• Chris DChris D, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    Yes, "everyone" contributes to the UX, but UX by committee is common in startups and small business and I have seen it create clusterfucks more often than not.

    The UX designer is the voice of the customer in the room, and they are also the conduit between business and development. They are not just cranking out deliverables, they are also diplomats that need to constantly be asking questions, challenging assumptions, and again, acting as the customer in the room. Cannot stress that enough.

    If your UX designer isn't doing that, then there is a more specific name for the job they are doing; Likely a UI/interaction/IA designer (or what have you).

    29 points
    • Clark WimberlyClark Wimberly, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

      Agreed. My main value is arguing for the user, trying to strike a balance between business goals and user benefit. Not all designers are up to that task.

      6 points
    • Andrew RitchieAndrew Ritchie, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

      I agree wholeheartedly. People tend to think about jobs with a tangible output like engineering or design in terms of the skills they require when in fact a job title means "you're responsible for this aspect of the organization." Sure many people will contribute to UX, but a UX designer has a responsibility to guide that process make sure the UX is excellent. The UX Designer has to speak up when the engineers have finished a build from the visual designer but users are still finding it difficult to find features.

      Tangentially this is also why I think it's a mistake for companies to seek out someone who does both development and design. Both of those responsibilities are so important and time consuming that you don't want your developer focused on design problems and vice versa.

      4 points
    • Ran Segall, 9 years ago

      Hey Chris :) I actually agree with you. The funny thing is I just read this article in Smashing Magazine yesterday about the role of the product manager in a company (http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/09/17/why-companies-need-full-time-product-managers/), and they seem to claim that it's the product manager's job to "be the voice of the user". So there still seems to be a lot of confusion as to who is doing what, and how we call these jobs.

      1 point
      • Chris DChris D, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

        It's a red flag anytime you have a situation where people are arguing over whose job it is to do the things that need to get done. Ultimately the person in the role will have strengths/weaknesses and will play off of their team members. Frankly, doesn't matter who you think should be doing it, it just needs to get done.

        Every company and every team can be different. There is fluidity in the type of work we do and we should be embracing it rather than writing superfluous articles giving unsolicited opinions masquerading as truth. I've met PMs with every type of background imaginable; Same goes for designers, engineers, and CEOs. Have met very few PMs that know how to conduct contextual inquiries and non-directed interviews, but hey, I'm sure they exist somewhere.

        1 point
  • Eric REric R, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    I hate articles like these. Why do we have to deal in absolutes? We are not siths....


    23 points
    • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, 9 years ago

      THANK YOU.

      Also if we're here to make things easier to understand, how about explain the role of the ux designer to "wannabe in designers" so that the role isn't misunderstood and so we don't have to just give up and "kill" it instead. I decided not to read on beyond the second paragraph because all of that happened within the first two.

      Enough link bait headlines too please :-(

      2 points
    • Roy AbbinkRoy Abbink, 9 years ago

      Could not agree more!


      3 points
  • Nick ZakharNick Zakhar, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    Call it what you want, just keep the user at the forefront, and it shouldn't matter.

    12 points
    • Lucas BebberLucas Bebber, 9 years ago

      The problem is knowing what is best for the user. That's where the UX Designer steps in.

      1 point
      • Jacky Alciné, 9 years ago

        But isn't that where the whole design process from having a good product comes in? From architecture to UI to business value, all of that should comprise of high user experience expectations.

        6 points
  • Louis-André LabadieLouis-André Labadie, 9 years ago

    Two things I have to say on that topic:

    • I like the term "Design researcher" or "User researcher". This is something that useful people with an experience-oriented position actually do. Research is something that happens all the time, and too few people actually give it a noble connotation.

    • Someone in a "UX" position will often take credit for the "experience" and present themselves as the person tying everything together in a successful project. My only advice is: Ask this person what he/she can be responsible for fucking up. Most only know to take credit, and the lack of accountability is a tell-tale sign of someone taking up a fairy-dust title.

    (Also: What you can be responsible for fucking up is usually your real title.)

    11 points
  • Jeremy WellsJeremy Wells, 9 years ago

    I understand the sentiment of the article, but it's really just a matter of semantics. Your title doesn't matter as much as what you do.

    6 points
    • Martin LeBlancMartin LeBlanc, 9 years ago

      The issue is that having the title creates the problem. It's not a single person's job to do UX design.

      9 points
      • Jeremy WellsJeremy Wells, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

        Right. Like I said, I understand the sentiment. But in reality, your title shouldn't force you to care about user experience or not. So if you're a "Software Developer" you should care about user experience just as much as the "UI Designer" on your team, and just as much as the "User Experience Master Guru" on your team.

        Unfortunately, all too often titles give people an excuse not to care about something. But, good developers, designers, and other staff members at quality agencies/organizations realize this.

        It'd be like me (as a designer) not caring about the development ramifications of a specific feature, and saying, "It's not my responsibility to think about that".

        A lot of the times, in agencies, the reason "UX {person}" titles exist is due to the need of having someone be the champion of UX, since no one else in the company is.

        5 points
      • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, 9 years ago

        True. It's always good to have someone in the company whose MO is to drive discussion and culture around improving then maintaining a good user experience, though. Someone should have it as something they are accountable for. Doesn't mean they do all the work on that specific 'part' of the product but they are accountable for making sure the product experience works for users.

        0 points
  • Nicole AydëNicole Aydë, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    UX is a hot blanket buzz word term. I dare to say 40% of the companies that look for it, don't know what they're looking for. It'd be more accurate to say, I am looking for a visual designer. I am looking for a front-end developer. I am looking for an interaction designer. I don't think it's something that is in a phase of being destroyed as a term so much as it is in the phase of needing to be defined.

