I have a confession to make… it’s not easy to say and it’s even harder to admit. I do not want to be an interaction designer forever. In fact, I don’t even really enjoy the act of detailed designing as much as one “should”. Over the past couple of months I’ve begun to recognize the things that I really love about my profession and those that I could do without… and interaction design is one that I can do without. Of course, I’ll need to explain further.
First, let me define what I mean by interaction designer. I’m talking about the people who look at and absorb a strategic vision (either business, tech, or design vision… or all three) and then think about how that looks on a screen/interface. We think about the screens that are needed, and what information/content displays where and when and then we put that all into some form of documentation such as a wireframe. What I’m saying when I state I don’t want to be an Interaction Designer forever is that this part of my job, the part where I’m just focusing on the details of the interaction, is one that I can do much much less of (notice I decided to switch from ‘do without’ to ‘do much much less of’).
Now, this is not to say that I don’t at times enjoy this work. On the contrary, it is the majority of what I’m working on right now, and I’m having a great time creating an awesome experience. But, there are times and days where I say to myself “this sucks”.
Because I’m saying that to myself, I have to ask… what is it I’d rather be doing? This job is awesome, so why am I saying these things? Thus, what are the parts of my profession that I do want to do much, much more of. For me, I personally love working on a conceptual and strategic vision. The other people can figure out the screens and then I can tell them if that fits with the vision, but leave the screens to them. I love seeing the big (really big) picture and enjoy matching that up with user research that I’ve done and behaviors that I’m seeing. This is what brings me satisfaction… so why am I so hesitant to make this confession?
In short, as a member of this awesome community, I’ve always felt that I need to do and love everything that we are responsible for. I need to love research, scoping, design, drawing, etc. I’m scared that if I don’t love doing interaction design, then I won’t be able to call myself a member of this community. But, that is just silly. Today I’m taking a stand and saying… I’m just not down with the interaction design as much as I use to be. I wanna play with the other kids and only come to this sandbox from time to time. And you know what guys? That is OK. That does not make me a traitor or any less part of this community that we’ve worked to build. It just means that I have a better idea of what slice of the pie I want to work with, and brings me closer to where I want to and can contribute the most to this awesome thing that we call User Experience. I encourage you to also think more about what it is you love and hate about our world. Making these observations about yourself can help you focus your career and in the end, make you a happier UXer.