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. It’s a leadership role (though not necessarily a management role). It is a systems role — 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 “UX Designers” are not. They are interaction designers and information architects. These are perfectly laudable practices in their own right, but if “UX Design” 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.”

One comment

  1. 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.

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