Sunday, May 08, 2005

UX Against Them

I really hate abbreviations sometimes. There I was, on a quiet Sunday morning skimming the latest issue of the journal interactions when I kept reading "UX." Maybe it was because of the hour, but I couldn't work out what the author meant by UX. Since interactions is concerned with human-computer interactions, I figured the U had to stand for user, but the X had me stimied. User InteraXtions? User TransaXtions? No. X meant eXperience.

User eXperience
Are we so stingy with space and time that we can't type user experience but have to reduce it to UX? And what about my user experience? I spent more time searching for the meaning than I did reading what the author had to say. And I guess I'm an UX professional. At least I get paid to be concerned about the user experience.

I think my reaction to UX is where my training as a writer trumps my training as an UX. I think you should do what you can to keep the reader reading. And if that means writing "user experience" time after time after time so that the reader doesn't have to stumble through a field of UX, then that's what I have to do.

Usability and User eXperience (UUX)
As I kept reading I learned that another professional organization I belong to, the Society for Technical Communication, has an group called "Usability and User Experience." So, the STC has a SIG for UX professionals called UUX. Can UUXX be far behind?

interactions is ACM's magazine for designers of interactive products. The May-June edition is a special issue about who owns the profession currently known as User eXperience. But even in the introduction the editor wonders if the controversy over the ownership of user experience is legitimate.

Are You For UX or Agin UX?
I suppose this discussion about ownership is one of questioning legitimacy. Some who spend time being concerned about users' experiences feel that they don't get no respect. Those in charge command respect. Therefore, we'll reckon with each other about who's in charge of user experience so that others will realize that we must be reckoned with. But for me, it's a boring discussion. I would rather spend my time learning how others make the user experience better rather than whether they think I'm an owner or an employee of UX Corp.
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