Those who were called Graphic Designers or Art Directors up to 10 years ago, today are called User Experience Designers (which is waaay much cooler).
But what has really changed?
Too often, nothing, only the title on the curriculum.
Even when something has really changed in the way they (we!) approach design, I have my doubts that we have really improved in comparison to the past.
But let’s go by order.
What is UX Design?
If you are reading this article, you probably work in the field and you already know the manual definitions that accounts and representatives learn by heart and repeat thousands of times to convince companies to pay hundreds of thousands of euros in geometric shapes and some common sense recommendations.
User experience design (UX, UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.
Matt Mullenweg, 2017
If you are newbies, save time, I’ll explain it to you very quickly: UX Design is a scam against you.
Yes, I know what I’m saying, it’s my job.
How to scrub your users and let them do what you want
Basically, it works this way: a salesman or someone from marketing one day comes to you, designer, and tells you “tomorrow I have to meet this company, I need to spill a few million euros, please invent something”.
So you do a couple of little drawings and attach some ergonomics quotes, repeating the word user as often as possible, explaining that what you did is “for the benefit of the user” because he is “at the center of your thoughts” and blabla and they all lived happily ever after.Then, if you want to put the icing on the cake, you can also use some industry studies to prove the pertinence of your little drawings, you can demonstrate their effectiveness through user research tools and even user tests.
In the end, if all goes well, you will design an interface that is made specifically for users to do what you want them to do, possibly quickly and effortlessly.
UX Design, then, is nothing more than the ability of someone to draw things that manipulates someone else’s mind.
UX Design is nothing more than the ability of someone to draw things that manipulates someone else’s mind.
That’s why, my friends, UX Design sucks.
Because when you spend hours on Facebook and you have the impression that it knows exactly which photos of someone at the beach you wish to see, that’s not just an impression.
When Google recommends you the hemorrhoid cream you needed as the first suggestion when typing “how to”, there’s no accident.
So why don’t I change for another job? How do I get up in the morning and go to work, knowing I’m doing such an ignoble work?
Ethical Experience Design is the key for a more fair next-gen digital society
Well, the first step is to know the problem, as my therapist would say.
The second step, however, is to do something about it.
This blog officially starts my rebellion against user centered design.
I rather prefer to commit myself to a more ethical design, because in this increasingly digital and dematerialized society, the designer has a key role in influencing people for political and commercial purposes.
In order to stop manipulating users, we need to shift the attention from users to experience. Instead of thinking “how can I convince users that my experience is the best even if it’s shitty” we better go for “how can I make this shitty experience more useful and give it a sense, so that users will automatically love it”.
As a designer, I want to focus no more on user needs and expectations, I don’t want to know their age, sex and their shopping habits. I want to contribute to design the coolest experiences in the world, with the best value propositions possible and the top functionalities I can imagine, so that the result will be so cool that users will come automatically, generating potential new habits they could not even imagine before.
Ethic + Design = Innovation
An Ethical Experience Design is way more innovator than a User Experience Design because your design reflection does not start from an existing habit but aims to create a new one. Also, if user choices are not conditioned from design choices, users may be more free to develop unique habits and peculiar behaviors, which enriches society with spontaneous and heterogeneous mentalities, thoughts and patterns.
Let’s go back to before the 50’s, before advertising and market studies, when authentic inventions did not come from tons of psychological tests and researches, when innovation was the result of ideas and creativity driven by human needs.
Let’s take care with love of the experiences we design.
The rest will come by itself.
Originally published at www.ethic-design.com.