A T-shape diagram serves as the matrix of the broad and detailed areas of expertise of a UX designer.
A T-shape diagram serves as the matrix of the broad and detailed areas of expertise of a UX designer.

The amazing T-shaped UX designer

Diving into the depth and complex skill levels of UX design

Eva Schicker
5 min readAug 12, 2022

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In the last 20 years, UX design has transformed itself exponentially as the front-end digital creative discipline. As digital complexities are manifesting with every new tech season, think new devices, navigation systems, advanced skin wearables, health monitoring devices, ear pods, home pods, smart appliances, and so many more, the role of a UX designer is also expanding into more intricate and compounded areas of expertise.

No easy feat for a UX designer. While some UX skills remain constant over time, such as user interview techniques or data gathering tools, others develop to fit new device specs. It is not always clear how to grasp the roles and requirements of the UX designer.

To better define the roles and skills, and in the true analytical spirit of UX, the UX community has created a unique matrix, the T, to define the T-shaped UX designer.

The T symbolizes the two areas of strengths of the UX designer

The horizontal bar

The top horizontal bar of the T signifies the broad areas of responsibilities of the UX designer. User research, interaction design and prototyping, writing, and even coding, all these are considered universal skills of a UX designer.

A broadly-skilled UX designer also called a generalist.

The top horizontal bar of the T can be segmented into many areas of UX expertise. These encompass the broad spectrum of the UX design process and methodologies, such as research, ideation, prototyping, designing, content writing, defining information architecture, coding, testing, or user interface design. There is no limit to the breadth of the UX designer’s general knowledge base. For illustration purposes, 7 knowledge areas are identified here.
The top horizontal bar of the T can be segmented into many areas of UX expertise. These encompass the broad spectrum of the UX design process and methodologies, such as research, ideation, prototyping, designing, content writing, defining information architecture, coding, testing, or user interface design. There is no limit to the breadth of the UX designer’s general knowledge base. For illustration purposes, 7 knowledge areas are identified here.

The vertical bar

The vertical bar of the T signifies a UX designer’s specialty. For instance, a UX designer can be a specialist in motion design, as illustrated in the yellow rectangle below. It identifies the designer’s strength in motion design in the deep-reaching bar.

UX specialist can be experts in areas such as motion or interaction design, or content writing, organizing information architecture, or even particular coding aspects of the product.
UX specialist can be experts in areas such as motion or interaction design, or content writing, organizing information architecture, or even particular coding aspects of the product.

What does a generalist UX designer do?

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Eva Schicker

Hello. I write about UX, UI, AI, animation, tech, art & design through the eyes of a designer. UX lead Lelantos Press, NYC UX GA grad. Top writer 5x.

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