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What’s in a name?

  • Work

Cheesy title, but we’ll work with it.

This topic actually comes up quite a lot with people who booked sessions with me on ADPList, and entering the job market for the first time. Should I be looking for a job with a specific title? Are there roles I should avoid? What do I do when the job description says I have to do everything?

The case against the UI/UX roles

I’ve called myself, at one point or the other, these titles: Experience Designer, UX Designer, Product Designer, Interaction Designer, Service Designer, Information Architect, CX Consultant…

But never a UX/UI designer. I’m of the school of thought that while you can be good at UX or UI, you can never do both at the same time.

Both roles are integral to the success of the product that you’re building. I see it a lot with job postings from companies that don’t have the digital/design maturity to discern between the two roles, too. That, or startups wanting a UX team of one, which isn’t a bad thing until you realize that they are never going to scale from that.

The scope of work and expertise of each UX and UI role is different, and a balanced team needs specialists who are T (or X)-shaped, rather than trying to be a shorter π or worse (and another topic altogether), the phallic-shaped designer.

The value-delivering Megazord

Right now, I’m an Experience Lead at my workplace. The visual design (look ma, beyond just the user interface!) counterpart in the team is a Design Lead.

Together, we join forces like Power Rangers and come together to become a value-delivering design team, covering everything from strategy to concepts, user flows to wireframes, design systems to individual screens. Amongst many other things, of course.

But I’m not going to sit here and pretend that all our clients (or indeed, even our own internal teams outside of the Experience team) understand what we do, and what our impact is. It’s still a struggle sometimes, even in our organization which already places some emphasis on Experience 1A real excerpt from Pubicis Sapient’s ways of working: We’re relentless about drawing the best from our SPEED capabilities: strategy, product, experience, engineering and data, in a creative way to provide our clients’ customers with leading experiences. and know how good experiences increase a plethora of things, including customer lifetime value, customer retention, satisfaction, and so on and on.

Making an impact

But beyond the actual business metrics, and beyond titles, what we do as designers impact to a great degree what people experience in their lives. It doesn’t start and end with just “translating business requirements” or “my stakeholder wants to do this so I guess we’ll do this”.

Instead, there’s a lot for us to be intentional about: the language we use, the people we include, and the (hopefully positive) impact we make on their lives. Then there are questions like, how do we make sure that accessibility is a foundation and not just an after-thought and a checklist? How do we make sure that we are not unintentionally excluding people by calling them “edge-cases”?

And even beyond the fabled “user” — what about our own employees? What about the newcomer who’s joining the team, and wants to hit the ground running but still with ample support?

I’m really interested in this intersection of how intentional design can improve processes and people’s day-to-day, and honestly? That goes beyond the title I call myself.

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