User Experience is a Quality Assurance issue not a design issue

By January 6, 2015Design, Development, Spleen Venting, UX

“Digital Designer required, must have User Experience design skills.”

These adverts have been showing up more and more regularly over the last 5 years, yet I’m sure User Experience is not wholly a design issue. I’m of the opinion that the User Experience should be at the heart of every project so should be a priority for all members of the project team be they Project Managers, Designers, Database Developers, marketeers and so on.

This post has grown from a tweet I published a few weeks ago:

I’ve seen a lot of discussion over titles used in your UX team. There should be no UX team as UX is everybody’s responsibility & part of QA

Okay, that is a little bit of clickbait but the overall sentiment, I feel, holds a lot of truth as I’ll explain in this post.

Then a thread popped up on Linkedin that started with a quote from Jeff Gothelf:

“In many companies UX designers are seen as ‘the people who make the wireframes”

This is true, although I would say that this then is a problem with job titles, that they become a misnomer for the actual job. The person making wireframes is, in my opinion, part of the UI design team. The UX design is much more involved in the project as a whole. What I mean by that is UX is how the user experiences every aspect of the application, service, website, product and so on [which I will refer to as the product from here on in]. This means that aside from the User Interface, there are many other aspects that the person in charge of UX needs to consider, be it the, business analysis, branding design, the functionality and how it is presented to the user, the users themselves and how they might prefer to interact with the product, the user pathway through the product if there is one to be determined, and so on.

Due to all this a UX designer needs to oversee many areas from the traditional design to the development and strategy so I would rather think of them as a strategist than a designer. UX design is not design in the concept of creating the graphics and so on, that is UI design.

That is why I believe the user experience (UX to all you cool hep cats) to be a Quality Assurance issue and that all members of a team should play their part in this. Of course it may help to have a guiding hand in this, but calling that person the UX Designer has caused much of the industry to believe it to be within the domain of the design team and no further. Perhaps each product from a team needs a Product Owner who drives the project’s UX across the whole production cycle.

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