Archive: July 12th, 2009

Shirky: In Praise of Evolvable Systems

A classic essay from Clay Shirky on the dumb nature of the web.

I don’t care about UX

When I wrote about designing for the street I tossed out this glib remark:

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces was filled with lessons that can be applied to web design (or as it is more fashionably known now, UX design).

Or, as Mark put it:

Since when did good web design suddenly get called ‘UX’? Everywhere I look now, good UI design is called ‘UX’, good type = ‘UX’, Colour? UX.

My point in equating UX design with plain ol’ fashioned web design is similar to what Jeff was getting at when he wrote I don’t care about accessibility five years ago. It was a controversial thing to say but he explained it eloquently:

When you design for the Web — that is, when you design exclusively and specifically for this medium — when you do that natively, so many of the things we consider problems just start to fall away. … Because when Web design is practiced as a craft, and not a consolation, accessibility comes for free.

…and that’s the way I feel about what is often labelled as UX design. If someone claims to be a web designer but isn’t considering the user experience, they are deluding themselves. UX, like accessibility, should be a given, not a differentiating factor.

And that’s why I don’t care about UX.