SXSW 2012: the sequel

It’s that time of year again. I’m heading down to Austin, TX to take part in SXSW 2012. One of the great things about SXSW is that it is so big, you can make it about whatever you want. There are sessions on just about anything you can imagine.

This year, I’ve chosen to focus on User Experience Design (UX). This is a newer field in the larger web design arena, but I see it as the culmination of everything a web designer can be. A hurdle I often run into is the belief that a web designer is little more than an order taker who makes someone else’s print idea happen online. However, it can be so much more!

A UX designer is responsible for how a visitor moves through a particular website or app. They combine knowledge of graphic design, content strategy, marketing, psychology, usability, and web development to design a plan for how a website will feel, work, and move. The work is far more akin to a master architect than a trained monkey.

Another aspect that makes this work exciting is that a UX designer is the advocate for the user. Too often, those needs are forgotten or only briefly considered. The company is far more concerned with getting their message across than solving users problems; the result being frustrated consumers and lower profits. If you think about it for a second, it makes sense. Why would anyone keep talking to someone who only wants to talk about themselves?

A smart UX designer understands this and can sidestep About Us pages that say nothing and replace them with drivel-free pages that put the user first.

So given the choice, I want to be a UX designer. It’s much more rewarding.

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