ASK DN: What do you call a person who plans the structure or layout of a product and stops at designing (no code involvement)?

over 6 years ago from , User Experience Designer, ABS-CBN Corporation

There's a few number of people who are having an identity crisis - people who strategize, wireframe, and design a product but has no means to code (although knows how to code) - what do you call their position? Does that position really exist in companies or in your working environment?


  • Sabih MirSabih Mir, over 6 years ago

    Historically, from the late 1990s to about 2007, this role was called Information Architect. Still around in some places, but most people transitioned into UX roles at that point as that term UX came into mode. It's also why "UX Designer" runs such a wide spectrum of skills and talents.

    15 points
    • Matthew SaforrianMatthew Saforrian, over 6 years ago


      I'd be curious to hear how things are done at Ginger.io. I was just checking out the product and noticed that you have a "forward-deployed developer". Does that person go in with a UX Designer?


      0 points
      • Sabih MirSabih Mir, 6 years ago

        Hey Matthew - thanks for looking. Our titles here are kind of odd; for that specific role, the idea was that "forward" deployed meant someone who was more client-facing. Our product team here is pretty tightly integrated, and design-oriented. Everyone is responsible for the UX in their own way. :)

        Hope that helps. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions! sabih @ ginger.io

        0 points
  • Martin OhlssonMartin Ohlsson, over 6 years ago

    At my old job that would have been the Interaction designer.

    8 points
  • Tom WoodTom Wood, over 6 years ago

    That tends to be the job of a Project Manager at times?

    5 points
  • Matt Pinheiro, over 6 years ago

    Dude, Designer. People that design stuff are designers.

    They can be involved in various parts of the process, only in some, only in one. But they are still designers.

    In my case, I do only Information Architecture and Interaction Design, not touching Visual Design. I work for a massive company that have dedicated designers for things like icons and use a very strict visual style guide. And I still call myself a designer.

    4 points
    • Pierre de MillyPierre de Milly, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      But does anyone understand what you mean when you introduce yourself and what you do at a dinner/party?

      I find myself having to explain to every person I meet that, No, I don't have to design clothes and chairs to be a designer.

      0 points
      • Matt Pinheiro, over 6 years ago

        Oh yeah, that happens. I think my mom still don't know for sure what I do for a living.

        I try to explain it roughly like: "I decide how the stuff you use on your computer will look and behave". I don't know if people understand, but they usually stop asking.

        2 points
  • Sylvain LafitteSylvain Lafitte, over 6 years ago

    Aren't they simply Product Designers?

    3 points
    • David OngDavid Ong, over 6 years ago

      let me correct my statement: they don't design. they prepare the layout for the designers.

      1 point
      • Nick HNick H, over 6 years ago

        your topic description reads otherwise, which is making this very confusing.

        5 points
      • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, 6 years ago

        Isn't 'preparing a layout' design on some level?!

        2 points
      • Nick WNick W, over 6 years ago

        It sounds like you have a very narrow view of design?

        What you've described are responsibilities of a typical UX Designer, Information Architect or Interaction Designer (there's a whole separate discussion to be had about the proliferation of job titles in the industry. They tend to mean one thing and in practice mean another)

        As a rough analogy, an architect for a building draws blueprints, designs and oversees the construction of a building. This designer doesn't actually construct the building. 'do it all'

        2 points
  • Aaron WhiteAaron White, over 6 years ago

    Experience or Interaction Designer... we're a growing demographic ;-)

    2 points
  • Chris GillisChris Gillis, over 6 years ago

    Information Architect could be called 'Head of Product' these days.

    2 points
  • George PapadakisGeorge Papadakis, over 6 years ago

    Such identity crisis are (at times) born not out of choice but out of need.

    The smaller the schema and the more the overlapping the easier for such hybrid roles to emerge.

    ps: Such roles totally exist on my working environment.

    2 points
    • David OngDavid Ong, over 6 years ago

      That is such a valid point and thank you for reaffirming that my environment is not totally alone lol

      0 points
  • Alec MolloyAlec Molloy, over 6 years ago

    People who went to art school and now work for a software company.

    (if anyone on my team is reading this i still love you guys, a little javascript would do you good though)

    1 point
  • Nick NobleNick Noble, over 6 years ago

    IA or Information Architect

    1 point
  • Jeremy TreudenJeremy Treuden, over 6 years ago

    Information Architect ? Wireframe Developer ?

    1 point
  • Julian LengfelderJulian Lengfelder, over 6 years ago

    ux desinger

    1 point
  • Tom OakleyTom Oakley, over 6 years ago

    At my old job where I was a Junior Web Developer, they'd have been called Producers. Set up the layout and basic design for a designer to add web elements and stuff.

    1 point
    • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

      I can confirm. I'm an interactive producer, and this is a portion of what I do. However, the final product is my responsibility.

      0 points
  • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 6 years ago

    My company calls them Principle UI Designer. Stops at wireframe and pass it over to me, a Mobile UX Designer but I work in a wider spectrum along side Principal UI Designer and other Interaction Designer from planning to visual and sometimes code. :S

    I had the same identity crisis initially too, but I got passed it when I don't think about the title. On company record, my job code is I'm a software engineer.

    1 point
  • Raphael LoderRaphael Loder, over 6 years ago


    1 point
    • David OngDavid Ong, over 6 years ago

      Sorry, person stops at designing the layout rather, doesn't proceed to photoshopping or creating assets for code.

