How do you explain UCD and your role in it?



You say potato I say…

My name is Ryan Roy and I’m a User Experience professional working at a university in south Florida. My current title is Visual Architect and it’s also UX/UI Developer. People in our field use a lot of titles, sometimes we’re called UX/UI developers other times Usability or Visual Architects even Information Architects. I’ve even seen one gentleman with the title UXDNNG. The whole profession goes by a number of different names that in the end really mean about the same thing. We speak for and defend the voiceless end-user. Unfortunately and not to our credit we have done little to educate the masses about what we do and why. For a profession whose job is to make things clearer and easier for the end-user we’re have to improve the way we educate the world on what we do everyday.
I’ve been working on a short way to explain to someone what user centered design is and how we do it… before they fall asleep or glaze over from the cognitive load. Here is what I have so far.

“I test web products with customers revealing flaws that prevent their ease of use. Then I make improvements and test again, repeating the process until ease of use is established.”

How do you explain UCD and your role in it in as few words as possible?


I also have difficulties with explaining what I am doing and what it’s value is. So it is interesting to me your answers too.


Hi @RyanRoy and welcome. :slight_smile:

Interesting topic. I think this is something that LOTS of new fields these days come up against. I find the same thing in community management/strategy circles. My parents don’t know what I do, although I’ve tried to describe it to them many times over.

We all want a job title or description that explains what we do, but we also want something standardised so that others can understand what it means. This is all great, except that there is no one standard role.

Your description is a good one.


Hi @RyanRoy

Like @HAWK my parents also have no idea what I do! My degree is in industrial design but they have no idea what that is and as far as they’re concerned I am a public servant because I work in government and they define my background as the organisation that I have been employed with for the last three years! It’s tricky! I like your description- I think it works.

This came up as a UX Agony Aunt question about six months ago and I published my explanation(s) below and you’re welcome to have a read. Essentially I have multiple explanations for all my different audiences.


@ryanroy , I have been in situation like where you have to convince the team about the importance of your role.

Personally, start to open conversations by listening the simple frequent user issues intetracting with particular windows. Later, i ask talkative member to think how to overcome those issues.

In case with mangers it is good to compare with other organisations success specially in saving money .

Most of the presentations I use GARTNER reports to emphasis the failure precentage in IT filed . Why IT projects fails`


Bang on! It’s a very difficult question. Generally, I tell everyone, “I don’t design screens, I design experiences.” And this leaves them more confused. So I basically tell them I research on what users are looking for in an interface and help them in getting what they want exactly where they will be looking for it.