Different Role Titles in UX space

9 Dec 2006 - 11:47am
7 years ago
2 replies
995 reads
AlokJain
2006

Dear All,

I recently went through a job change and and it highlighted how so
many companies call the same role differently and different role with
same title. For instance one of the organizations considered
Interaction Design as really only graphic design and considered
Informaiton Architecture to include Interaction design as well.

Here is an experiment, I have created a wiki
http://uxroles.pbwiki.com/ for all of us to come together and bring a
common understanding towards the roles.

Thoughts/Contributions?

Wiki wide password is "uxroles"

Regards
Alok Jain
------------------------------------
http://www.iPrincipia.com

Comments

10 Dec 2006 - 12:07am
Dave Malouf
2005

Alok Jain wrote:
> I recently went through a job change and and it highlighted how so
> many companies call the same role differently and different role with
> same title. For instance one of the organizations considered
> Interaction Design as really only graphic design and considered
> Informaiton Architecture to include Interaction design as well.
>
Hi Alok,

on the IA Institute members list there has been a LONG thread about
roles and disciplines.

One thing that came out of that discussion was a blog post by Peter
Morville, called IA 3.0. It is a defense of IA as a profession.

While there are MANY elements of interest in the post (some I don't
agree with at all, which can be found on my own blog entry) the one
really poignant piece is the addition of a new axis in the discussion,
which is "community".

What I understand by "community" is that we grow up in our profession
through our relationships with others. These relationships usually can
be tracked across other data points creating affinities. For example, in
my experience, the title IA is found to be more in the consulting side
within older agencies, and within media and intranet management. But the
tasks associated with that title over time has changed dramatically as
more tasks needed to be accomplished and organizations could either find
people who could do the previous tasks of IA + these new tasks, OR they
could add a completely new position (which is a lot more costly). In the
case of IA, two tasks have usually been added: IxD or behavioral design
or application design, usually including UI Design and strategy or
experience design. But the community of IAs grew in both people, but
also in the types of tasks that people in the community seemed to grow
to discuss, practice, teach, and explore.

This path could follow with other titles, roles, communities, etc.
I'm not sure then that you can put a list of "titles" or "disciplines"
and find a real correlation of tasks to titles or roles.

The other problem is that as people promote up the titles change. For
example I've been:
UI Designer
IA
UI Designer
Principal Designer
Manager, UX
and i'm currently, Sr. Designer - User Experience Design

What do I do? I do Interaction Design, Information Architecture,
strategic design, industrial design, experience design, business
analysis, user research, usability engineer, etc.
Oh! I"m also a teacher, mentor, author, and speaker.

I see as my "center" IxD.

But again, this has a lot to do with another axis to the identities we
choose which is the "content".
What is the core type of solution we work on.
Most of the last 5 years I've been doing enterprise application design.
No outwards facing, marketing or publishing driven content at all. Just
tools. Today I'm doing that + designing software for mobile devices AND
interaction design for the mobile devices themselves.

Anyway, all this pointed me to IxD as an identity, but I have always
seen what I do as part of a larger project of UX. It's why until
recently I was on the Board of UXNet and why I have personally advocated
for IxDA to be one of the first organizations to support UXNet outright.

-- dave

10 Dec 2006 - 9:42am
Mark Schraad
2006

Alok,

I would just add to David's fine post, a couple of points (OK, maybe
three.)

First, I come from a school of thought where design is design.
Whether graphic, industrial, architectural, interactive, or interior
(I would even call many developers and engineers designers as well) -
the basic core issues, problems, tools and considerations are similar
if not the same. The tactical execution requires different tools, but
the silo-ing often serves needs outside of the work itself.

10 - 15 years ago, most of us were designers and when we worked in
software applications many of us participated in everything:
research, constraint gathering, PRD's, IA, UI, visual, prototyping,
more research or testing and the built the darn things. As the skill
set for execution grew and became deeper - obviously some focused on
specific aspects of designing an application, site, experience or
whatever the shape of the deliverable was.

