(warning: navel-gazing ahead)
A few weeks ago I had a great conversation with a group of people about how they see UX. What came out of that group is the idea that UX is a focus that people use when doing other things… it’s a perspective from which everybody should work.
I thought that was an interesting approach to a definitional question that has been coming up over and over again in the community.
I’ve been thinking about it since then and here’s where I’ve arrived:
UX, the way it exists now, started because Design wasn’t doing a good job. However, as design practice continues to mature, UX will get (and already is getting) absorbed back into Design.
Let me explain:
When working on a product teams use many different skills and disciplines to create the final object - there might be designers of different specialties (graphic, industrial, interaction), engineers, managers (product, project) and more. When all these people are good at what they do and work well together a good final object gets created. Obviously this is simplifying a lot of complex stuff, but I think we can all understand what I’m saying.
Somewhere along the way various groups in this team forgot about the people their object is for, and this seems to come to a peak with the web, and interactive agencies. Out of this void springs a new group of people who champion the “user” (a word I don’t really like). They begin to fill gaps the existing designers leave, and bring a whole new focus to the project.
Ideally, all these things that the new UX person does, and all the aspects of the design they are looking out for, would have already been part of the designer’s job. However, the existing designers weren’t doing a good job.
When we talk about UX are we really just talking about good, thorough, and rigorous design?
I’m starting to think that UX should, and will, be rolled back into Design. The new generation of designers coming out of school (actual design school) will probably be able to do what we currently call UX as part of their standard design methods.
Am I saying that Design “owns” UX? No.. if UX is a focus on making products/objects/services that are fun, easy, and enhance people’s lives, then it should be part of the whole company’s approach. But in the end, I still feel like we’re just talking about Making Good Things.