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UI designer writing specs

In my company's product development project, the UI designer is the one who writes the spec. The same spec document serves as the UI spec ( how things look on the screen) as well as the functional spec ( what the various features do ) . I have noticed that though the guy knows how the UI should look on the screen to the user , he slips on the functional specs simply because he is not an engineer/developer and lacks the product/domain knowledge . Do you suppose a UI designer should be the one who writes the functional spec ? A plain UI designer would hardly know about engineering issues .

indian programmer
Thursday, April 1, 2004

It sounds like a confusion of "UI Designer" with "graphic designer."

I would not expect a graphic designer to have domain knowledge, but the UI Designer MUST understand the products functionality in detail or they're just not going to be able to do their job right. In designing a user interface, their entire JOB is to translate between the language of the domain and the language of the user. If they don't speak either, they're not going to be very competent translators. I'm sure there are quite a few wannabe UI designers wandering around these days who claim to be experts at human computer interaction but don't have the foggiest notion of what it is that the computer is doing, and I'm afraid they are just not qualified.

On the other hand someone who makes icons pretty and chooses colors can be directed by a UI designer who does have the internal engineering knowledge.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Thursday, April 1, 2004

..which brings this issue: the UI designer must have some (teeny tiny) programming experience enough to imagine the algorithms behind his implementation.

Cristian Cheran
Friday, April 2, 2004

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