February 16, 2017
I think we’ve all been there, you are talking to someone you don’t know well, at a dinner party, social event or family gathering, and invariably the ‘so tell me, what do you do at …..” question comes up. In the past, I’ve responded with, “oh I work on web sites, I am in IT, I’m a client/developer liaison, I design software interfaces”. Any of those responses and it was a definite understanding or at least general idea to the person I am speaking of what I do. Over the past few years when I’d say, “I am a user experience designer” or “I’m in UX”, there’s an instant deer in headlights looks. Unless I am speaking to someone in the industry, that is typically the response followed by, “oh that sounds great, what is that like?” or a quick change of subject.
How do you explain UX in 10 seconds or less?
Sure I could probably go into explaining the details of user experience; how we create personas, do user interviews, shadowing, wire-frames, design mockups, user testing and evangelize our positions as the users’ sole voice and advocate but who really wants to hear all that? Over time and with much practice, I’ve whittled down my ‘what I do’ pitch to a few quick one liners.
“I’m a User Experience Designer! I help create apps(or product name here) by collaborating with the end user and designing what they need”.
“Im in UX, which means User Experience, basically I help design how an app will work to best suit it’s users intended purpose.”
That is my usual short answer, I don’t typically go into the details this way(unless asked of course). Sometimes I will elaborate on the difference between what the user wants and what the user needs, which I believe is the heart of our craft, but you get the idea. If you do this, be careful of falling back into the longer, detailed UX explanation because sometimes we just can’t help ourselves!
Previously, I would go into way too much detail trying to explain UX. Everyone is a user, and user experience is all around us, blah, blah, blah. A light switch, an automobile turn indicator, the self-checkout at the grocery store, all have a different experience but with one main theme, a person needs to use this product and in a simple, easily understood, “Don’t Make Me Think” way!
Although I am passionate about UX and trying to simplify a users experience, I rarely do that when speaking. This was my idea for writing this article and to just jot down some thoughts on User Experience in general. It doesn’t just affect products or software we interact with but can also be useful in communication or our daily tasks.
Hopefully you will find this as an example of how creating something simple without sacrificing it’s intended purpose can be immensely useful. I’ve included a few affiliate amazon links in this article to some very informative books on the subject of UX and Usability.
Thanks for reading!