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Visual Interaction Designers

The Job

Job duties for interaction designers vary by employer, but their main responsibility is to make sure that digital applicants are designed well, function correctly, and can be used seamlessly by the end user. When tasked with creating a new app, Web site, or other product, they first meet with the project stakeholders to discuss the product’s features and what the end goal is for the user of the product. Then the designer calculates the time requirements, required resources, and financial outlay that will be needed to complete the work. They create a design strategy (sometimes known as a design specification or plan) for stakeholders. If revisions are requested, the designer makes them. Then the designer and other members of the design team get to work.

The designer and other team members (such as user experience designers and visual designers) may create site maps (for Web sites or apps), storyboards, or journey maps to better understand a product’s features and how users will interact with and use it. A site map is a visual summary of the information that can be found on a Web site or a system. A storyboard consists of drawings, sketches, pictures, and sometimes words that illustrate an interaction between a person and a product (or multiple people and multiple products). A journey map is used to tell a user’s story as they progress through the use of a product (especially one that has a series of increasingly complex usage levels) to identify pain-points, opportunities to improve the product, and other information that will eliminate negative experiences and create positive ones. Journey maps are created by conducting workshops with current or potential customers and other stakeholders. Designers also build interactive prototypes to test design concepts and usability and obtain other feedback regarding the product from potential customers and other stakeholders.

Once they have mapped out how the product will work and how users will interact with it, the designer starts to write the code and build the application or other product. He or she continues to test, troubleshoot, debug, and otherwise improve the product until it is released to the user. When they identify interaction problems, designers use patterns, or established solutions, to try to solve the problem. A designer may be able to revise the existing presentation to improve user interaction, or he or she may have to start from scratch to find a solution. Interaction designers often use best practice guidelines such as Human Interface Guidelines by Apple and Material Design by Google when they design user interfaces or try to fix interaction issues.

Once the product is released, designers address any interaction, performance, or other issues that are identified. They prepare technical documentation that summarizes their work on the project, any significant issues that they encountered during the process, and what they did to fix them.

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