UX? UI? Fullstack Designers!

Why is it, that people bend the knee to so-called “Fullstack” Developers but when it comes to design, people be like “You know too much UI to be the right one for the position as UX Designer.”, “No, we need someone who is really (and only!) into UX.”, “Concepts only, no visual knowledge, please.”? I have been in job interviews where people said that and I don’t fucking get it.

If Agencies want Fullstack Developers who claim to be perfect at everything, saying they know all about whatever programming language you want but lack simple HTML/CSS knowledge, or Frontend Developers who don’t just mind their frontend business but also do every single JavaScript-Trend-Framework that’s hip at the moment plus PHP, SQL, TypeScript, C++, Python, Ruby and, yeah, what is frontend anyways?
Why is it that they don’t want Designers, like, let’s say: Fullstack Designers, who can do concepts, personas and research but also know how to visualise stuff, how to do RWD and have consolidated knowledge about typography and color?

When I started studying Mediadesign back in 2010 there wasn’t this huge, thick, red glowing border between UX and UI. In fact, no one even called it like that. It was just Web Design, because it was a whole thing for itself. You needed to do it all, to get it done. Also words like “personas” weren’t such a thing as it is now. You just researched your target audience and developed the user needs and that was it. No fancy buzzwords needed to make it sound like a masters degree.

So we have two ways to become a certified Designer:
1. When you choose the way of an apprenticeship, you’ll study Mediadesign Digital & Print. If you’re going to be more digital or more print will depend on the agency you’re working at. You can then choose between the specialisations Concept and Visualisation, Design and Technic or Video and Sounds. Whereupon the first two years are all the same for every specialisation. Only the third year will be different and also only at certain times.¬†Speaking of UX and UI, that’s what you do when you choose Concept and Visualisation. And guess what: you’ll do it all together. UX and UI in one person.
2. When you choose the way of going to a university you’re likely to study Communications Design. You will learn exactly the same as someone who did the apprenticeship. Only in a different (and unreal) environment. But there is no specialisation, it’s just Communications Design. So you’re not even specialised in a certain way when you’re finished. It’s the same as before, you’ll do UX and UI in one person.

I wonder why agencies expect Designers to be just one little bit of their whole education? Only UX, only UI. Do you want to study Design for 3 years to get the degree in it, only to be allowed to do just a small amount of what you’ve learned? I don’t. If there’s a Designer working for you who tend to be better and more enthusiastic about one half of the job. Fine, let them specialise in it but don’t let them get lost on one side of the medal. (Throwing the buzzword “T-Shaped” in here)
But refusing professional and capable Designers without even knowing what their real capabilities are? Just because HR persons at agencies think there’s too much knowledge in one single designers brain by just having read some buzzwords in their CV? That is something that should be stopped immediately, if you ask me!

Why do agencies think, that UI knowledge is bad for UX work and the other way round? Do Agencies want UX Designers that have no idea what their concepts should look like? Do they want UI Designers that can only function if someone did all the work for them that’s just lacking a bit of colour like a colouring book? Or design stuff without a soul in it? Most UX Designer job offers say that for instance wireframing and prototyping is one of their tasks at a daily basis. So they literally expect a UI Designer to just throw some colour on it and that’s it?

I don’t know if I would want to be a Designer who designs a layout for a website or an app without thinking about how it feels like. Like: “Nope, that’s none of my business, I’m just here for the colour”. Or be a Designer that never gets in touch with colours. Nah.
I have always been a Fullstack Designer since I’ve made my first steps in this industry. If someone who fits into the definition of a Fullstack Designer, applies as UX or UI Designer, he or she should never be refused for his or her overall knowledge, because UX gets better with UI knowledge and UI gets way better with UX knowledge.

UX and UI need to come together again. Combined in one single person or not, good design work is never done just on one side.


One Reply

  1. So this is my first blogpost in what? 10 years? I hope people can enjoy this, even though this is kind of a rant. I also hope that no one gets it wrong. This is no offense to anyone, just some overall thoughts that were in my head for quite a long time.

    If you have read this, thank you. Your feedback is welcome.

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