Why We Need To Embrace & Destroy UX Design

Written on 2015-09-06 • conversation

UX. It stands for User eXperience. It is the cyber- of this decade; quickly becoming a caricature of itself. And yet it is such a useful thing. Lord of The Rings helps me to understand my double relationship with this overused term.

I say overused because UX is a two-letter word that people in the tech industry put in front of pretty much any title. The most popular of which is “UX Designer”. Put it in a list like so:

  • UX Designer;
  • UX Developer;
  • UX Manager;

and even the redundancy becomes redundant. Back to:

  • Designer;
  • Developer;
  • Manager.

Any User Experience is the result of a team effort. A good User Experience is not necessarily the brainchild of one UX Designer. So how come we sell UX Design as if it is the result of thinking and/or execution by a specialised individual or group of individuals? How come we are creating schools that teach it? It is something I have been struggling to understand. Who is the real hero? It cannot be the UX Designer, but then it is.

With the danger of abusing the epic novel to illustrate a point, Lord of The Rings has helped me to understand the complexity. An analogy is obviously never 100% right, but bear with me.

Consider the concept User Experience of a product. Someone thinks hiring a UX Designer is a good idea. The organisation introduces the role to help create better products by having a central point of reference. However, so long as the role exists, that goal is not achieved. Because the true goal of so-called UX Design is for everyone in the organisation to work together on improving the User Experience, not to have one UX Designer responsible for the User Experience.

Back to Lord of the Rings. In order to have peace in Middle Earth, Frodo needs to destroy The One Ring. But this becomes very hard because the attraction to the Ring of Power is so strong.

In a very similar way, I think you need the UX Designer in order to remove UX Design from the organisation again. You need to have the role, the person, the journey. But, the role of UX Designer is an attractive role to be in and to perpetuate. When the UX Designer arrives at the point where it becomes necessary to remove the role from the organisation, it will probably all become very confusing.

Having UX Design as a concept at this point is probably useful. But we should also be prudent about thoughtlessly introducing it into our organisations. With it comes great power, and the responsibility to remove the role at some point.

If this does not make sense at all to you, that is okay. I write this mostly to better understand the dual relationship I have with UX Design. Thoughts and remarks are, of course, welcome.

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