Moving into UI design / UX from another webspecialism

15 Mar 2009 - 10:23pm
402 reads
Dante Murphy

I love this topic.

Let me start by saying that I made a similar transition almost 15 years ago, the major difference being that I didn't know that there were other people out there doing UX work. It was almost five years before I met another person who called himself an IA, and 8 before I worked in a department with more than one.

Now I'm leading a group of ten dedicated UX professionals, and only one (not me) has a UX/IxD/HCI degree. Most of us also transitioned from other disciplines, either programming, UI development, writing, visual design, even administrative roles. And there isn't a one on the team I would trade.

Why? Because they meet what I consider to be the most important criteria for UX professionals: passion, intellect, and (to a lesser degree) relevant experience. And by relevant experience I include professional UX work, all of the ancillary roles we interact with, and even insightful consumer/user experience. My feeling is that if you bring the heart and the brain, we can fill out the experience together with training, mentorship, and collaboration. Also, the tools, platforms, and conventions in our trade change so quickly that experience quickly becomes stale.

So my advice is to not settle for a junior role, but rather look for a way to parlay your relevant experience into a hybrid role, then evolve.



From: discuss-bounces at on behalf of David Little
Sent: Thu 3/12/2009 1:38 AM
To: discuss at
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Moving into UI design / UX from another webspecialism


This follows on from a discussion I was involved with regarding
education for UX professionals. I'd be interested to know how easy
it's considered to move from one area of web work into a more
UI/UX-focused role (but still within the web industry).

I've read a couple of comments on older discussions that suggest
that it isn't that easy but I'd be interested to get wider

I'm currently working as a Web developer but have always been more
interested in the interaction / UI aspects of the job rather than
just the technical side, although it's only been reasonably recently
that I've realised this is a whole separate area!

Ideally I'd like to move from my current role into a "proper" UI /
UX role. In order to do this, I'm currently studying a
postgraduate-level course in UI design and evaluation (not a
Master's). I'm also trying to refine my experience a bit -- pushing
UCD where I can in my current work, redesigning my portfolio to
emphasise the UI design aspects of it, reading the blogs /
discussions etc. I'm also considering whether to take on voluntary
work or contacting agencies / individuals to find out a little bit
more about what they do.

Do people have any views on this -- indeed has anyone made the
transition from another web role (web designer, developer etc.) into
a UI/UX role and if so do you have any comments or recommendations?
Or is education to the key here, e.g. is an MSc in HCI etc.

With many thanks,

Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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