A designer at work
“I’m designing the UI, or is it the UX?”

Any way you slice it—“UI/UX” or “UX/UI”—the term is bad for designers, bad for Design, and ultimately bad for the users for whom we’re designing. I’ve written previously about the problems with the term UX, but lately I’ve seen an increase in organizations latching on to an even worse term: “UI/UX.” Whether it applies to a project, e.g., “we need to improve the UI/UX,” or to a specific role, here are four reasons why you, your organization, and the industry as a whole need to move away from using this confusing term:

1. The term “UI/UX” conflates two related but different things

User Experience (UX) Design is an umbrella term…

Spoon Boy teaches Neo about the nature of the world around him — The Matrix (1999)

There is a memorable scene in the film The Matrix where a young boy with special abilities teaches an important lesson to the protagonist, Neo. The boy helps Neo open his eyes to the fact that the construct in which they’re living isn’t real, and therefore, neither is the spoon that appears to exist within the construct.

“Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

―Spoon Boy

Like Neo, professional designers (user experience designers…

Most of us are familiar with product roadmaps: documents that depict the release cadence of a series of features & functions in order to eventually arrive at an overall product vision. These documents often map out release schedules several months—sometimes years—in advance, and can be helpful for teams who need to fill & prioritize their product backlogs (prioritized lists of tasks to be completed by a scrum team). Logically, these roadmaps make a lot of sense; write down a list of things that need to get done, include deadlines, and complete the items on the list one-by-one. But, as Marty…

Have you seen this video making the rounds on design social media?

Oooh! Aaah! Paper prototypes so cool 🤩

And some of the responses…

Several years ago I began incorporating User Problem Statements into my team’s product design process. It’s a critical step early in the process that focuses the team’s collective efforts to deliver a product that matters to their target audience.

Einstein is reported to have said that if he only had one hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and the remaining 5 minutes solving it

Why Problem Statements?

I’m a big advocate for using language to frame an opportunity without bias. Developing problem statements at the beginning of a project helps teams establish their purpose & goals, and allows for exploration & innovation without boxing team members into a specific design solution from Day 1. Sadly, all too often as designers we’re presented with the solution by a client…

The term “UX,” the industry accepted initials for User Experience, is dead to me. Think about it, even the initials don’t make sense. Was UE too on the nose? It’s time for UX (and its myriad related job titles: UX Designer, UX/UI Designer, UX Architect, UX Developer, UX Writer, UX Strategist, UX Researcher, UX Analyst, UX Consultant, etc.) to go the way of the Webmaster & Human Computer.

It’s OK to admit that we screwed up and need to fix things; it’s the first step to improving the situation. After all, as designers we understand how important it is to…

George Carlin on stage in New York City, 1992

The beautiful (and terrifying) thing about the art of stand up comedy is the instant feedback. A comic gets on stage with a microphone, tells a joke, and — if it’s funny — they get a laugh. The performer can tell how well they’re doing their job in real time by the audience’s reaction to their jokes.

Any designer or product owner who has sat through a usability test of a product that they’ve designed can kind of relate to a stand up comedian’s experience (although, in comedy you can’t blame the development team). Similar to telling a joke that…

Do you work for an organization that values design & designers? How can you tell? Today I read a post on LinkedIn, The 10 principles of building a world-class design team, that touches on the importance of working for a company that values design. This was the brief definition used in the post:

“What does it mean when a company values design? It means that Design has a seat at the table at the highest level of leadership, as well as a financial commitment to grow and evolve.”

At a high level this is a simple way to begin uncovering…

I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of change lately to the make-up of my day-to-day product team—a team that has worked together very effectively for over a year. Primarily due to circumstances beyond the team’s control, many team members have departed, and others have been reassigned to new roles/teams. While change is healthy and normal, it’s been a challenging & bittersweet transition for those of us who have enjoyed our time working together.

As new teams are formed, it’s brought to mind what roles make up what I consider my ideal digital product team. Of course, every situation is different…

Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Much has been written on the key virtues of high-performing, innovative product teams. Attributes that show up again & again include having a strong team culture; clearly defined mission & strategy; empowerment of individual contributors; and a willingness to take risks — test, fail, and learn from mistakes.

While all of these are important qualities for companies seeking to bring transformative products to market…

Scott Kiekbusch

Digital product design & strategy expert. Team builder. Stoic. Keynote speaker. Co-Author of The Designer’s Guide to Product Vision http://amzn.to/2Epfb3U

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