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Tom Cunningham
Blog
Tom Cunningham
September 3, 2020

What is a UX Engineer at Aptible?

First, what is a UX Engineer?

The landscape of front-end engineering has changed drastically in the last few years. In the past, front-end engineers were depended upon to translate design comps into functioning HTML, CSS and JavaScript. More recently, with the explosion of the JavaScript ecosystem, front-end engineers are now expected to work more broadly across the entire stack, and in some cases, have more of a traditional computer science background. So is there still a place for front-end engineers who still enjoy writing CSS?

Enter the UX Engineer.

UX Engineers sit between product design and front-end engineering and help facilitate collaboration between the two. They usually maintain similar technical skills as the front-end engineer, but they are more specialized in their knowledge of UX design principles and have a keen eye for design.

uxe-graphic

At Aptible, UX Engineers play an important role in helping shape the user experience of our products. For this reason, UX Engineers are members of the design team and regularly collaborate with product designers to review and scope new UX features. UX Engineers determine the technical feasibility of implementing the proposed UX and conceptualize how it should be built.

Aptible’s UX Engineers focus their efforts primarily on translating design assets into functioning prototypes, patterns, or components which can then be implemented in the product or added to the design system. They advise when to apply an existing pattern or component versus creating new ones.

Usually, the work of implementing a new feature within the product is the responsibility of our front-end engineers, but sometimes UX Engineers are tasked with building or improving upon existing UX within our products themselves, which depends on the scope, timeline, and type of feature being implemented. In these cases, UX Engineers and front-end engineers may collaborate together to ship the feature.

Another main responsibility of UX Engineers is to build and maintain our design system, which we call Arrow. Arrow is a collaborative effort between product designers and UX Engineers to normalize design patterns, styles, and language. However, UX Engineers own Arrow and develop it as a separate product by maintaining a roadmap, grooming and planning sprints, building the architecture, and implementing features. Aptible UX Engineers split their time 50/50 between Arrow and product feature development.

Some of the other areas of focus for an Aptible UX Engineer include:

  • Accessibility
  • Prototyping
  • Ideation
  • Performance
  • UX testing
  • Addressing UX bugs and inconsistencies within the product

As the landscape of JavaScript continues to evolve, there will be a need for specialists all along the spectrum of front-end engineering. UX Engineers at Aptible are an important part of the product development process by blending UX knowledge with technical skills to fill the gap between product design and front-end engineering.