Gluethink: UX Amateurism and Why I’m Not a UX Designer Anymore

A lot of UX Designers are fooling themselves when they claim they are UX Designers.

They don’t have a process.

They don’t do testing.

They don’t do research.

They just jump straight into wireframes.

They jump straight into Photoshop mocks.

They produce shiny deliverables, not effective communication tools.

Sometimes, our environments don’t allow us to do it (i.e. the agency that has billable time for wireframes, but not for ethnographic research). Sometimes, we just don’t do it because we have so many other things to do (i.e. product development where we are working with 10 developers, and have 200 pages to wireframe). Sometimes, we don’t do it just because.

The passion is there to create great products, but it disappears when you need to gather all those details that are needed to create great products.

We have so many excuses, but not many answers.

A designer wrote a great post about this. This is an excerpt. Read on.

Just because I can imagine great user experiences doesn’t make my designs right.

Ah, where do I start? User experience, the ultimate goal. What all designers strive for. It’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot – but that ultimately is the problem. This user experience all lives in my head – and I haven’t really spent time with actual users on what *their* experiences will be like. I’m not the user, nor will I ever be one. While it’s great for coming up with ideas, my ideas still need to be tested against other people’s perspectives, and I haven’t done that.

If I blame the project or the place I work, maybe the fault is in my ability to convince or advocate for user-centeredness. Even without the support, I should still be doing guerilla testing but I admit giving way to an internal culture.

So I’ve done very little user testing. Or upfront research. Or even surveys or interviews. Or just asking people at their desks. Plus, it’s worse that I know how to do this stuff and still don’t do it.

But somehow, it’s not enough. Nor will it ever be. And where I’m aiming to go, unicorns and one-size-fits-all don’t seem to make sense. Maybe someday, I’ll find something I can identify with. But for now, I don’t think I can quite call myself a UX designer, because it’s getting harder to identify what I do as wholly UX. For what it’s worth, I am doing bits within UX – but I can’t claim fame to all of it.

Problem is, I’m not sure what I am anymore, or what I should be focusing on. After some thought, I think I align most with “interaction design” than any of the other disciplines (UX is not a discipline). My title as “information architect” bears some truth – I do practice IA at work (which designer that deals with information doesn’t?) but the extent to which I practice IA doesn’t give me confidence to call myself one.

Are you a real UX designer? Read on.