UX Developers Aren't a Thing

UX is not made of code. Developers work with code. So what does a UX Developer do?


I just want to call your attention to a problem that seems to be growing instead of dying the horrible death it deserves:

Job ads for “UX Developers”. 

For the record: developers are great, smart, valuable people. Code and the expertise of planning, writing, testing, and optimizing code is a critical part of any digital product or service, and deserves as much respect as design.

Sometimes more.


Repeat after me:  UX Developers do not exist. 

This isn’t one of those trendy articles that says something doesn’t exist and then proceeds to explain how it does exist, but it’s different than you thought.

I am saying “UX Developers” are not part of our universe.


UX is made of psychology, strategy, subjectivity, business goals, copywriting, usability, and design. “Developers”, as a role description, do none of those things.

UI Developers exist. Definitely. They are also called “front end” developers. They build the UI.

UI is made of pixels and code and is populated by dynamic data and information sent from the server. Developers do all of those things.

Sure, there can be some overlap. And sure, you can do both jobs.

But a “UX Developer” is a mythical job title, created to be trendy nonsense. 


UX and UI are very different things.

If you program the animation that grabs a user’s attention, you did not “program” a user’s experience. You programmed an animation. 

If you write the javascript for a form that gets more conversions than your old form, you did not build a better UX. You built a form.

If you researched your problem, and interviewed users, and found patterns of behaviour in the data, and wireframed a new form with an animated button to solve your problem — based on your research — and then you planned an A/B test to prove your design was better, and then you wrote the javascript for the form with an animated button…

You designed the UX.

And you also coded a form with an animated button.

If the A/B test proved that your new design was worseare you going to blame the person who did the code, or the person with “UX” in their title?

Ahhh… not so eager to be a “UX Developer” now, are we?


If you’re a UX Designer who can code; awesome! You’re special, but you’re still not a UX Developer.

If you’re a UI Developer who has a good sense of usability; great! You’re also special, but you’re still not a UX developer.

Saying “UX Developer” shows that you have no idea what UX is. If you did, you would hate yourself every time it comes out of your mouth.


(Unless you program human brains, then we’re cool.)