The production of today’s advanced websites and web apps often requires involvement from a number of different development team professionals including front-end developers, back-end developers and designers. Input from marketing and communications professionals is also often needed.
More often than not, front-end developers are responsible for integrating back-end programming with the client side for a user-friendly browser display, and they are also often tasked with structuring proper layout, polishing the interaction, follow semantic guidelines and UI design patterns and with UI/UX responsibilities in general.
This is the wrong approach, in my opinion. The question we need to be asking is “What’s the proper role of UI developers in this scenario?”.
Technical differences between these two development roles:
Front-end developers’ main focus is on delivering the product as a whole. They work on integrating back-end services into the client side with the goal of achieving not only great performance but seamless information interaction as well. Front-end developers have to work closely with back-end developers and solution architects to deliver the proper information at the correct moment.
User interface developers
On the other hand, UI developers put their main focus on separating aesthetic and interaction elements and determining how each of these should interact with the information provided by the front-end engineering team: the granularity and modularity of every element and the overall look and feel is key.
UI developers tend to separate visual elements such as buttons, menus, galleries, message popups, etc.; they focus on user experience – how the user will interact with every element in the browser. From the beginning of a project, UI developers work closely with UI/UX designers, marketing managers, communications teams and product owners.
This is because they have to have a wider knowledge than front-end developers of what those teams are planning in the short, mid and long term and what to deliver to the user in terms of information architecture, business and communication strategies and user experience.
From a project perspective, UI Developers “bridge the gap” between “behind the scenes” engineering and the artistry of the finished product; they have the aesthetic sensibilities of a designer combined with great technical client-side skills.
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