"WTF is UX?"


There’s a great post about UX on Fast.co Design today and it includes the infographic above. The overall point is the following:

To think any designer could be an expert in each of these circles is sheer absurdity, but to recognize that every end user is an expert in each of these circles is highly important.

Though I’d worked alongside product teams before entering the New York startup community, I’m not ashamed to admit that I never really heard the term “UX" used much. I could probably crack a joke about how that’s unexpected for people who work in big companies that develop enterprise healthcare IT applications, but I’ll refrain.

Being a bit of a n00b on the design front, it took me a while to appreciate the subtleties of these different areas of design. Depending on what you’re building, each area has a different level of importance, but together they all form something that’s the cornerstone of your product. 

While there are many days when I wish I had more formal education on the tenets of good user experience or interaction design, I think it’s good to remember that no matter how much formal education we have, user experience comes down to putting yourself in the shoes of others and asking “does this work for me?"

This empathetic approach can be helpful in UX decision-making, but it’s also a characteristic that increases chances of success in the customer support experience and in service industries.

I’m not saying that one has to be empathetic with the customer/user because they’re always right. On the contrary, the customer may be wrong (and angry!), but their perspective is valid and should be used to gain insight and understanding around the experience. Ultimately, it’s up to the “UX" person to translate that perspective into something that is actionable/productive for all parties involved.