. For flow/functionality etc, you know.. they need to consult with us. – Kishan Jul 3 '18 at 9:02
  • The UX team is always and must be a bridge between UI Designers, Developers, Business Analysts and ofcourse the USERS. – Kishan Jul 3 '18 at 9:03
  • Ok, I think that's what needs to be worked on then at my company (knowing who needs to communicate with who). – Kimchi4Me Jul 3 '18 at 9:04
  • Okay great.. :) – Kishan Jul 3 '18 at 9:05
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I have worked in all sorts of models as a Usability Engineer, Interaction designer, UX architect and now a UX Designer (which is basically a unicorn I do interaction design, visual design and usability testing).

However in my last role I was a UX architect. I basically did all the interaction design in Axure. Visual designs created by a visual design team after I had designed the interaction/wireframes. Yes the issues were handover and communicating tiny design decisions. And yes my designs got changed quite substatially the whole time without my involvement. So essentially my role became just to create a straw man for everyone else to fiddle with (very unsatisfying). It was a very waterfall process except that they used the words scrum and agile quite alot :-)

My deliverables were mainly User journeys, wireframes and Axure prototypes which were quite fiddley and I was supposed to specify interactions on the prototypes using words essentially. The only thing that made this work is that I sat literally next to the visual designer I worked with so we communicated verbally alot. It was very specification heavy because our development was outsourced. We did no user testing at all. Generally a horrible way to work. No good design gets done in such an environment.

In my current role I use sketch and invision and our process is pretty Lean UX (read the book if you haven't)/Agile. I am fully involved from early statge design through to testing. Even have contact with marketing and sales. I remote user test everything I design. All works so much better and very agile. Most of my communication is directly with developers now. Working in a properly agile environment is so much more rewarding.

I think a UX role is a translator and user advocate role. In other words our role can firstly enable different functions to communicate adequately so the whole team explore the design possibilities well. Secondly the role is about keeping the focus on the how the product is going to be used by its various different personas front and central at every stage.

Personally if I were you I might look to move. There are loads of UX roles out there with better set ups nowadays. If your job role is constraining getting good work done then it might be time to explore that!

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