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Naked mermaids without fins

While analysing the trends in UX, I recently stumbled upon a lot of UX jobs (or so-called) and job titles. Sad but true, a majority of the hiring managers out there have no idea what they should be looking for.

The Good

The good part is people have started realising that UX is a key requirement in order to be successful in whatever product os service business you’re in. With the recent success of companies that purely differentiate themselves based on the User Experience, UX has become the buzzword. UX market is hot (if I can call it a market), and everyone’s talking about it. I heard one of my friends quoting her head of business:

We want to be the Apple of Aviation IndustryName Obscured

Well, that’s a good spirit, and even though they have reduced delivering good experience to simply being Apple, I’m happy that at least the industry has started thinking about it at the top level.

The Bad

The bad part is UX has become an over-used and abused term, often mentioned out of context, in a very shallow sense. It is used interchangeably with UI, and for the most it is limited to UI. I often end up educating folks about the difference between visual design and interaction design, between usability and usefulness, between wireframes and visuals, between UI and UX, between users and target users. But this doesn’t worry me as much as the ugly part does, because the bad part can be simply taken care of by a couple of conversations, but the ugly is sticky, nasty.

The Ugly

mermaid with ugly scars

Credit – Gareth Beynon

The ugly part is, the good and bad coming together and giving rise to an ecosystem (or a planet hell), where there is a huge requirement for folks who can deliver what twisted definition of UX is, and who can do it fast, cheap and good-enough. This gives rise to the jobs where being a designer means you’re skilled at UCD, Photoshop, HTML5, CSS, Javascript and a couple of web-design frameworks; JQuery is a Plus. Now this imaginary person is what I refer to as a mermaid, because it exists only in fairy tales. What makes it even uglier is, they expect this poor fellow to do some rapid prototyping (with A/B testing of course) so you can claim to follow the User Centred Design process. That’s where you start taking the clothes off the poor mermaid, leaving it naked, ready to be f**ked. If that wasn’t enough on final blow is yet to come, tearing off the fins of the mermaid, leaving ugly scars. If this poor guy happens to be from a design background, who happens to be skilled in HTML as well, you put an end to all of his creativity by giving him a title of UI/UX Developer, reporting to a product manager. So that’s where UX resides now, behind a slash, between a UI developer.

And hence, the birth of naked mermaid without fins, but with ugly scars.

Healing the Scars

Rome was not built in a day. It ill take time. Since we know it will take time, me and a couple of folks have planned an initiative where we would implant the seed of design thinking in the early startups of today. So 5 years from now, we’ll have Ubers and Airbnbs of future, bleeding design. That’s when folks will start understanding design needs to be in the roots, in the blood, needs to be done right and is not Photoshop. We will come out with details on the initiative very soon, and we hope to get support from you guys in this novel cause.

Take one last look at the scars:

ugly-scars-portrait

Credit – Gareth Beynon

PS: I love Photoshop.

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Udit Khandelwal