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Who can call themselves a UI developer, without being a poser?
I've noticed people calling themselves UI developers, which I would categorize as web designers instead. I'm not knocking it, I'd just like to know who's the real deal.

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closed as not a real question by Jim G., Kilian Foth, gnat, Martijn Pieters, Bart van Ingen Schenau Apr 8 '13 at 9:25

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@Renesis: developers of database layers and APIs might not be called "web developers" since their components might (in theory, at least) be used outside a web context. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 15 '11 at 16:10
as its not a protected title, anyone can call themselves a UI developer programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/135911/… –  jk. Apr 8 '13 at 8:27

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'd say that a UI Developer who does web pages is doing more than just HTML layout. They are probably writing code in JSP or some back-end language like Java to manipulate and present the data to the end-user. They probably write (or are at least capable) of writing JavaScript, AJAX, and other related technologies. They probably have an understanding of how page routing and paths work. In fact, they might not even design the initial HTML layout, the basic template might be given to them with "fill in the code here" in places.

If all they can do is graphics and layout, I'd call them a UI Designer, not a UI Developer.

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Isn't some of what you're describing a UX designer? –  DisEngaged Mar 15 '11 at 15:54
I'm guessing by "UX" you mean "User eXperience"? That seems like it would still be something a UI developer does. Could you make a clear distinction between the two? –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 15 '11 at 16:01
http://I think a person would need to do both with that title. UX can be just the wireframe design. UI involves the actual interface and coding. This describes the difference www.uxpassion.com/2010/04/ux-not-ui-learn-stop-trivializing/ –  DisEngaged Mar 15 '11 at 16:09
@FXquincy: I think UX is mostly a buzzword, and is really just a concept that any good UI Developer OR good UI Designer should have a deep understanding of. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 15 '11 at 16:23
Why the assumption that UI = something running in a browser. Isn't a desktop UI equally valid? –  Peregrine Apr 8 '13 at 7:14

A true UI developer is someone who works on the interface itself in determining the least amount of user friction in specific actions, determining that flow pattern of an interface, the best places to put various features based on statistical interactions, etc. Don't confuse a UI expert with a web designer. Most web designers are just concerned with making something that looks pretty right now. UI developers/expert are concerned with making something usable, understandable, and pleasant to work on.

Consider a remote keyless entry for a car. It has a UI. Typically it's 3-4 buttons that have various actions and in some cases when combined with being inserted into the car or multiple buttons pressed will do something else. These things were not built by designers, they were built by UI experts who have studied human behaviors with respect to this device and have made decisions based on that.

The web is really no different. There are people who hold similar expertise in the computing field. The dean of the college of computer science at my school had a Psychology degree and a PhD in User Interface Systems (or something of that nature). They understand human behaviors and interactions and are very adept at defining how a system should behave and operate within a user context.

That being said, most people that I've ever met claiming to be "UI Developers" have been designers with programmer envy.

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"Designers with programmers envy" I know the type –  DisEngaged Mar 15 '11 at 15:40

I think generally a UI developer is someone who is much more focused on the functional details, and much less on design aspects (UX, styles, consistency, etc.). A UI developer would be someone who has a great understanding of the functional composition of a web page using HTML / CSS and can take a wireframe design and turn it into a functioning, well formatted, optimized, cross-browser compliant web page. They are also usually very technical people so they have a very a great understanding of how browsers work "under the hood" and how they communicate with servers. I'd also say they usually have a programming background, so they are able to do write very complex scripts.

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  1. Have a good knowledge of browsers .
  2. Have a good knowledge of client side technologies.
  3. Possess a very good understanding of how common people interact with the web site .
  4. Have a good aesthetic sense.

A good designer might also figure out ways to code for Internet Explorer :) (thank god Microsoft is campaigning to get rid of IE 6)

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