Yes, the notion of usability engineer or architect has been lost
in the term 'web designer'. The back end web developer might think some
functionality is too cool, but if it's part of a useless
poorly designed interface, what's the point. We're building the
web site for our users not for ourselves, and the user interface
designers bring that focus back to a project.
The advantage is to have a well rounded web team - UID, tech,
content folks focusing on the project, not turf.
I'm a techie who has become less interested in the implementation
details and find the UID/design side of things more interesting
right now. Now I'm certainly no artist, so I always add graphic design
people to the team, too.
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