The problem with being a “UX designer”

The problem with being a “UX designer”

The problem with being a “UX designer”

The problem with being a “UX designer”

The problem with being a “UX designer”

November 8, 2015

November 8, 2015

 

I’m a little fed up telling people I’m a UX Designer.

To some, I get blank stares. Others eyes light up and ask, “Oh, you make apps right?” 

Describing what the job actually means to people is tricky. Recruiters often struggle with the term, confusing it with interaction design, or visual design…but they’re not to blame, LinkedIn recently found that our fellow UI designers had the most confusing job title in Australia.

Part of the problem is the lack of understanding of the title due to it’s lack of clear explanation for most people. Some great articles have tried, but the fact remains that designer’s jobs are becoming so fragmented. 

 

I’m a little fed up telling people I’m a UX Designer.

To some, I get blank stares. Others eyes light up and ask, “Oh, you make apps right?” 

Describing what the job actually means to people is tricky. Recruiters often struggle with the term, confusing it with interaction design, or visual design…but they’re not to blame, LinkedIn recently found that our fellow UI designers had the most confusing job title in Australia.

Part of the problem is the lack of understanding of the title due to it’s lack of clear explanation for most people. Some great articles have tried, but the fact remains that designer’s jobs are becoming so fragmented. 

Does it have to be like this?

We had a chat about this topic amongst our design team at Tyro recently. Different teams at work often come and ask us to “do UX” on whatever they’re working on. Apps, back office software, even application forms and marketing materials. Sure, you might think this is just part of the job for a small company like Tyro, but we’ve reached nearly 300 employees now. How could our job title accurately reflect what our jobs had us doing?

Sitting down to discuss this idea with our broader colleagues, we realised we’d come from different design backgrounds. Some of us were visual designers, some from development. I myself come from industrial design, and found ourselves juggling work that included making interactive prototypes, designing beautiful interfaces, balancing business cases with stakeholders and researching our users needs each and every week. Like a swiss army knife, we were handling this work without dedicated individuals handling specific design tasks, much unlike what might even be the norm elsewhere.

We had become the jack of all trades, master of some.

I won’t pretend that I’m a master at visual design, or even user research. But at Tyro, our design team are constantly involved in all stages of the project; from idea, all the way to launch. It feels great, and reminded us that working at in a great design team means it’s no longer good enough to say things like, “it’s not my job to do that”.

Being a designer means no longer limiting yourself to just pushing pixels and making stuff look pretty. The best designers out there solve problems that change the way people live their lives.

What’s that you say? You’re a specialised interaction/visual/service/experience designer and you couldn’t possibly tackle other phases of the design process?

Robert Heinlein captures this sentiment perfectly:

I won’t pretend that I’m a master at visual design, or even user research. But at Tyro, our design team are constantly involved in all stages of the project; from idea, all the way to launch. It feels great, and reminded us that working at in a great design team means it’s no longer good enough to say things like, “it’s not my job to do that”.

Being a designer means no longer limiting yourself to just pushing pixels and making stuff look pretty. The best designers out there solve problems that change the way people live their lives.

What’s that you say? You’re a specialised interaction/visual/service/experience designer and you couldn’t possibly tackle other phases of the design process?

Robert Heinlein captures this sentiment perfectly:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialisation is for insects."

It’s not about being great at typography, animation, layouts…your specialisation is design. Pick up your tools and keep learning.

By the way, the team at Tyro decided on being called “Product Designers”…at least until we come up with a better title.
 

James Taylor UX / UI Product Designer and Product Manager in Sydney