When my 95-year-old grandfather asked me what I do, I told him “I make websites easier to use” and he replied “can you come over and do that to my computer?”.
Yes, Gramps. One application at a time.
In extremely simple terms, my job is to design interfaces to be easy and intuitive. Yet, describing how I do this is neither easy nor intuitive. Case in point, my mother still doesn’t understand what I do.
So let me try to explain user experience.
A website, app, or software is a final product. But how it got there, that is user experience design. It’s about being present in the entire process from conception to shipment.
I work with clients to figure out what they think they need and research users to determine what they really need. I work with engineers to know how the technology will allow it to work. I am the intersection between the client, users, designers, and engineers to make sure we’re all working towards the same goal. Each one of these players sees different problems or the same problems in a different light. I try to create solutions that work for all these angles.
But my main priority is to make sure the user is never screwed over. Tough decisions have to be made when budgets are tight or clients are demanding. While it’s important to keep clients happy, doing what is right for the end user is most important.
I could describe you the process and tools in which I try to accomplish these goals but here in lies the problem. User Experience is forever changing and evolving. How I work today will not be how I work next year. This is why describing what I do can be so tough and why I love this profession. It’s a job description that demands continuous learning and agility.
But in the end, it’s about being obsessed with making the interactive world a better place. One application at a time.