UX Designer / Visual Designer / Interaction Designer

What’s the Difference?

Depends on who’s asking. The labels are often conflated in the jobs/recruiting arena. As noted by others here, there’s also some understandable overlap.


user experience designer : customer-centric perspective; fully featured implications (i.e. goes beyond the screen)

  • Keyword: Context

visual designer : the “make it look pretty” imperative; styling, graphics, branding, coat-of-paint

  • Keyword: Styling

interaction designer : choreographs “the dance” between UI (user interface) components and usage; functionality, flow, and workflow-oriented

  • Keyword: Agency

As a general rule, all three are sort-of-expected to have visual design skills because we tend to ‘visualize’ when we make the leap to solutions.

Note: I tend to view the UX Practice (not limited to UX design – whatever that is) as the comprehensive umbrella which encompasses all three of these. And more (Research, for example) : What is UxP?

Buzzwords in Good Currency

An eyeball assessment of traffic on LinkedIn indicates that the overwhelming majority (+95%) of new UX-ers self-identify as “designers”. Note: Some co-identify as Researchers or Product Designers …

… but the takeAway is that designer’ is the label which resonates most with clients, recruiters, and practitioners.

This is understandable on several levels:

  • It’s accessible (not a tech-term)
  • It’s visual (I see what you mean)
  • It has cachet (Think “designer brand [anything]”)
  • It provides immediate satisfaction (I like that color)

The not-so-great implications: shallowness superficiality

The Usability Umbrella embraces a far richer range of engagement and skills – yet relatively few practitioners describe themselves in those terms.

Perhaps ‘presentation’ design will become the defining term for the UX field. Other skills (Our Roles: Analysis, Research, Architecture, Strategy) will re-emerge with their own specialized labels.

  • Clearly, a fully-featured UX Practitioner is well-served by having skills beyond Presentation Style.


We’ll see …



Quora is a terrific resource.



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