Ux is a buzzword frequently used not only in web industry, but across others too. It seems kind of cool to be called UX specialist or to call yourself like that. In some situations, UX is on same place and has troubles as marketing. It has to prove its value before it is considered to be included.
Many people (very often on high posts) don’t think that UX can add any value to their products or services. From this point of view, the first thing UX specialist has to do is to defend himself and his craft. Just like an SEO specialist (they are in better position now). This comes from the principle or essence of UX. Its results are not that visible as other things in web industry. If you hire Designer or Developer to build the page or to create some script, the result, while still not physical, is visible and the consequences are quite fast. This is something UX simply can’t offer. When working with user experience, you are more like a philosopher than engineer. Since UX is based on psychology, it organizes and use stuff you can’t touch. Sure, you can touch the final product or tinker with the code of page, but what you care about is the way of how people interact with those things, rather than things itself. It may look like I’m on the side of UX. This assumption is false. Today, I dare to challenge UX to defend itself as a separate field of expertise. Let the fight begin.
What is UX anyway
By definition, which can be found on Wikipedia, UX is “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service”. To understand it little bit better let’s dissect it into smaller and clearer parts. Perception is what we see around us. What we observe and recognize by our senses. Responses are our reaction to what we see and observe. This is clear. UX as whole include person’s behaviors, emotions and attitudes. I think that we can refer to these attributes as psychology factors of any particular person. Thanks to psychology and sociology we already know that our attitudes, emotions and behavior have direct influence or impact on how we respond to our environment. This can vary so much that ten people can react in ten different ways on same stimulus. What UX does, or at least UXers are trying to persuade us it does, is to observe these factors and then modify the products (the stimuli) accordingly. For example, UX specialist can watch how people interact with brand new device and then he can recommend some changes to the producer to make whole process of interaction easier. Handle is hard to use? Based on observing people you can change the design or other parameters and make using it piece of cake. That’s what UX is about. Find the problem and then think about possible solutions or enhancements. If you do your job right, interaction will be more natural.
Wait a minute…
If you are a Designer or you read something about Design, you could recognize something familiar. You are right. It’s “looking for problems and finding solutions” part. That’s your job too, it’s exactly what Design is about. Creating something which by its function solve an issue. This is the reason I think UX can, nor should, be separated from Design. It is part of it. Every Designer has to deal with psychology factors mentioned above to do his job properly. From this point of view, Designer MUST know UX as well and has it in his toolbox. Designer who doesn’t include user experience to his work is not a Designer or very bad one.
This looks like a Gordian knot. Will some be able to slice it like Alexander the Great did?
So, is UX separate field or not. I leave solving this question to you. Any idea?
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