Recognition for UX designers in your organization

23 Jan 2013 - 11:58pm
1 year ago
3 replies
435 reads
jadeefruit
2011

 

After many years of working in this field, I came to think about my identiy as an UX designer.
I've been in several companies and I don't think any of them gave us proper acknowledgement or recognition as a UX designer.
Some of them regard us as an anciliary job for SW developers. 
And some of them thought that Service planners or Product Managers are all in charge of everything including small buttons and controls of the app. Functions and structures and priorites are all at their hands  -  UX designer is  just  an advisor for their better decision. 
People seem to think everybody can do this job and there is no specialty in it.
Is this an inevitable phenomenon of a new emerging field?
Do you think UX is establising itself in industires as one of important areas?
How do you think of the present and future of this job?
I would like to hear your opinions and the situations in your countries. 

Comments

8 Feb 2013 - 3:05pm
kingofark
2010

I think it's more like a progressive change. UX seems to be too broad a "field" and it's everywhere -- sometimes, or even at most times, it's too hard to explain it in a comfortable way while at the same time relate everything UX to the measurement in other fields (we can quantitatively measure programming errors but measuring UX quantitatively is just one side of the story).

To make the matter worse the UX field itself is quite new and we are just starting to have more and more uniform terms, definitions and concepts. It's just so hard to convince outsiders when you yourself can't even fully explain what other UX guys are saying or doing or the morality/logic behind them. I rarely see two people explain what UX Designer is in the same way.

Thus getting UX identified and respected is a bi-directional long-term effort:

To UX practioners it's more about constant persuation and communication, through constant effort of "educating through results & persuation". And I'd like to take the attitude of "UX is everywhere (showing it) and I'm here to assist/help everyone of you here" instead of "hey UX is a specialized field and only UX guys like me can do it and you really should listen to me". Although many sub-fields of UX are about certain specialized efforts (UI design, for example), I'd rather regard UX, in general, as a field in which we assit/help people in other fields do better and/or come together (e.g. form + function). We do have our own "field",  but regarding the nature of the UX in a business world, we simply can't pursuit a status-quo because we're here to help -- on all levels and all aspects.

To higher level stakeholders, managers or executives, I'd say it's more about time. People feel challenged when they're asked to change the ideology they've held for decades, they can always find zillions of reasons to resisting the change and keeping the status quo. I'd say it's not uncommon that many of the employees acknowledge the "trend" while a few higher level stakeholders keepping resisting it (the company culture). But as newer generations reach those higher level positions, they'd be more "open" to what we currently regard as "new". And it's already began to change.

Regarding the situation you mentioned, I guess everywhere would be almost the same -- many companies and/or people who don't really get it, and a few who really do. And the only way forward is utilizing all our skills to help, and at the same time, persuade others.

Jon Kolko, in his book Thoughts On Interaction Design, makes a very strong argument about UX and I appreciate that quite much.

11 Feb 2013 - 4:24am
Sean Pook
2008

 

We can't change the fact that a lot of companies may have heard of UX but don't really get it or respect it, but too often I see people joining such companies, only to have a bad experience and leave thus leaving the company with even less respect for UX than before. 

UX professionals need to take responsibility - if you're not the evangelist type who likes to go in and educate people EVERY day, do due diligence on your potential new employer. Are you the first UX professional? Who's made the decision to hire for UX? What do the SW developers think of it? Interview them too. You're unlikely to have a great experience joining a firm who decided to try this 'UX thing' after an impromptu meeting on the golf course by mid-level execs. Look after yourserlf and respect your own worth.

On that front though, if you struggle to explain to a developer what you do or what your value is then you're in trouble. Six years ago you could hired by just wearing a t-shirt that said 'I do UX', but these days companies have tight budgets and need solid ROI for their UX investment. You need to be armed with information about what you do, what the benefits are, what the ROI will be for the firm that hires you. It's an investment. UX results can be tangible, they can be measured, there are a lot of resources on line about this. If UXers can’t demonstrate their own value, I’m afraid it’s a hard ask to expect non UXers to see it. @kingofark got it right - use your skills to help and educate others.

 

11 Feb 2013 - 1:56pm
Larry Tesler
2004

If your desired role is more important to you than the particular company you work for, look for companies that value that role and have open positions.

If you are attached to the company but dissatisfied with your role, you could try to expand that role. For example, if product managers make all the decisions, you could volunteer to fill a vacant product manager position on a temporary or part-time basis and see if that can lead (not necessarily immediately) to a product leadership position spanning both PM and UX. I recently wrote an article about such role expansion for UXPA's User Experience Magazine2013 issue 1, expected in March. Website: http://www.upassoc.org/upa_publications (not to be confused with the unrelated UX Magazine at uxmag.com).

 

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