Tech 101: User Experience (UX) Job Titles Explained
Your guide to what UX job titles actually mean.
Are you creative? Do you spend a lot of time empathizing with your friends? Do you have a knack for finding innovative solutions to everyday problems? If you can check one or more of these boxes, you’re a perfect candidate for a high-paying, flexible job in User Experience (UX).
UX is a tech field that involves researching groups of people who use digital products (like websites and apps) and improving their product experience, i.e. the way the product’s features makes the user feel, how easy the product is to use, and how appealing users find it overall.
As you start learning about UX and UX terms, you’ll see plenty of references to UX design and UX designers. But is everyone who works in UX a designer? And do you have to know design skills to work in UX?
Well, not exactly. In order to give you a better sense of what working in UX is actually like, we’re breaking down some of the most common UX roles, what these UX job titles mean, what each job title involves, and what kind of UX salary you can expect from each position. We’ll cover:
- UX designers
- UI designers
- Interaction designers
- Motion designers
- UX researchers
- Information architects
- UX engineers
When you’re done reading and ready to learn more and the specific skills used in UX, be sure to check out our complete guide on how to get a UX job. And if you want to learn the skills it takes to land UX jobs, look no further than our User Experience Design Blueprint. This 3-month online course will teach you the skills you need for any role in UX, all by spending just an hour a day on the course materials.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 – How Important Is a UX Job Title?
- Chapter 2 – UX Job Titles, Descriptions, and Salaries
- Chapter 3 – UX Job Boards
A Caveat: Don’t Get Hung Up on UX Job Titles
First, a word of caution: take all UX job titles with a large grain of digital salt. User experience is a fluid and evolving industry, and UX roles and their job titles vary based on what they mean to employers. One company’s UX designer can be another company’s UX researcher and vice versa. To know what a given UX job title at a specific company is really about, pay close attention to the job descriptions. That said, there’s enough industry consensus to come up with general overviews for each user experience job and UX role.
UX Job Titles, Descriptions, and Salaries
“UX designer” is the most recognizable UX job title. In fact, it’s so commonly used that the entire field is sometimes (misleadingly) called “UX design.” While there’s more to user experience than just UX design, UX designers ARE a thing. So what is a UX designer job description?
UX designers are jacks of all trades in the UX field. They’re able to participate in every stage of the UX process, but don’t deeply specialize in any one function. If you’re an individual entrepreneur freelancing in UX or working at a company without a dedicated UX department, you’ll probably find yourself in a UX designer role.
UX designer duties include:
- Participating in user research and implementing findings to create a UX strategy and design
- Developing product prototypes and conducting product testing
- Communicating with stakeholders about the product development process and test results
UX designer average base pay: $90,697/yr
Along with UX designers, you might hear the job description “UI designer” (or even see them combined as UX / UI designer). No, these aren’t interchangeable words that mean the same thing—user interface (UI) design is a distinct niche in the UX field.
UI design takes the principles of UX and applies them specifically to a product’s interface (a website’s menu, layout on the screen, sitemap, form placement, etc). Because of this focus on the user interface, UI design is more similar to traditional web or graphic design jobs.
UI designer duties include:
- Designing and user testing a product’s screens or pages
- Coordinating a product’s interface and layout with an overall UX strategy
- Creating interface prototypes and product style guides
UI designer average base pay: $80,450/yr
Interaction design is a UX job title you’ll find on larger UX teams, where each member has a particular focus. Interaction designers work with a product’s interface, but from a different angle than UI designers. While UI designers create the look and arrangement of an interface, interaction designers focus on the user’s interaction with the interface—how do the menus slide on or off the screen, what kind of transition happens when a window opens or closes, what is the response time when a user takes an action, etc.
