In the past, I’ve been called an Information Architect, Interaction Designer, Experience Designer, UX Specialist, and probably a few other choice words that won’t be listed here. The title isn’t what matters to me. What matters is crafting things people want to use, be it a website, mobile app, kiosk, door knob, or restaurant menu. Things that work. Things that make sense. Things that make you wonder “Why wasn’t it like this before?”
What I Do
UX has become a fairly large and nebulous term with a large number of very talented folks doing a variety of tasks. So what is it that I think I do well / enjoy doing?
It’s called human centered for a reason, and I think what I find most valuable about the field is finding out how I can improve someone’s day. It may be a small usability improvement or a brand new tool, but if I can figure out the root cause of someone’s frustration and figure out a way to alleveiate it, that’s a win. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. I’ve used surveys, competitive/heuristic analysis, in depth interviews, usability and prototype tests, ethnography/shadowing, card sorts, and any number of other methods to try to understand what someone is doing now, what they are trying to do, and how we can make it better.
I don’t know if that is a real term, but it’s what I use to refer to the various pieces/processes that help a design team do what they do best. I’ve set up pattern libraries to help create consistency and cut down on re-work. I’ve defined and documented the flow an idea takes from inception to delivery to ensure the entire product team is coordinated. I’ve created a shared dictionary so the entire team from sales to QA can agree on a shared terminology. These aren’t things you necessarily see on a project timeline, but I’ve found they have a large ROI for the team and product.
Nuts and Bolts UX
And of course, there are the traditional UX deliverables. Wires, site maps, user flows, personas, prototypes, etc. These are all valuable arts of the design process and should not be overlooked. I’ve worked in a number of tools at varying levels of fidelity to communicate to internal and external stakeholders what the proposed solution is before moving to more costly levels of design and development.
How I Work
I believe design should be collaborative. I do not claim to be the expert in whatever field I am working in. That isn’t my role. I belive in UX as a facilitator and enabler of others to achieve the best possible result. I do my best to gather in the necessary points of view to ensure that we are addressing and balancing them all as best we can. I think this works best when the entire team is involved in some capacity from start to finish and has ample opportunity to provide their input and ideas.
Here are a few selections from projects I’ve worked on. I hope it goes without saying that for all of these, I was just one part of the collection of talented folks working on each. Design is not an individual effort.
I know they’re a little bare at the moment, but as I get a chance I plan to add a bit more of the who/what/why/etc to each, but I’d be happy to discuss any of them further as needed.