Difference between Interaction Designer, Visual Designer and Usability Expert



The UX process is not a single element or activity, but a process where a series of activities are conducted to ensure that the product delivers a good user experience. It begins by understanding the business requirement, researching to know the users, then collating all these information to develop a wireframe which is later aesthetically prepared and developed. It all does not stop there. The product is further tested to make sure that it functions well and is taken well by the users. 

Now between all these activities, the lines or distinction between each process is blurred. Since a UX designer ends up performing more than just one part of the process, it is not surprising that such blurring occurs. Yet, there are some core processes which can be clearly demarked. UX Designers can become experts in these core processes based on their interests and skills.

Here is a quick distinction between Interaction Designers, Visual Designers and Usability experts.

Interaction Designing forms that part of UX Designing where the objectives of the business and the user research results are collated to come up with a strategy of how the product must be laid out. This will form the very skeleton or foundation of the website or mobile application to be made. In other words, it forms the blue print of the product. An Interaction Designer deals with the experience and interaction of the product, which is defined through wireframes. These wireframes are refined to come up with how the screens must be and how each element on the screen must interact with each other. 

A Visual Designer steps in after the wireframes are finalized. Visual Designing requires the designer to deal with the aesthetics or, the look of the website or application based on the context. The designer would refer to the wireframes and also keep in mind the business requirements and user needs for it. For instance, if the business follows a certain color code, the designers will have to implement that in their designs. Or, if the users are of an older age group, the typography must agree to their requirements. An e-commerce website might ask for a neat and clutter free look. The visual designers develop a style guide. This style guide will be used by the developers to develop the product as envisioned by the Visual Designers. 

A usability expert is the one who is required at almost all times through the UX process. He is the user’s advocate. The Usability expert tests an existing product on behalf of the users and gives expert opinions on its usability- what it lacks and how it can be improved for a better usability. For a quick check on how a product is functioning, the usability expert can run a Heuristic evaluation. Apart from that, Usability experts rely on their own experiences and wear a typical user’s shoes to provide a review on the website or mobile application. A usability expert can also be called in to test prototypes and interactive wireframes. Once the product is developed, they can be asked to test the product. Their expert opinions and suggestions help in making the product better in terms of usability.