Peter Merholz on reframing “UX design”
Peter Merholz, a UX thinker and practitioner whom I have always held in high esteem, has written a well thought through blog post on reframing UX design.
The two central paragraph in his discourse are these ones:
“UX Designer is not a workflows-and-wireframes role. Itâ€™s a leadership role (though not necessarily a management role). It is a systems role â€” UX brings humanity to systems design and engineering. UX is a fundamentally synthetic role, not just coordinating these distinct activities, but helping realize a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. And while a UX Designer uses design approaches, they are not for typical design outcomes.” […]
“Most people calling themselves â€œUX Designersâ€ are not. They are interaction designers and information architects. These are perfectly laudable practices in their own right, but if â€œUX Designâ€ is going to contribute meaningfully in this connected world, it can no longer be bound up in the constituent disciplines from which it emerged, but instead must embrace a new mandate to ensure the delivery of great user experiences regardless of where those experiences take place.”
I would question his comment that interaction designers are not UX designers. I’ve worked at several companies and although titles have changed from place to place – Experience Designer, UX designer, Interaction Designer – I fundamentally do the same type of work – designing meaningful experiences with the products and services people use. It all depends on how the company defines those roles. In my current position – we believe that the entire team contributes to the design of an experience – so we choose to use Interaction Designer over labeling one part of the team as being responsible for UX. With that said – user-centered design is infused with our culture – everybody is responsible for thinking and advocating for it. If a company lacks this, I can see how having someone lead UX thinking/strategy would be needed.