Category: design

Was UX Ever Alive?

I read a great article this morning at Inc. entitled “Is UX Dead?” as penned by Yazin Akkawi.

In the article, Yazin posits on the field of UX in total. Who are UX designers? Do they have proper job descriptions? (Personally, I’ve always struggled to tell my mother what I do.) Digital technologies have such an enormous impact on our society, do these individuals have the ability to ethically, morally and responsibly push us forward?

Challenging questions.

One of the first images that popped up when I googled UX.

At the end of the day, I don’t believe there is such a thing as UX. I do not know that there ever was, because proper UX is what we used to call DESIGN.

The professor I studied under at Texas Tech, Frank Cheatham, proclaimed that if you could learn to design, you could design anything. Graphics, furniture, a book, a house, whatever. Massimo Vingelli, as many other modernists, shared that belief. Me too.

Design is a deeply human activity. If done properly, it should engage with people, and motivate them to action.

UX falls into the same bucket of “Design Thinking”, of which I have been openly critical, as more of a business practice and formula than a way to enhance lives. Natasha Jen drives this point home in her brilliant talk given at 99U.

So the question becomes, was there ever a thing called UX or is it just another fancy way of saying Design?

Working on a new word that more accurately describes the stuff I do. I seem to fall somewhere between advertising and design. Designed, but not too designy or designerly. Idea driven, but not entirely verbal; you have to be able to describe it before you visualize it. The lines between the two have always been a bit blurry. Kind of like trying to explain the difference between and Art Director and a Designer to your mother.