In some organizations, “User Experience” is a treated differently from “Visual Design” (or “Creative”) and there is a distinct separation between the teams. In others, Visual Designers are an integrated part of the User Experience team. Regardless of team structure, however, there is often a pattern of UX deliverables such as wireframes or basic prototypes being handed off to Visual Designers to “skin,” or as some unfortunately call it, “make things pretty,” with little or no further involvement from the rest of the UX team.
There are some common problems with this approach:
- Information Architects and Interaction Designers feel they lose influence over the design process once it’s in the hands of a Visual Designer
- Visual Designers don’t feel they are involved early enough in the process to understand design inputs or to influence what goes into a given design
- There’s an inherent disconnect between the knowledge that went into wireframes/prototypes and what is translated over to the Visual Designer
- Design decisions are often seen as subjective as opposed to grounded in research and analysis
There are several techniques that members of the “big D” Design team (including all UX roles/responsibilities) can use to better collaborate to make sure the end design best represents an optimal user experience and is grounded in input from the entire team.