The future of UX design
Nikkel Blaase

I appreciate articles like these that advocate for designer-empowerment and influence, but all you really did here was ask for the keys to the castle without providing any fact-based evidence as to why designers should get ownership of such executive, high-level strategy.

Organizations do analyze data, perform user/market research, do ‘innovation management’ (whatever that is) and develop product strategies. These things are being done by people with business experience, typically with MBAs or degrees in other fact-based disciplines like finance or engineering.

Just because designers aren’t performing these functions (or writing articles on Medium about them) and they are not called UX, doesn’t mean that they are not being done or appreciated.

The reason why designers don’t get to own high-level functions like data analysis/research/strategy/etc. is that they don’t know how to do them as well as other people. The skills that designers are actually trained in on the left hand side of your “Interface Design/ Product Design” chart do not translate to the skills on the right.

The fact is designers aren’t strategists or data analysts or product managers because we don’t need them to be. Businesses, especially large ones, need designers to be designers. We need designers to think strategically about a businesses’ strategy and create a design that will hopefully push the product in the direction of that strategy. If a designer takes on a role of making executive, high-level decisions then they are no longer a designer and likely have a lot of experience in business functions that have gotten them to that level. Same goes for engineers or finance people.

The thinking that UX is this all-encompassing discipline that is led by a single person or team completely discredits other professionals who have spent money and time developing skills in management, research, strategy, finance, etc. and basically says that a designer can do their job or that they need the guidance of a designer to do their job well. Not to mention that asking an MBA or BS in finance or engineering to take strategy direction from a BFA without any type of executive authority is a tough sell in the business world.

The design community as a whole is really good at making a case for why they want to influence high-level strategic functions and I’m not saying that designers can’t lead products, they just typically don’t make very convincing arguments for why they should.