In this preview of a potential 2012 SXSW Interactive panel, Centralis' Kathi Kaiser argues that the field of User Experience needs to adopt a professional model of practice to gain further acceptance and realize future success.
Architects, Doctors, Artists? A Model for User Experience
Kathi Kaiser @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
Hi, I’m Kathi Kaiser. That’s me -->I’m a User Experience professional.
Ten years ago, no one knew whatUX meant. Oh, I get it, you do market research. I’m a User Um, a what? Experience professional. So you’re a graphic artist? Can you code this for me?
Today, there are thousands of us!We make things easier and more compelling to use Hooray!
However, people still don’t alwaysunderstand what we do. Great! I need some I’m a User focus groups. Experience professional. Fantastic – we need you to do our new branding. Can you code this for me?
Why?For one thing, we have different skillsand use them in a variety of ways.
We also apply different modelswhen we do UX work.We position ourselves as architects…
…and even doctors. Yes, our tests show you’re suffering from a confusing navigation system and lack of content strategy.
Each of these models has implicationsfor how we do user experience work: Architects define a structure and collaborate with contractors to bring it to life. Artists harness their creativity to innovate and inspire. Doctors gather data, analyze, diagnose and treat based on extensive training.
There are other models, too: Attorneys advocate for their clients’ interests; we advocate for the user. Therapists help people understand where they’ve been and how to move forward; user experience is about innovation and progress (often in spite of legacy systems). Religious leaders guide their believers; we talk about people who “get” UX versus those who don’t. And many more…
A clear model for UX would:• Help others understand what we do• Enable us to establish standards of practice• Provide guidance for UX education and training• Foster more effective collaboration• Increase the overall prominence and impact of the user experience field I’m a User Experience professional. Perfect! Glad you’re here.
To evaluate models, we should ask:• What are the core tenets of UX that unite us despite our diversity?• How do those beliefs influence the way we structure our work and present ourselves to the world?• What characteristics does UX share with other fields, and where do we depart from those models?• What are the implications for a given model on our self-definition, standards and training?• What model makes the most sense for UX, given those implications?
If these questions interest you,please vote for this idea in the 2012SXSW Interactive Panel Picker:Architects, Doctors, Artists? A Model for UX
Thanks! Kathi Kaiser @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX