Interaction Designer Vs. UX Designer

Interaction and UX designers are both concerned with a person's experience as they use technology, but readers will see they differ in their degree requirements, salaries, career outlooks, and daily responsibilities.

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Comparing Interaction Designers to UX Designers

Interaction and UX (user experience) designers develop applications, programs, and websites. The former, however, focuses on how the technology and user respond to one another, while the latter is more interested in the intuitiveness of the technology's navigation.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Interaction Designers Bachelor's Degree $76,321 5% (Commercial and Industrial Designers)
UX Designers Associate's Degree $72,642 13% (Web Developers)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Interaction Designers vs. UX Designers

The users of websites like Facebook, applications such as Netflix, and programs that include Word drive the design work of these professionals. Technological designers like these may also work on teams with project managers, programmers, and even one another. Interaction designers are concerned with how users can interact with aspects of the product, such as menus. UX designers focus more on usability, paying close attention to how users will move around within the product.

Interaction Designers

If a menu drops down or fans out when a person hovers a curser over it or clicks on it, this is the work of an interaction designer. Specializing in human-computer interaction, these designers control how the interface reacts when a user clicks or taps. Ideally, the functions of the product and the interactions connect to give users context clues for how the system works, and this is something interaction designers work to perfect. To do this, they sometimes reuse familiar design elements, such as closing a page with an 'x' printed button.

Job responsibilities of an interaction designer include:

  • Utilizing programs such as AfterEffects and Flash
  • Understanding human psychology and the natural way individuals think
  • Implementing market research based on how people interact with technology
  • Designing a coherent overlay for the project's user interface

UX Designers

The UX, or 'user experience', designer strives to make a website or computer program that feels natural to users. They attempt to build a logical movement between webpages or tasks within an application or program. To ensure users' needs are met, UX designers conduct tests and focus groups using prototypes or asking questions about their experiences navigating similar platforms. These professionals understand computer coding languages, such as HTML and Java, and often use Photoshop and Illustrator to build content maps and static prototypes.

Job responsibilities of a UX designer include:

  • Developing a portfolio of designs to show possible clients and employers
  • Researching competitors and their trending designs
  • Ensuring the design meets the client's specifications for functionality
  • Interpreting analytics based on how well users are adapting to new interfaces or products

Related Careers

If you are curious about a career as an interaction designer, you may want to also research a position as a computer programmer, since both are familiar with computer language and code. On the other hand, if you seek a future as a UX designer, a position as a graphic designer may also appeal to you, as both consider the look and feel of consumer products.

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