Now, immersed in a large corporation, I often find these classes,
silos or tittles a both add to and reduce efficiency at different
times. Our UI folks definitely impact the visuals. The experience
(visual) designers almost always impact the interactions. CMU seems
to be intent on tightly defining these roles. Maybe it is happening
elsewhere, but that is where I see it most. Human Factors, Interface
design vs Interaction design - I see it as a purely academic exercise.

This specificity is also hardened by the hiring process. Adding a
title to what a person does makes the recruiters job (seemingly)
simpler. HR is having far to great a influence on defining our
profession(s).

What I find most disturbing is the interaction between these 'camps'.
Challenging others to think broader or differently or deeper is one
thing. But finger pointing, attacks and defensive posturing yet quite
another. I rather like the notion of building community.

While it is never good to have one single source of power and
influence... I would contend that we might be well served to merge
some of the many professional organizations beyond just an alliance.
The CHI of the 80's and prior might be model worth exploring.
Subchapters based upon topic, and function might be more effective.
This area of design seems to be changing far too rapidly for the
carving of titles and roles into granite.

- Mark
designer, researcher, brand marketer, and business strategist

(more long winded than I had hoped)

On Dec 10, 2006, at 12:07 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> Alok Jain wrote:
>> I recently went through a job change and and it highlighted how so
>> many companies call the same role differently and different role with
>> same title. For instance one of the organizations considered
>> Interaction Design as really only graphic design and considered
>> Informaiton Architecture to include Interaction design as well.
>>
> Hi Alok,
>
> on the IA Institute members list there has been a LONG thread about
> roles and disciplines.
>
> One thing that came out of that discussion was a blog post by Peter
> Morville, called IA 3.0. It is a defense of IA as a profession.
>
> While there are MANY elements of interest in the post (some I don't
> agree with at all, which can be found on my own blog entry) the one
> really poignant piece is the addition of a new axis in the discussion,
> which is "community".
>
> What I understand by "community" is that we grow up in our profession
> through our relationships with others. These relationships usually can
> be tracked across other data points creating affinities. For
> example, in
> my experience, the title IA is found to be more in the consulting side
> within older agencies, and within media and intranet management.
> But the
> tasks associated with that title over time has changed dramatically as
> more tasks needed to be accomplished and organizations could either
> find
> people who could do the previous tasks of IA + these new tasks, OR
> they
> could add a completely new position (which is a lot more costly).
> In the
> case of IA, two tasks have usually been added: IxD or behavioral
> design
> or application design, usually including UI Design and strategy or
> experience design. But the community of IAs grew in both people, but
> also in the types of tasks that people in the community seemed to grow
> to discuss, practice, teach, and explore.
>
> This path could follow with other titles, roles, communities, etc.
> I'm not sure then that you can put a list of "titles" or "disciplines"
> and find a real correlation of tasks to titles or roles.
>
> The other problem is that as people promote up the titles change. For
> example I've been:
> UI Designer
> IA
> UI Designer
> Principal Designer
> Manager, UX
> and i'm currently, Sr. Designer - User Experience Design
>
> What do I do? I do Interaction Design, Information Architecture,
> strategic design, industrial design, experience design, business
> analysis, user research, usability engineer, etc.
> Oh! I"m also a teacher, mentor, author, and speaker.
>
> I see as my "center" IxD.
>
> But again, this has a lot to do with another axis to the identities we
> choose which is the "content".
> What is the core type of solution we work on.
> Most of the last 5 years I've been doing enterprise application
> design.
> No outwards facing, marketing or publishing driven content at all.
> Just
> tools. Today I'm doing that + designing software for mobile devices
> AND
> interaction design for the mobile devices themselves.
>
> Anyway, all this pointed me to IxD as an identity, but I have always
> seen what I do as part of a larger project of UX. It's why until
> recently I was on the Board of UXNet and why I have personally
> advocated
> for IxDA to be one of the first organizations to support UXNet
> outright.
>
> -- dave

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