I recently came to the same conclusion and decided to dub myself a User
Experience Architect. When reading Tog's article, though he referred to
"user experience" as a "soft" term, I noted that he used the term several
times when attempting to describe what an interaction architect is and does.
While I consider interaction design to be my primary focus, I typically do
information architecture and visual design as well. I really prefer doing
everything. These three aspects of user interface design are very closely
coupled in my mind and highly interdependent. For me, a title that
encompasses just one of these aspects doesn't cut it. (This is the same
problem that usability professionals encountered, because of the diversity
of their work, as Tog described in his article.)
The design of software has often been compared to the architecture of
buildings. Typically, architects design functional spaces and their
aesthetics, while structural engineers do the heavy technical aspects of
building design to ensure that skyscrapers don't fall down, for example.
This closely parallels the division of labor for software design. System
architects design the technical aspects and people like me, whatever we want
to call ourselves, design the functionality with which users interact, as
well as the software's visual interface design.
> Architects design spaces in which, and through which, different types of > goals can be realised, and different types of experiences had.
Right on, Ben. We're back to "experiences" again. :-)
Another thing Tog said in his article was rather disturbing to me:
"We've been complaining bitterly, these last 25 years, that we get no
respect, that we are thought of as nothing more than decorators, if we are
thought of at all. Guess what? We have no one to blame but ourselves. We
have sat on the sidelines, perpetually powerless, whining, instead of
changing up the game so we can win."
I hope this isn't true for most of us any more. I suspect that, to the
degree this is true, its greatest effect might be that this perception
limits our job opportunities.
On software projects, I work closely with system architects and developers
throughout the development cycle, but I write the specifications up front,
then the developers implement them.
I'd like to know about the reality most of us are now experiencing, working
on software projects. To what degree do you feel empowered? How does your
work fit into the software development process?