    We HAVE visual, interaction, fashion etc etc designers. So what exactly is the UX designer? I thought it was someone who is centered in user research, iterative design based on user research, and extremely user-centric. More so than normal marketing analyst and marketing journey mapping. It is a different perspective on the user than what the engineer typically gives and what the marketing team typically gives, and what the sales team typically gives. That's the definition of UX that I want the world to know.

    I know at Intuit they have "Experience Designers" which I believe fits the vagueness described in the article. As "responsible designers," I don't think the right thing to do is "oh well we can't agree so let's just get rid of the term." I think it's a valuable term that is still new and needs to be developed. It might take a long time but I think that's more helpful in the long run.

    I went in a previous job as an advocate of UX design. I can assure you that by the end of that, they won't go searching for UX design so much as they will specify UI or Visual artist. And I think that's a good thing and a more clear thing to say than "Designer" I'm NOT a graphic designer. I'm NOT the front-end developer. I do research, I focus on the experience.

    Yes, ideally the entire company should be design-oriented. There was an article recently saying that Apple may not think of all its design details but the mentality is pervasive throughout the company. They STILL have UX designers just like we still have QA. Everyone should be concerned about the quality of the product, but hey someone's job still needs to concentrate on making sure every detail is okay. Again, I focus on the experience. I personally think of it as when I was making art projects back in school. I think artists are the ultimate experience designers.

    "With that said, if you want to become a UX designer, be happy, because you already are! "

    I think that statement is as frustrating as "everyone is an artist; everything is art."

    5 points
  • Martin LeBlancMartin LeBlanc, 9 years ago

    Amen. I never understood that title either. In the agencies I have worked at, a UX designer did wireframes and a UX analyst did user-testing. It kept the clients happy because the process of creating apps and sites became very linear with tangible results early on. However it didn't contribute a lot of value to the product. You can't just slap look and feel and interaction design on top of some wireframes and expect and good result.

    5 points
  • Munaf Assaf, 9 years ago

    Something I've wanted to say for a long time. This lack of clarity has also emerged with the "Product Designer" title we're starting to see, but at least it's slightly less vague than UX Designer.

    3 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, 9 years ago

    This line of thought is so wrong-headed I don't know where to start.

    Firstly, we have division of responsibilities because design is always about coming to terms with competing requirements and constraints. That's why we have specialists, so we can calculate trade-offs between code quality, business profitability and user experience. A perfectly designed user experience would give the user something amazing for free and the business would collapse.

    Secondly, division of responsibilities is about assigning responsibility and accountability. If everyone does UX, no-one does UX. If you've ever worked somewhere where 'everyone is a project manager' you'll recognise why we have project managers in the first place.

    Lastly, the idea that everyone can contribute to the UX goes against the first principle of user-centred design which is that you are not your user. If you don't have someone going out and talking to users, doing research, creating personas and user stories to help model other people, constructing and testing prototypes, gathering feedback and iterating, you're going to implicitly end up designing for yourself. Which is fine if you're creating an app for other people like you - seems like this chap works on a todo list that's primarily used by other designers - but most UX designers don't work like that.

    2 points
  • Nathan NNathan N, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    My problem with the term "UX Designer" has three main points:

    • No one understands what it means

    • Experiences are subjective and cannot be designed but they can be staged (eg., The Experience Economy)

    Finally, Donald Norman the man who coined the term UX design states that UX is little more than a buzzword:

    "the term [UX Design] has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to lose it’s meaning.” - (Adaptive Path 2007)

    2 points
  • Eric FilkinsEric Filkins, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    I'm not entirely sure why, but the abbreviation "UX" has always really irked me.

    2 points
  • Victor WareVictor Ware, 9 years ago

    Part of the problem may be the conflating of UI/UX titles.

    2 points
  • Wayne PhillipsWayne Phillips, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    Kill the CHIEF DESIGN OFFICER! -> Nice job title dear author.

    1 point
  • Dani ReuvenDani Reuven, 9 years ago

    Don't kill it just because some people use it wrong : )

    Maybe UX and it's methodologies are so different between companies, regardless of the fact we are all designers, our goals are so different in a way we could never share the same definition about UX Design.

    It could be the platform we are working for ( for example web vs mobile ) or our company's culture:

    1. In agencies that holds multiple client's projects and basically giving services to other businesses will usually try to divide the role into teams ( researches, visual, Ix, iA etc... ) and might even duplicate them with time.. which means everyones have a clear role description and it might considered to be stupid by someone to cover other peoples jobs or trying to improve something that is not related to his/her responsibilities.

    2. In startups or product companies with an horizontal structure and a strong Design culture you might see one senior Designer do UI + Ix + iA + implementation support + QA - working tightly along one or two developers knowing and understanding exactly what the outcome should be look & feel & work like and it's value to the users.

    1 point
  • pjotr .pjotr ., 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    I understand and appreciate the sentiment of the article. However UX Designers do exist, and have very different functions than UI Designers, Product Designers, Engineerings, etc.

    The term UX Designer is so misused by smaller companies (who in reality are just looking for someone to build and design their website/application as fast as they can) that it is often disregarded as an actual useful job title (for which is very much is).

    1 point
  • Mitch De CastroMitch De Castro, 9 years ago

    Never mind that the person who was asking about where to start in "UX" was just looking for some advice.


    0 points
  • Lucian MarinLucian Marin, 9 years ago

    "UX Designer" is a mess not because of "designer" word, but because of "UX". What is UX? Absolute nonsense. A product shouldn't put "user" first, it should put the product first. Why? Because people love and use products. If put the product first, you automatically and irreversible putting all your customers first.

    0 points