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Visual Literacy 101: Demystifying the Gap Between UX Design and Essential Presentation Tactics

Blog Image of a UX mobile wireframe versus someone giving a presentation

In the ever-evolving realm of design, the roles of UX designers are often misunderstood. While the focus is typically on enhancing user satisfaction within digital interfaces, there's an unfortunate tendency for many colleagues to assume that UX designers are also PowerPoint gurus or adept at creating visually compelling presentations and basic websites. I have experienced this myself, and it can be frustrating (to say the least). So, I want to clarify that while both are fundamental, they serve distinct purposes. In this post, I will explore some distinctions between UX design and common visual best practices. We will delve into the frustrations faced by UX designers when given tasks outside of their expertise, highlighting the professional standards often overlooked by those seeking their help in crafting visually appealing presentations.

Understanding UX Design

At its core, UX Design is about enhancing user satisfaction by refining the usability, accessibility, and overall experience during interactions with a product or platform. This applies to websites, applications, and any other space where user engagement is pivotal. In the realm of UX, there is an intentional and meticulous focus on the entire user journey – how users navigate, interact, and perceive their experience.

For example, envision a mobile banking application. The major goals of the UX designer are centered around optimizing the user experience, ensuring it is intuitive and enjoyable. Considerations include seamless navigation, clear information architecture, and minimizing friction points, ensuring users effortlessly complete their banking tasks, such as checking balances or transferring funds.

Visual Best Practices in Presentations

Visual best practices for presentations involve creating compelling, clear, and impactful visuals for effective communication. Whether it's graphs, charts, or slides, the goal is to convey information in a visually appealing manner. While UX designers appreciate the importance of visual elements in digital interfaces, the nuances of crafting a visually appealing presentation require only a small portion of the UX Designers skillset.

Take a bar chart as an example. A visually effective representation involves using contrasting colors, clear labels, and an appropriate scale to enable the audience to quickly comprehend the presented data.

Frustrations in the Collaboration

Consider a scenario where a UX designer, well-versed in optimizing user interfaces, is asked to create a presentation for a client meeting. Colleagues often overlook the fact that while a UX designer may be naturally adept at creating stunning presentations, that's just a small part of the UX designer's capability set. The emphasis on user flow, simplicity, and engagement in UX design doesn't necessarily align with the needs of a captivating presentation.

The Need for Visual Literacy

It's essential for colleagues to recognize the value of visual literacy in various professional domains. The frustration arises when UX designers are expected to fill the gaps without the proper acknowledgment of the different skill sets required for presentation design. Bridging this gap requires a collective effort to understand and appreciate the unique standards of each design discipline.

UX designers are often called upon to handle tasks that align with what many of us learned as basic visual literacy skills to earn high marks on grade school presentations. It suggests that there's a noticeable trend of individuals entering the workforce who might benefit from additional support in cultivating essential professional writing and presentation skills.


In the complex landscape of design, it can be critical employee retention and satisfaction to recognize the distinctions between UX design and visual best practices for presentations. UX designers bring invaluable expertise to the table. Acknowledging the need for visual literacy across various professional domains and fostering collaboration based on mutual understanding can pave the way for more harmonious and effective teamwork. Proficiency in crafting impactful visuals for presentations is a skill set that transcends specific roles, underscoring its universal applicability in the professional landscape. The harmonious interplay between UX design and visual best practices results in designs that not only captivate visually but also elevate the overall user experience.


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