      1 point
      • Johannes IppenJohannes Ippen, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

        Designer = planning structure & layout

        Graphic Designer/Artist = visualizing structure & layout

        9 points
        • Raphael LoderRaphael Loder, over 6 years ago


          I thought it was widely accepted nowadays, that design isn't solely about the aesthetics of something. I'm working with a colleague as freelancer for an mobile app company and our role is to 'design' the product. We build the screens with wireframes (heavily using Lean UX methods) together with the product manager, developer and visual designer. We specify what the information architecture has to look like, what the transitions and interactions are, and what it's going to look like (roughly). Once we reach a point everyone's happy we hand our concepts to the visual designer, he creates the mockups/screen designs and the assets and the developers can do their work.

          Never touched Photoshop and yet we are designer.

          7 points
          • William MonkWilliam Monk, 6 years ago

            So surely you are either Information Architects or UX Designers?

            1 point
            • Raphael LoderRaphael Loder, 6 years ago

              Yes, UX designer would fit. I completely forgot about things like User research or Usability testing, as they are standard.

              Information Architecture – since we are on a smaller scale we also design the IA, but there could potentially someone else taking care of this specifically (also as part of a UX team), if there was a project that big.

              1 point
  • Louis-André LabadieLouis-André Labadie, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    Extremely late, but: I believe most of these responsibilities are grouped under "Architecture". Information architecture should work for this.

    The web is both function and information, so we're running a bit on an antiquated term here. Still, information architecture is probably the closest convention for what you're describing.

    0 points
  • David Ong, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    Thank you guys for making this conversation a lot more interesting. In my company, we were called interaction designers because being a UX designer meant more responsibilities within the different stages of a product, like a product manager.

    As interaction designers, we were the next step after the strategists and right before the visual interface designers - we worked on wireframes, userflows, user stories all based on the strategists' objectives.

    But thanks to some big wigs from a digital advertising agency who took over our department, they took out UX or interaction design for the simple reason that they believe it should be embedded on art directors. So now, I'm being positioned as a strategist, moved a step farther from planning of the design.

    0 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, over 6 years ago

    I call 'em the incomplete men.

    0 points
  • Beth DeanBeth Dean, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    A lot of larger organizations silo design this way. I worked in multiple large orgs where the preliminary work was done by someone either called an Interaction Designer or UX Designer, which was then passed off to a Visual Designer or UI Designer before code. The disconnect of working that way was often frustrating, but you'll see it frequently in companies that haven't experienced rapid growth and are more than 5 years old. This is how we worked at Progressive, as well as Hotwire / Expedia and American Greetings.

    In smaller organizations it can make sense to break work apart this way if there is a Creative Director with a strong understanding of UX work, who does the heavy interaction lifting of front-loading all the projects, and then works closely with a Visual Designer on the final execution.

    0 points
  • Ari ZilnikAri Zilnik, over 6 years ago

    UX Designer/Product Designer/Interaction Designer/Information Architect.

    Any of those work.

    0 points
  • Aaron SagrayAaron Sagray, over 6 years ago

    Product Designer

    0 points
  • Bart Claeys, over 6 years ago

    What you describe are responsibilities of an Information Architect or User Experience Designer. If you want to learn more about what a UX Designer does, please check this handy overview:


    0 points
  • Garth BraithwaiteGarth Braithwaite, over 6 years ago

    UX, or AI, or both. I've never had such a specialized position.

    0 points
  • Pierre de MillyPierre de Milly, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    As others have said, that would be an Interaction Designer or UI Designer.

    However, in the same way that good Product Designers have a very strong knowledge of industrial processes and techniques, a good UI Designer needs to know about visual design and even development, if but a little. That's probably why in some environment, they end up taking care of these different part of the product development. I don't think that it's bad. It's just a matter of the size of the product and the time allowed for development. I think that small products benefit from having fewer people working on them and designers taking care of Interaction, UI and Visual Design (even production sometime).

    If you're designing the next iPhone, of course, that's more complicated :p

    0 points
  • Courtney MarkhamCourtney Markham, over 6 years ago

    Information Architect or Interaction Designer would be my suggestions..I am a User Experience Designer and I do the IA, Interaction, Design but no code.

    0 points
  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 6 years ago

    UX Architect? Or maybe UX designer.

    0 points
  • Matt BaxterMatt Baxter, over 6 years ago

    Sounds like "Interaction Designer" to me. While most of our designers have the title of "UX Designer", there are some who do only focus on interactions and wireframes and stop before any visual design.

    0 points
  • Ignacio Palomo DuarteIgnacio Palomo Duarte, over 6 years ago

    Experience designer

    0 points
  • Ryan Hicks, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    They prepare the layout, but don't design... so wireframes? That's a UX Designer or an Experience or Interaction Designer.

    0 points
  • Tor Løvskogen BollingmoTor Løvskogen Bollingmo, over 6 years ago

    To 'strategize' I'd say Product Manager (although Product Designers also participate heavily in this) or Service Designer.

    0 points
  • Pedro PintoPedro Pinto, over 6 years ago

    Product Manager?

    0 points
  • Nikolaj StausbølNikolaj Stausbøl, over 6 years ago

    Creative Technologist?

    0 points
  • Patrick LudewigPatrick Ludewig, over 6 years ago

    Maybe "Design Concept Developer" or "Design Content Developer"?

    0 points