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Ask DN: How did you explain to your parents what you do? ("He is my son and he makes websites!")

almost 4 years ago from , UX designer

I moved to Milano few months ago to start a new life experience as UX / UI Designer. I love my job. I love the company I work with. I love my new life. It's so awesome to share my happiness with my lovely girlfriend, my friends and my parents but there is a big problem with them (my parents)... I don't know how to explain in simple words what I do. So my question is:

How did you explain to your parents what you do? My mother use to introduce me to her friends saying "Davide makes website... or something similar" and I would like to let her know in simple words what is my job about... without making her feel stupid!

39 comments

  • Mustafa DemirkentMustafa Demirkent, almost 4 years ago

    "He does something with computers. The internet etc." - moms & dads, everywhere.

    27 points
  • Jared KrauseJared Krause, almost 4 years ago

    "I design apps and websites"

    I mean, that is what you do. Don't make it complicated. No one cares to know the difference between UI/UX or why hierarchy is important.

    12 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, almost 4 years ago

    From my experience:

    I am a graphic designer!

    Result: “Excellent! I need some business cards designed…”

    I am a web designer!

    Result: “Awesome! I’m trying to build a website…”

    I am a user interface designer!

    Result: Strange look and disinterest.

    I am a UI designer!

    Result: Strange look and disinterest.

    I design software!

    Result: “That sounds interesting.”


    After lots of A/B testing, I'm sticking with “I design software”.

    11 points
    • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, almost 4 years ago

      As a Web designer, I wish everyone always told me they need a website built.

      However, I know that most of those people have the idea of a YouTube clone with a $50 budget, so I'm thankful for me qualified client list :)

      0 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, almost 4 years ago

        Yeah, the jobs mentioned above aren’t good jobs. And yep, I’ve been asked lots of times by an acquaintance not in the industry to help build a clone of something popular. I don’t think they realise that there’s teams of 10s, 100s or 1000s of people who work on the websites and services they like.

        0 points
  • Jordan KoscheiJordan Koschei, almost 4 years ago

    "He fixes printers."

    8 points
  • Daryl GinnDaryl Ginn, almost 4 years ago

    So, what do you do for a living?

    "I design and develop websites and apps."

    Oh, computers and that?

    "Yeah."

    8 points
  • Greg ChristianGreg Christian, almost 4 years ago

    "I make internet."

    6 points
  • cliff nowickicliff nowicki, almost 4 years ago

    It's funny because I had this same discussion at work earlier. When describing my job, I give people the top overview "I'm a UI/UX Designer and it's my job to visually design the interface and make sure the user has an easy time getting from point A to point B" Then I ask if they have any questions, I'd be more than happy to explain in further detail what I do.

    6 points
  • Trev MorrisTrev Morris, almost 4 years ago

    But isn't that enough? I get that it's not ALL of what you do and it's a catch-all term I think most of us use when explaining to people out of our industry. But if at the end of the day, you DO make websites, I would have thought that would suffice?

    At 100 Shapes, we work for broadcasters, making internal tools for production, marketing, media teams, as well as epic interactive experiences, branding, some print work, UX training.. I usually show my parents the work to let them decide what it is I do - usually "magical internets for BBC" or "A to-do list for ITV".. which suits me just fine.

    4 points
    • Davide Pisauri, almost 4 years ago

      Thank you for your reply :) The point is that my mother would like to know more about my job. To know that I make website is not enough for her, she would like to know everything but at the same time she doesn't know anything about design so I would like to explain her the thing in a easy way.

      2 points
  • Davide PisauriDavide Pisauri, almost 4 years ago

    UPDATE I wrote to my family on whatsapp asking, first, how do they describe my job to someone and my mother said: "You design something like websites... but trying to do something nice because you know what people want" I think that it is a nice upgrade because "something like website" means "everything in a display".

    Then I wrote about this post and my mothers said: "We are happy to know that we are not alone... if you are going to post my answer on that website please say that your father wrote that"

    Here is the screenshot: http://imagizer.imageshack.us/a/img908/5301/BjKZed.jpg

    3 points
  • Juan Gonzalez, almost 4 years ago (edited almost 4 years ago )

    I work for Match (aka Tinder, OKCupid, Meetic & cie), so what I tell people to explain my everyday job (Lead UX product designer) is :

    I help people find the right person to spend the rest of their life with

    It doesn't explain what my tasks are, but it helps people really understand the goal and the meaning of my job.

