Standardizing Job Titles

8 years ago from , Senior UX Designer at Velir

My department (Design and User Experience) is interested in establishing more standard job titles and is interested in hearing from the community. Currently we maintain three roles within the department with the following tiles and responsibilities:

UX Analyst: Performs user interviews, stakeholder interviews, UX research, creates sketches, site maps and wireframes for client projects primarily using AXURE or similar software.

UX Engineer: Performs user interviews, stakeholder interviews, UX research, creates sketches, site maps, wireframes and prototypes for client projects primarily using HTML and CSS.

Interactive Designer: Assists with user research and wireframes, primary focus on creating branding deliverables, style tiles, mockups and final designs using Photoshop.

As you can see there is a lot of overlap among the positions and we want our choice in titles to reflect that ideally. We also want our titles to more accurately reflect the responsibilities within each position. If an employee were to leave my company, we would still want their experience and title to reflect the work they have done and hopefully bolster their job search. Any thoughts on possible titles to use? Does your company have a similar infrastructure, what titles do you use? Thanks for commenting.


  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    My comment is: please please please don't call it "Interactive Designer", I cringe every time I hear that.

    Interactive designer means the designer is interactive.

    It should be: Interaction Designer

    48 points
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 8 years ago

      ^ This +1

      2 points
    • Mike Wilson, 8 years ago

      I think it has less to do with the semantics of the word and more to do with the fact that "interactive" is old hat and got associated with people who made flash websites. In 10 years I'm willing to bet my 401k that "interaction designer" and "product designer" and "UX engineer/architect" will be replaced by something new.

      Are we really that insecure that we need to come up with these convuluted BS titles to make us sound more 'cutting edge' and relevant? Throwing product in front of your title doesn't help to better describe what you do, it just sounds cool because that's what is trendy right now. To use your semantic point of view, Facebook is not a product. Facebook is an advertising platform. Milk is a product.

      Over the last 5 years I've watched my entire LinkedIn network become these fancy new titles....and how? One day they just decided to change it themselves, or their company decided to change it. A title which requires no real qualifications or experience to achieve is a hollow one. If design truly wants respect from the C-suite, we need to create less confusion with our titles, not more. Sorry senior product experience design engineers.

      How bout this? We call ourselves designers and let our portfolio's speak to what kind of work we do.

      1 point
    • Luis La TorreLuis La Torre, 8 years ago

      I like to be touched and handled, does that make interactive?

      0 points
  • Josh RubenoffJosh Rubenoff, 8 years ago

    If you just want to rename the existing roles...

    UX Analyst: Sounds like UX Researcher or Design Researcher

    UX Engineer: Product Designer

    Interactive Designer: Visual Designer / Brand Designer

    In terms of what to hire for, I agree with Ryan and Adam... I've had the most success simply hiring for a "Designer", and evaluating their skill set from there.

    7 points
    • Svenni DavidssonSvenni Davidsson, 8 years ago

      What makes the "UX engineer" a product designer?

      0 points
      • Josh RubenoffJosh Rubenoff, 8 years ago

        The original title seems like a misnomer. From the job description, it sounds like their primary job responsibilities are design-centric, rather than dev-centric.

        0 points
  • pjotr .pjotr ., 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    For your consideration our "design" team (which we simply call the Experience Team) is split up like so:

    • Lead Product Designer
    • Front-end Developer
    • User/Developer Experience Engineer

    Lead Product Designer (me): Working on building, designing and prototyping new features and products. I work with a set of tools (rack, rake, sass, erb, angular, etc.) to rapidly prototype and design interfaces for proposed features and entirely new products. I also work heavily on documentation and requirements gathering.

    Front-end Developer: Working primarily on integrating our front-end angular application with the backend API. They also fix a lot issues and bugs as well as implementing proposed new features.

    User/Developer Experience Engineer: Working primarily on the early stages of development. They write a lot of developer documentation, stub out APIs, work with other engineers to make sure the front-end has access to what it needs.

    As you can see we have a pretty heavy focus on engineering, which makes sense given that our flagship product is very technical. In terms of UX research and analysis we typically interview both internal and external stake holders once we have a prototype ready. We tend to focus on building "mini" products first so we can actually have our users play with the product. We've found that this works better by several orders of magnitude.

