My Response to UX Mag’s “We Need to Talk”

Today UX Magazine posted this short article.

The article focuses on a need for a new direction in UX and a need to answer to the UX community’s larger “needs”.  It seems that UXMag has come to a crossroads.  Will they take the direction of Smashing Magazine and become a player in the “advanced” sector of coding, design, and UX, or will they remain what they are now- a well written collection of interesting, broad articles on a wide range of UX issues.  Having written two articles for UXMag, I felt compelled to give my answers to their two concluding questions:


What are the best issues that the reach and influence of UX Magazine can be used to address?

UX is different than UI, so while the user’s experience is controlled by navigation and user interface, experience is not the same as interface.  Start looking at the thousands (if not millions) of graphic designers that suddenly claim they are UX experts because they draw a button or a menu layout.  Not just graphic designers, consider the coders who learned jQuery and Twitter Boostrap and are suddenly UX/UI professionals because Themeroller let them create a layout.

As long as UX and UI are grouped together, user experience designers will be a commodity.  User interface is something tangible and it can be measured in metrics (most of the time).  Perhaps top-level UI is information architecture, but beyond that basically anyone who can draw or code a rectangle is a UI expert.

The focus, to me, must be placed on user experience.  The experiences should be based on research and cognitive psychology, and user interface direction should come from user experience experts as part of a top-down approach to web/mobile design.


What are the best ways to move these important conversations forward?

To move this conversation forward, user experience professionals must begin to consider themselves as user experience designers and not as a plethora of related and semi-related terms (IxD, IA, ID, the other IA, UI specialist, etc.).  User experience must grow to be its own separate profession, related to but different from user interface and perhaps even interaction design (depending on how that is defined).

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