UX, prod mgr, HCI, UI, IA, wha?

Giff Constable UI/UX

I have been interviewing for product jobs, and it is staggering how there is no common language for product people.

To some, UX means wireframe deliverables and visual information architect, and maybe even graphic designer.

To me, UX means figuring out what should be built and why, how those concepts manifest in an actual product experience (with an emphasis on defining the visual flow but not necessarily the graphic design), and how to align making money with the product experience. Built into that definition is a process for continuous improvement and constant constant customer interaction.

To some, what I just described means a product manager.

To others, product manager really means project manager.

I was talking to an experienced UX designer the other day and he no longer liked using the term “UX”. It had gotten so vague and he wanted to be clear that he was as much about strategy and defining functionality as the visuals.

This is probably an inevitable issue because UX is a holistic thing and people come at it from all sorts of backgrounds. I came from the business and visual side, had the advantage of working in the trenches with some very bright HCI talents, and have become increasingly technical over the years. Others start on the technical side and become more visual and business savvy.  I think to do the job well you do need to talk the language of all three.