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I'm currently looking for freelancers to redesign an ecommerce website and I was wondering if it's better to have the same person design frontend and backend UI or if it's better to have a frontend designer only do the frontend and get a backend designer to work on the backend.

Thoughts?

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  • Do they both do the same task? Or is the front end more customer-facing and the back end more admin-facing?
    – TMN
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:07
  • Front end is for end users, but the back end will have two sections, one catering to sellers (managing their store), and another, the main Admin section.
    – theo29
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:10
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    Need some clarification here, by 'back end' do you mean the software platform, or do you mean the admin interface for maintaining the site?
    – DA01
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:40
  • Here's what I have in mind: The website is an e-commerce platform that allows sellers to launch and manage a store. The idea is to have a backend access section for sellers (with usernames and passwords) in order to manage their store (edit products, manage orders, etc.). Additionally, there will be a General Admin section which I will access, in order to add/remove stores and monitor all current stores. So my question is, should the person (working with a freelancer) handling the design (UI) of the website (public interface) also handle the UI of the two backend sections (private interfaces)?
    – theo29
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:53
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    There is no such thing as 'back-end UI'; back-end, by definition, has no user interface - no presentation layer. A better term is admin interface.
    – Izhaki
    Jan 26, 2016 at 21:09

3 Answers 3

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Both are front-ends, but for different kind of customers of yours. One is for your customer who would use your website to make an order or buy, another one for the the customer who would use your website to fullfil an order or sell.

What you need to guard against is

  • Both have different user profiles and task profiles,

  • Both have different frequency of visits and operations,

  • Both wants to achieve different things from your website, they have different user goals.

As long as one person can ensure that these are taken care, then I don't see any issues with both the apps being designed by the same person.

However, if they are not designed by the same person then you need to guard against

  • Both apps looking entirely different may affect your own brand and you may end time spending extra effort to drive consistency.

  • If different teams are working in silos and are not aware of goals of the other app, may create some functional gaps which will only surface when you finally see the integrated product/platform leading to extra effort for bridging these gaps.

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  • Hey thanks a lot that answers my question. But regarding your last point, what if we consider that the brainstorm phase was done in the presence of both designers. A part from the inconsistency in design, do you think that would be enough to guard against functional gaps?
    – theo29
    Jan 27, 2016 at 7:45
  • @Garvis Initial brainstorming always helps a lot, but you (or they) will encounter more scenarios as and when work progresses (not to be taken lightly) though the impact will be less subjected to the depth of your initial brainstorming. I guess this is one risk you will have to take while keeping enough milestones as an opportunity to reconcile and rework. Jan 27, 2016 at 8:12
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Same person? Ideally, but nearly impossible to pull off as nearly any software project of even moderate size requires a rather diverse team.

Same entity? Absolutely. The ability to create a great UX is as much about the back end as it is about the front end.

This is true both for pure UI work (consumer facing UI vs. admin facing UI) as well as the product itself (UI vs. technology platform).

UPDATE:

It sounds like you're talking primarily UI design (consumer facing vs. admin facing).

There's no specific answer to this other than whoever is designing these interfaces--be it one entity or multiple--should be working in tandem with the other.

One can certainly argue that there are those that have more focus on marketing-centric consumer-facing sites, and others that have more focus on enterprise-centric admin-facing sites. But it all really comes down to who you hire.

The key, though, is that they all have to work together. Whatever the design for the consumer-facing site ends up being, both the admin facing site, as well as the technology is it built upon need to be able to accommodate it. The most common failing of CMS implementations, IMHO, is that there's usually a large disconnect between the demands of the consumer-facing site and the capabilities of the actual tool and the tool's UI.

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  • The thing is, I'm working with freelancers not agencies, so what i'm trying to find out is if web designers are usually skilled at handling the design of a content management system as good as they handle the design of the front end. Thoughts?
    – theo29
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:46
  • @Garvis I updated the answer based on your comment.
    – DA01
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:50
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If this person is doing or going to do design labors and you have time to spare (you'd be the first) and she can manage the workload... then it's fine. I've done it myself and is not an impossible task, just time consuming.

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