I recently took a new position as a Sr. Manager of Information Architecture for Marriott.com. (A property that creates $6+ billion dollars of revenue annually.) While I’m proud of my new position, the term Information Architect actually kind of creeps me out. It’s really an old term and does not accurately describe what I perceive to be the greatest value of my work nor my personality. I much prefer the title User Experience Designer, UI Designer or even Storyteller.
The whole “industry” of UI/UX Design has been self defined for years, but now as colleges and universities, actually have majors in the field, it seems appropriate to settle on some common terms of description.
The general level of understanding of the principles and importance of the user experience, has been elevated and so therefore, the traditional role of wireframes, is losing, or already has lost, it’s power and need. Very often product ideas are expressed from concept to code within days. I still believe those that focus on and claim some expertise in the user experience to be of supreme value, but the demands of the role have changed so that the soft skills of being able to communicate the right experience in the right way has become much more valuable. The business sponsor may have an idea of what they want, the coder make it all work and enhance it with great creativity, but the User Experience Designer is still the only one totally focused on how the story of how the product should work with the expectations and limitations of the primary beneficiary. The user.
A good User Experience designer should understand people, cognitively, with a sensibility of empathy and intuition. A good User Experience designer must be able to communicate that story effectively and motivate others to be able to execute their special skills to build the most optimal experience. I sometimes call myself the head cheerleader. But to ad the right sense of professionalism let’s just keep it at User Experience Designer.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some similar comments from Chiara Fox.