UX Engineering – Is that my thing?

I discovered the UX Engineer job title in the last week and it struck me as being something that I’d like to know more about.

Just what does UX Engineering involve and how can I get into it?


Real-world learning

My frontend practice has nosedived over the last fortnight as my 2 weeks of annual leave came to an end and I had to go back to the day job.

Along with this came a bit of an identity crisis that led to me questioning myself and my current UX Design role. Having spent a good bit of time learning and writing code most days, to go back to a code-free existence was a bit.. odd.

Fortunately, I’m not one for keeping my thoughts bottled up and even better, my manager is a UX Designer as well as a manager – so she knows how to empathise.

We talked at some length about my thoughts and whilst she will happily back me in a decision to go elsewhere, she was equally keen to see what other options there might be within my current role/dept.


Seeking opportunities

In the same week, our SEO team gave a presentation on the latest factors that Google is starting to use in their page rankings – Core Web Vitals.

Oooh. This sounds like my kind of interesting!

At a very high level, the factors now being used are the more technical aspects of UX, performance-related considerations that can be made from the development point of view.


The UX Engineer role

A number of the job listings I came across with this title were of course at Google – though I have to say, the actual job description was a bit lacking in detail so I’ve not yet been able to reverse-engineer it to create a focused learning path towards it.

A bit more reading led me to recall the Amazon FE Engineer role from my previous post about how I’m creating my frontend portfolio.

Accessibility, Optimisation, Responsive Web Design techniques, Semantic HTML – these are all the things that crop up again.

They are becoming what I’m starting to consider as Technical-UX. Just like the Technical-SEO that can be applied to a page’s markup to ‘perform’ better in search results, Technical-UX is the work that can be done on a page to improve the user experience.

This is just the beginning of my exploration of the role and the skillset it requires but has come around at just the right time for me.


Moving forwards

I’ll still be trying to carry on building a portfolio of frontend development work in the months and years to come, but I have finally found a little niche that may be just what I needed.

The work carried out within the UX Engineering role seems to be all those areas of development that are often neglected, yet they are areas that have an impact on all web users.

I hope to explore this overlapping of UX design and Frontend development more in the coming months, especially as it’s an area that I can have some impact on in my role at VisitScotland where we are starting to see some of these issues directly impacting user experience on our sites.