    So maybe you could try this, not explain your everyday job & tasks, but what your work is about, its goal and its meaning.

    It could be something like :

    I help people feeling better when they use digital product

    And if you want to add something, maybe you could try this :

    I help people feeling better when they use digital products by understanding their goal and make it easier, and nicer (more beautiful?), for them, to achieve it.

    Hope you liked it!

    3 points
    • Davide Pisauri, almost 4 years ago

      to work at match it's my new dream! Love your line about what you do!

      0 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 4 years ago

      Well in the context of Tinder... the rest of the night with. Great line though.

      3 points
    • Rick LanceeRick Lancee, almost 4 years ago (edited almost 4 years ago )

      I help people find the right person to spend the rest of their life with

      "So you're a dating expert? My wife and i have some trouble these past few years, can you help?"

      4 points
  • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, almost 4 years ago

    I simply tell people:

    I make websites and apps for the finance industry.

    2 points
  • Joe ShoopJoe Shoop, almost 4 years ago

    "I make sure that my company is building a website or app that people will understand and want to use."

    1 point
  • Pierre de MillyPierre de Milly, almost 4 years ago

    You could probably go with something like "to make a website or app, you need a team of people. I'm the one in the team who decides where everything should go and how it should look so it's best for people who use it".

    That's how I explain UX/UI usually.

    1 point
  • Account deleted almost 4 years ago

    What everyone else said..just don't say your are a storyteller or changing the world. ;-)

    1 point
  • joe andersonjoe anderson, almost 4 years ago

    Tell them you make websites/apps similar to what they are familiar with. Then you can describe more about what you do within that website/app whether its just design or making it work.

    1 point
  • Taurean BryantTaurean Bryant, almost 4 years ago

    Usually saying "I design x,y, and z" is enough. In the instances where saying design is not enough and they want to understand more, I use architecture vs construction as the analogy.

    0 points
  • Rebecca MachamerRebecca Machamer, almost 4 years ago

    I've run into the same problem with my parents. I've explained to them many times that I am a Product Designer and I design the product/software at the company I work for. They STILL introduce to people and say I'm a Graphic Designer... My mom has even recommended me for things on LinkedIn such as brochures, pamphlets and postcards. No mom, no.

    0 points
  • Joshua ButnerJoshua Butner, almost 4 years ago

    A typical response, after speaking words that feel like jargon even though they may not be, is "I build the internet."

    Maybe a little bit on the Al Gore side of things, but my heart is in the right place, I promise.

    0 points
  • Jonah BitautasJonah Bitautas, almost 4 years ago

    I've been working on the web professionally since 2003 (pre-Google IPO for better context) and Mom still doesn't have a clue what I do. I've made peace with the fact that's never going to happen.

    0 points
  • Braden HammBraden Hamm, almost 4 years ago

    I usually say something along the lines of "a combination of research and design to make sure the website or app is easy to use and nice to look at."

    0 points
  • Nate DaubertNate Daubert, almost 4 years ago

    My dad is pretty tech savvy and understands what I do. My mom often needs help with her computer or phone. I tell her that my job is to make sure people need to ask for help less often by making hardware and software more intuitive.

    0 points
  • James Young, almost 4 years ago

    I tell everyone I design and build websites. The same as I've done for more than 10 years.

    0 points
  • Michael RurkaMichael Rurka, almost 4 years ago

    "I design logos, apps, and websites. Stuff like that" Is my laymen job description :)

    0 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, almost 4 years ago

    "I help people make easy-to-use software."

    0 points
  • Andrea MontiniAndrea Montini, almost 4 years ago

    Dear Davide, great to know you're living here, I'm from Milano too. And as many of us, I feel embarrassed whenever someone approaches the topic whilst mum or dad are nearby. I got educated my mum to say something like "he's a web designer" and I feel this is the greatest achievement so far. I've to make some more efforts, though.

    0 points