Interaction designer duties include:
- Designing and user testing a product’s interaction elements
- Ensuring interactions are consistent with results from user research
- Creating product interaction prototypes
Interaction designer average base pay: $88,124/yr
Websites and applications are visual products, but those visuals aren’t static—there’s constant movement and animation happening as you scroll through a page or click through menus. That’s where motion design comes in. Motion designers are the movement and animation specialists on a UX team. All the subtle motion dynamics that take place when you use a digital product (the way a screen refreshes, the way menu options fade in and out, etc.) are the domain of motion designers.
Motion designer duties include:
- Creating and testing moving product elements, motion graphics, and animations.
- Coordinating motion designs with overall UX strategy and user research
- Creating product motion prototypes
Motion designer average base pay: $63,373/yr
Research is at the heart of UX—without researching how an audience feels about a product, there’s absolutely no way to identify and solve customer problems. Every UX role intersects with research, but UX researchers specialize and focus on the research phase. If you enjoy interviewing people, figuring out what makes them tick, and using that data to propose product solutions, UX research may be the perfect UX job title for you.
UX researcher duties include:
- Overseeing and conducting user research, interviews, and product testing
- Conducting competitive analyses and researching market data
- Creating user personas, user journey maps, usability tests, and surveys/questionnaires
UX researcher average base pay: $93,152/yr
Information Architecture (IA) sounds intense, but the job description is actually pretty straightforward. It’s simply the process of arranging apps, websites, software, printed materials, and even physical spaces in ways that makes them understandable and easy to navigate.
Signs pointing to where you need to go in a parking lot, the arrangement of columns in a magazine, or the flow of a menu on a webpage are all examples of IA. Information architects then are the people who—based on the findings of UX researchers—decide how to arrange a product’s information in the most user-friendly way possible.
Information architecture is also a great example of how UX overlaps with other fields like digital marketing. IA isn’t too far removed from (and uses similar skills to) the content strategy phase of content marketing. Like a content strategist, an information architect organizes content (in this case user research and product features) to maximize their intended effect.
Information architect duties include:
- Creating site maps, user journey maps, and product navigation schemes
- Participating in user research and interviews
- Managing data models based on user research
Information architect average base pay: $96,435/yr
A UX engineer is really another name for a front end developer working on a UX team. The UX engineer job description includes using technical skills to make working product prototypes. These prototypes are based on concepts developed by UX researchers and UX designers. UX engineers are also able to advise their team whether or not the ideas they have are technically feasible.
UX Engineer duties include:
Implementing interaction and motion designs into product prototypes
Providing technical advice and assistance to UX teams
UX engineer average base pay: $107,670/yr
UX Job Boards
Now that you know more about each of these UX jobs, where can you actually find them? Along with general job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, here are 10 UX job boards you can keep an eye on to find the perfect UX job for you.
1. UXPA Job Bank
The User Experience Professionals Association Job Bank maintains an updated list of UX job listings.
2. UX Jobs Board
UX Jobs Board is a dedicated UX job site that also allows users to create a profile and connect with companies that are hiring.
3. Just UX Jobs
As the name suggests, nothing but UX jobs on the Just UX Jobs board. It’s free to post jobs and free to apply for them.
4. Smashing Magazine
Smashing Magazine maintains a UX jobs section on their site.
Dribbble’s jobs board caters to design roles of all types, and that includes plenty of listings for UX and UI designer jobs.
6. UX Design Jobs
If you’re looking for UX designer jobs, you could do worse than heading to a site called UX Design Jobs. All UX jobs here, all the time.
7. Authentic Jobs
Authentic Jobs is a tech-related job site with a healthy UX and UX designer jobs presence.
Coro-what? COROFLOT. Yes, this venerable design site has its own jobs section, including listings for UX and UI jobs.
9. Designer Hangout
Designer Hangout is a place where…well, designers hang out. But they also have a jobs board dedicated to UX designer jobs.
If you’re looking for creative jobs, Krop’s jobs board has you covered. And it doesn’t get more creative than UX designer jobs.
Ready to start your own user experience job search? Make sure to download our free UX Job Search Toolkit from the top or bottom of this page and take some of the most important facts about landing a UX job with you!