At the moment, one of the most annoying things I encounter are people that misuse the term, UX. Albeit newly coined, UX is an acronym for “user experience.” For many professionals that govern user experience, like myself, our titles are almost always followed by the word “design.” Some of us believe the word design to be the root of all confusion.
Many UX Designers aren’t designing websites, applications or other interfaces in the same sense as a visual or interface designer. But the word design does accurately describe the intangible culmination of consultative strategy that brings solutions to users.
Due to all of the confusion, we UX designers have started to change the conversation. So, we’ve taken to calling ourselves UX Architects, UX Engineers, or UX Strategists. Some of us have even dropped the word “user” altogether and just go by Experience Architect/Engineer/Strategist. It’s important that we differentiate ourselves.
As the practice of UX broadens, we must accurately portray our highly specialized value. And we must limit our risk of becoming marginalized as only interface designers. After all, we could be a researcher and persona writer in a senior UX role and never touch an interface design (or even have the skills to).
The biggest problem is when our leaders (bosses, HR departments recruiters and clients) don’t even understand the term, UX. In the worst cases, they’ll misuse it by slapping it onto every person’s business card in the design department.
But do they perceive value in UX by collaborating on deliverables or providing feedback on anything other than interface and visual design? Are they engaged and knowledgable enough leaders to support the career growth of a UX practitioner?
So what does UX actually mean?
The various UX roles that a person can fulfill are plentiful. Some are whole jobs, some whole careers, and others are tactical roles we all dip in and out of.
UI design is a huge part of UX. I would say that in a good majority of cases the UX designer does in fact design the interface. But UX is not UI. This is where the education of others comes in. Helping people understand just what UX is and the invaluable role it plays is illustrated beautifully with the UX Umbrella by Dan Willis in the inspiring post, “UX is not UI” by Eric Flowers.
Now you can take a stand for UX design against ignorance. Support the campaign by posting this on your CEO’s door: