When everyone thinks they’re a “designer”…

With the rapid and broad proliferation of “user-centered design” and “user experience” and “good design” among corporations large and small, comes a somewhat frustrating issue for IxD: now everyone thinks they’re a designer! And this of course leads to tedious academic arguments about what is truly design or “big D” design, etc. which becomes quickly boring and exhaustive with not much productive progress for anyone, resentful “clubby” feelings, etc.

How do I deal with this plight?

Fairly straight-forward: Acknowledge that, Yes, everyone from the CEO to the call-center service agent contributes in powerful and subtle ways to the “total quality of experience” (TQX) of the product/service delivered to customers. The goal of a “good user experience” should be everyone’s collective aim, respective of their particular corporate function/department/skills/tools, in terms of how to accomplish that goal.

However, I’m the one actually paid to be a designer :-) Sounds kinda snarky I know, but when it comes down to making the call about navigational structure, interactive behaviors, visual presentation, interface layout and UI framework, assigning that to a paid design expert hired for that position is really the best. (with informed guidance from engineers, PM’s, QA, CS, etc. of course!)

So, just politely, and sincerely, thank everyone for their valuable input and feedback, process/analyze it (either solo or preferably with peers/allies), and make the call with reason and judgment. If there’s pushback (inevitably!), be prepared to articulate your reasoning, or send out for user testing and assess together, and make a decision together, recognizing the value a professional designer brings to the table in advancement of the “good user experience” aim.

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