    For the most part I think job titles are more useful internally. You really don't want to weed out great candidates simply because they don't list the right job title on their resume. I tend to look for people with skills, regardless of what they call themselves. Once there's a good skills fit I work with the candidate to see what they might want to work on. If they really want to do research and talk with users all day then we'll come up with a job title that fits that role. The hard part is of course listing that job title on your jobs site. For that I tend to stick with the industry standard. Designer and Engineer. So a listing of jobs might look like:

    • Product Designer
    • UI Designer
    • Front-end Engineer
    • Software Engineer
    • UX Designer
    • UX Engineer
    3 points
    • Malte NuhnMalte Nuhn, 8 years ago

      Really helpful to see this answer.

      FWIW One of the things we do is to put (x% technical) behind the design roles that require technical skills, especially when recruiting. E.g. UI Designer (30% technical).

      IME it tends to attract the right kinds of people, esp if the technical skills you need aren't trivial.

      0 points
  • Adam ConradAdam Conrad, 8 years ago

    Chiefly the issue is that these titles are somewhat useless - only because there is no "standard" right now, so while it can be beneficial to your own organization, it won't necessarily help you source candidates.

    Secondly, I'd just combine Analyst and Engineer. If the only difference is using AXURE vs HTML/CSS, why bother having both when the majority of responsibilities are the same?

    I'd hire for Engineer (UX/Frontend) and Designer. Keep things simple, and that also increases your hiring range because you aren't pigeonholing yourself to titles that professionals who may fit the mold, but don't necessarily associate with the title.

    3 points
  • brian andrichbrian andrich, 8 years ago

    get rid of titles. for cv's, let people make up their own title.

    2 points
  • Sjors TimmerSjors Timmer, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    At the UK government where I worked we had roughly this split:

    Researcher: was responsible for all the research

    Designer: responsible for all the design. Would help researcher with preparing prototypes and creating site maps etc. Would help front-end coder with specific visual design guiding

    Front-end coder: responsible for all the code

    (further more there was a product owner, a delivery manager, a back-end coder and a copy writer)

    This didn't mean they would only focus on these things, many designers were fine researchers, many researchers fine designers and most coders had a good eye for visual design and user research, but at least it made the responsibility very clear.

    Together they would all work in the 'ux team' : http://www.disambiguity.com/there-is-no-ux/

    1 point
  • Christian BehrensChristian Behrens, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Here at MING, we differentiate between Interaction Designers and Visual Designers, which actually works quite well:

    Interaction Designers mainly deal with questions about how a website/application works, i.e. they define information architectures and sitemaps, create wireframes, and build prototypes. Since we don't have dedicated UX Researchers, they also lead ideation workshops, conduct interviews and usability tests.

    Visual Designers, on the other hand, are responsible for finding and developing a visual direction for a product, fine-tuning an interface as well as creating and managing style guides. They are also our brand experts, if this is a requirement for a project.

    Both groups overlap in certain areas of responsbility and skill set, but they're still mainly working in complementary fields of expertise. Think of it as the collaboration between an architect and a structural engineer building a house that is aesthecially pleasing, fits perfectly in its environment and serves its purpose.

    So to answer your question: My suggestion would be:

    UX Analyst -> UX Researcher

    UX Engineer -> Interaction Designer

    Interactive Designer -> Visual Designer

    Just my €0.02

    1 point
  • Nick SloggettNick Sloggett, 8 years ago

    Design Researcher for UX Analyst. UX Engineer - Alright.. sounds more like a Product Designer ID - Sounds like a pseudo Visual Designer.

    1 point
  • Pirijan KethPirijan Keth, 8 years ago

    Is it possible that focusing on titles is solving the wrong problem? If I had to hire a designer, particularly in a smaller startup style environment, I wouldn't really care about their job title de jour. Instead I'd focus 100% on their portfolio and personality.

    If you're concerned about the future growth of your employees (and it's awesome that you are), would it be more valuable to focus on how to give them all opportunities to do awesome/interesting work that would be portfolio worthy?

    0 points
    • John AnzelcJohn Anzelc, 8 years ago

      It's important for recruiting. For better or worse, people identify with certain labels for themselves. For example, a great candidate might never look at your posting because they mistake "Product Designer" for "Industrial Designer." Conversely, properly titled postings help to filter out candidates whose strengths aren't the best fit for the role.

      1 point
  • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, 8 years ago

    Branding / branding deliverables could be a stretch for the role of Interactive (yes, should be interaction) Designer. Could be a moot point but many designers are good at working with a brand but struggle with creating one. Likewise you could have a designer that's exceptional with branding but would struggle with UX design (sorry, couldn't think of a better way of explaining that side of the role).

    0 points
  • Sam Pierce LollaSam Pierce Lolla, 8 years ago

    Are you looking for advice about how to define roles in your department? Or how to re-name the existing roles?

    0 points