The most common trendy word/notion/profession/guru around today is a ‘UX Designer’ or a ‘UX master’ or some other variation of this word. It really reminds me of the word ‘Business man”. A highly useless word that used to be popular.
Here is why I think its impossible for an individual to be a UX designer.
UX = user experience. This is absolutely the broadest term that one can come up with in relation to designing any software or digital interaction.
The reality is, UX is comprised of every single thing that goes into that platform, to name a few; graphic design, UI design, branding, software behaviour, database architecture, logic of data delivery, information architecture, copy, imagery, name/domain selection, SEO and the kitchen sink.
Logically, if there is a human being that can do all of those things, and do them well — he is either a god, a millionaire or already working for google.
The reality is that most people have some high level idea of what they are looking for and manage people that implement based on their vision.
Hypothetical Made Up Case
You want to design a home page. Hypothetically, you — the ‘UX Designer’ would have 3 other people involved:
- A graphic designer
- A copy writer
- A developer
You come up with some concept.
“I want a 2 sentence punch line, I want it to feel really happy, I want to have a screenshot of the mobile apps and some cool background image. I also want to some cool transition to happen once I click ‘Sign-up’”.
(Please note, this is obviously an over simplification).
At that point, your team gets to work. The copywrite comes up with some cool tag line options, which you review and evolve. The designer takes the tag-line and general concept and comes up with 2 or 3 solutions, which you iterate and iterate and then settle on. The developer then suggests a couple of transitions or java animations that can interact with the design and structures the database interactions without you even thinking about it.
Collective iteration and more iteration and soon enough you have the UX of that interaction ‘designed’.
All team members contributed to it, sure, based on some original concept or vision but ultimately, the expertise and contribution of all the team members is what resulted in the end product. If you were to replace any of the team members — you would most certainly have a different end result.
#1 “I create such a detailed vision of exactly what I want that my team is on auto-pilot just implementing my detailed road map, step by step vision”.
Well, then you are not really benefiting from having a team, and you are employing unskilled and unexperienced labor. If you are building something simple — cool, but I doubt you can produce something world class alone.
#2 “It was my original concept, so who cares if the team had leeway to add their 2 cents? Also, I approved or disproved their work and ideas. Its mine, all mine!”.
The magic of collaboration lies in the fact that often you don’t know you like something till you see it. There is most certainly immense value added at every step of the process, regardless what the process flow for your team is. The step between wire-frame and vizualisation to a living and breathing interaction is huge.
Anyhow, the moral of the story is, I don’t like UX Designers. To me it seems like they take all the credit for the work their team does, unless ofcourse they are a one man team.
I also don’t like the phrase UX unless part of a broad discussion. It reminds me of the word business. It makes sense as a philosophical concept to base all thinking around, but the minute it is said, it becomes a fugazi.
In my opinion ofcourse.
Thanks for reading.
No Label Inc. is a digital media lab that is currently focused on Dive Advisor.