One thing we as interaction designers struggle with is how to explain what we do. Whether our title is User Experience Architect, Information Architect, User Experience Designer, or Interaction Designer, the question of “What do you do for a living?” inevitably ends with a blank stare.
A co-worker says she explains it with the experience or shopping in a retail store.. “You know the whole process of walking into the store. Picking out items to buy and then purchasing them?” “Yes” “Well that is your user experience.”
I have often explained it in terms of building architecture. “You know how building architects create blue prints for a building?” “Yes” “I do something similar except they are called wireframes and I am considering how you as the user will move through the space of the web site or application.” This usually works for me but today led to a new insight into how to explain what it is I do.
I was at Specialtys waiting for lunch when I got talking to a couple of ladies from Tampa. They asked what I did and I told them and then the lady asked, “Oh so you feng shui technology!?” I laughed but in reality it was a brilliant insight into what we do. Our user experiences should be “peace creating”, efficient, experiences that allow users to get in and get out without a lot of frustration. Perhaps from now on I will say the I “Feng Shui the web”.