Acronym’s are exclusive
I always wondered about an activity involved in making things easier to do and understand, using an acronym like UX, it seems quite exclusive to me.
What I do
I tend to work as User Experience Architect, I’m going to break this down a bit to the Who, What, How (-When and Where we can look at these later)
A little history
There is a current practice of reconstructing what we do almost seems to make the point for me that what we do is still flexible.
It used to be Information Architecture (circa 2006), then it became User Experience, now it’s proliferated like a poorly monitored international treaty. UX researcher, UX requirements gathering, information architecture, content author, interaction designer, usability tester, user experience tester, brand identity management etc. Now there are also things like UXD (User Experience Designers) coming along created by someone who needs to read books and not just Internet blogs UXD = IXD. I’ll be looking for that one on CV’s, straight to the bin ‘Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200!
Anyway let’s get back to it!
Why the rant? Well UX was always a working title but it’s just no longer fit for purpose. I’m not trying to name things as such that’s pointless, I just want ask question about what we do, perhaps the question is what do you do? I can only answer for myself.
Let’s start with Who!
Who, used to be the target audience, so user was an inoffensive descriptor. Does that still fit with a savvier client base? I think User is too open to corruption (misuse, redirection) and not specific enough;
User is derived from Use (there are loads of words associated, look them up yourself), the one that resonate with me are the Verb based ones, Work with and Consume.
Next What are we creating?
There is a huge debate going on into weather or not you can create an experience for people, some say it’s not possible other say it is. I’m with the ‘it is’ camp on the bases that I do it. For the most part no one seems to notice that I have created a contained environment with decision points that I have constructed and distribute (if in scope) content drivers located across the web.
User Experience from my perspective is not a User Interface instance it’s multiple User Lifecycle instances.
Along with the landing and environment goes the psychology of use, adoption and attribution. Users are a derivative of social templates to a small point, but much more they are a derivative of their life experience template (described in my research as Biographical Templates). It is certainly more complex to map, but importantly not impossible if seen as Drivers, Decision Points and Outputs (also from my research, which I have not published).
I looked up Environment and got lots of great words but again from my perspective ‘Context’ makes the most sense.
Now to the How
Since what we now do is splitting between management and production, as observed in large companies hiring Experience Managers who have not got a clue, we have to decide where we sit? I’m going to continue to do both but I can’t leave the management of what I love doing to people without the ability to do it themselves so I’m opting for management. In that respect it’s all about Strategy and Planning, but let’s just keep it to Strategy.
Through the above process I have transformed myself to a Consumer Context Strategist, have a go it was fun!