U.X.

During the closing plenary of the IA Summit on Sunday, Jesse James Garrett said that “Information Architecture is not a profession … and neither is Interaction Design … we have and always will be User Experience Designers”. I’m paraphrasing a little from memory (the podcast isn’t out yet) – but the gist is there.

I’m a big believer in this viewpoint (and I chaired the IA Summit last year!). I believe that both IA and IxDA are disciplines or “fields” – but are inseperable enough that the “job” is User Experience Designer. This puts the emphasis on the end product rather than the tools we use to achieve it.

So … to see if I can start some kind of grass roots movement i’ve set up itsjustux.org – go there and sign the petition to show you believe too!

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6 Responses to “U.X.”


  1. 1 David Fiorito March 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I am still on the fence on this. I agree that UX is the big tent but, to me, IA and IxD are substantially different professions. IA is focused on structure and wayfinding – connection to use your terminology. IxD is focused on operation and well, interaction. Though these two things are so closely related that they often blend, I do not see them as being identical. They each have a sufficiently different focus. I hope hearing the full presentation sheds more light on this issue. As of now it doesn’t sound so great to me.

  2. 2 Richard March 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t think they’re different professions because that implies you can often do one without the other and in my experience that is *very* rarely the case. I do think they’re different foci, or fields, or disciplines, or whatever but opportunities to exclusively do one are VERY limited.

    So you end up with a whole bunch of people who do “UX Design” – some of them calling themselves IAs, some of them calling themselves IxDAs, some calling themselves whatever.

    But in actuality, probably the biggest benefit of being a “UX Designer” is that the focus is on the end experience, not on the IA/IxDA/whatever part of it. Users and Business folks don’t give a fetid dingo’s left kidney about the IA or IxDA. They care about the User Experience.

  3. 3 David Fiorito April 1, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I think end-to-end user experience designers are people that have enough years of experience to be able to see things from end-to-end. I see IA, IxD, and ID as paths that can lead to becoming a UX Designer but I can’t see anyone starting their careers in that role. We still need IAs, IxDs, and IDs to do their part in the end-to-end design process AND we need people focused on UX design and strategy to shape the forest, not plant the trees.

  4. 4 Richard April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    I think people can start in UX if we teach them correctly (Jared just wrote a great post about this on the IxDA/IAI lists). To start in UX someone has to *do* each of the core disciplines (IA, IxDA, ID, Usability, Content, Business Strategy) for a while – 6-9 months each maybe in a rotational fashion.

  5. 5 David Fiorito April 2, 2009 at 9:39 am

    That may be possible but it creates a UX dilettante rather than an expert. It would be like a tech lead that didn’t cut his or her teeth on some hard coding, or back end support. Would you want a recent college grad to be building UX strategy?

    Actually this reminds me of the old “webmasters” from the early 1990s.

  6. 6 Richard April 2, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Who said the only thing UX Designers do is Strategy? UX Designers do UX Design and I think its a mistake to say that people can’t start out with that intent, hence why Kent State is broadening their focus into UX: http://iakm.kent.edu/programs/user-experience-design/


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