Over 17 years of professional experience, I’ve had many job titles. Here are some of them, in chronological order:
- Design Lead
- Lead Designer
- Interaction Designer
- Senior Designer
- Senior Visual Systems Designer
- Experience Lead
- Senior Associate
- Design Director, Digital
- Creative Director, Digital
- Director, User Experience
- User Experience Architect
The titles have added syllables, but not meaning. And so I continue to tell people I’m a designer.
Because, ultimately, I do the things a designer does: I listen, learn, research, write, sketch, prototype, produce, review, revise. This work leads to an end-product, something people interact with.
You might be thinking, well, a lot of people do that, even people who aren’t designers, and you’d be right. This is the process of solving problems, and it’s not unique to my field.
Somehow, though, we’ve come to think that the fundamental skill of solving problems justifies a verbose title connoting Rarified Skills and Expertise.
My expertise, however, is narrow, focused primarily on the way people interact with digital information. I use the design process to solve problems related to these interactions.
I share some skills with the architect, engineer, chef, composer, painter, typographer, writer, etc. But I’m none of those things because I lack the resident knowledge and expertise of those professionals.
I consider myself a craftsperson. I work with my brain and my hands to make new things, or to make existing things better.
In other words, I’m just a designer. And that’s okay.
PS: Check out my colleague Aaron Weyenberg’s excellent UX title generator.