We think Rafal hit it on the head!

by Rafal Tomal

More and more designers have started adding “UX” to their profile and their skill set. Recently, it’s become a prevalent trending term, especially since there is a high demand for user experience designers.

I thought that the “UX Designer” title started being overused. I was even a little upset when I saw another self-proclaimed UX designer who does nothing more than visual design. Then I thought a little deeper about it and realized that actually, we might all be UX designers.

By saying “all”, of course, I mean all of us who build anything for users. And by “anything”, I really mean anything. It can be a website, mobile app, window, bicycle, or even a spoon. Basically anything that has a function and a user also has an experience in using it.

When it comes to digital products, most people mix up the user interface with the user experience, but the fact is that the visual design is only a small cog in this machine.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re a system administrator, web developer, UI designer, copywriter, or a customer success specialist. We all build a user experience piece by piece.

System administrators are UX designers because they are responsible for how fast and reliable their servers are. If your website or app is slow or has an outage, then you create a bad experience for your users.

Web developers are UX designers because they are responsible for the entire code architecture and how well the features are coded. You can code a search algorithm to find information faster while being more accurate or you can code your website to be adaptive, responsive or more accessible. These are all pieces of a good user experience.

UI designers are UX designers because they create a visual interface that communicates directly with users. You can design typography that is readable or a layout that is clean and organized. The visual part very often plays the main role in the entire user experience, and that’s why most people confuse UI and UX terms.

Copywriters are UX designers because you can evoke certain emotions with words. You can set a funny tone with your copy and make your users simply enjoy reading it. Also, you can use a simpler language and provide more information or instructions in a digestible format.

Customer support is a part of UX as well. You can make it easily accessible, fast, responsive and focused on helping customers to solve their problem. A bad customer support experience can cast a shadow on the entire product design user experience.

Of course, this list should go on and on. When you really think about it, you may find almost everyone in your company playing at least a tiny role in the overall user experience for your products.

So, I was wrong by thinking that too many designers call themselves UX designers. We can all add it to our profile and it wouldn’t be a lie.

Let’s just not forget that user experience is not a feature. You can’t put it on your to-do list and cross it off when it’s done. It’s an ongoing effort from the beginning of the project to the end and even beyond that. Let’s all get involved in providing a good experience for our users!

Ramal   Rafal Tomal

You can look forward to some extended discussions on this subject at the re:think design conference on June 9 in San Francisco, presented in conjunction with AIGA SF Design Week.