Why I subscribe to UX, but don’t call myself a UX Designer

Quite often when my friends introduce me to new people, they are unsure how best to introduce me, as explaining what I do is challenging, in truth, even for myself. But more often than not of late, I get introduced as a user experience designer, big thanks to my friends who always pop in “one the of the best …”, kudos! They call me this because I often talk about user experience as part of how I think about solving problems, and a practice I have gotten comfortable with, as I typed that I rolled my eyes, but I reluctantly use user experience as part of my thinking.

For me it’s all kinda simple, I design useful stuff that people simply love. The industry buzz word is user experience and it’s opened up an entirely new category of the team member in product teams and the like, who play not only a huge part in the success of a product etc, but they have huge clout!

I really believe that everyone is a user experience designer, as we are all responsible for the experience of the end user. But then that’s like saying everyone’s a designer because we all solve problems. Well, it’s how you solve those problems that define who we are and what we do.

Of course, given my constant attention I give to better experiences for users, or more specifically people, I am more broadly understood as being a user experience designer. But I am not. The guys that stand out for me as user experience designers might not be thinking on a whole other level as me, but they apply themselves on a level, I simply am not comfortable doing.

The thing that makes someone, specifically a user experience designer, is not purely how they think or the methodology they practice, but the tasks they do, such as user research, creating personas and hypothesis etc. There are lists of things user experience designers do, that I can do, that I enjoy hearing about, that I understand and I include in my decision making, but I simply don’t like to do myself.

I have been designing for digital channels and making stuff for nearly two decades and there are many I do well, but I am well aware that what I am when you strip away any fancy titles I might have received or called myself in order to qualify myself, is simply a designer. Where I practice my design is a whole other conversation. But what I am not, is a user experience designer, I simply subscribe to thinking and best practice and apply it to my work.

If only I could find a better handle for my social platforms, as I cringe that I still use @digiguru with all the misconceptions and remarks that name refers to, both the reference to digital, despite most of the work I have done has been in this gray area of what some people call digital and to sitting cross-legged in the lotus position somewhere on top of a mountain in the Himalayas.