The role of UX Strategist has been popping up lately in job descriptions, discussion forums, and professional profiles on the Web. Clients have assigned this role to me on a number of consulting projects. Some of my colleagues have taken UX Strategist as their new title. But what does a UX Strategist do that’s different from, say, a UX Architect or a UX Designer or a Director of User Experience? Does this role open up a new career path for UX professionals, or is this title just a way of making our work sound more important? Recently, I did some research, and I’d like to use this edition of my column UX Strategy to take a stab at defining the role of UX Strategist as it stands today. Read More
Recently, I conducted this interview with Richard Dalton, Head of Design at Capital One, about his background, his recent work at Capital One, his vision of where their experience design strategy is headed in the coming years, and his upcoming UX STRAT speaking engagement.
Paul: Hi Richard! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Can you start by telling UXmatters readers a little about yourself—such as your educational background, professional path, specific areas of focus, and anything else that you think will help them get to know you a little better.
Richard: Hey Paul, I graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, in England, with a degree in Software Engineering just as the World Wide Web was turning into a thing. I am eternally grateful for this synchronicity because I’m not really sure what I would have done otherwise! I was always a terrible coder. I was more interested in the things I could make the systems do rather than in actually creating the systems. After I graduated, I was employee #1 at an Internet design startup—this was in 1994. Soon after that, I co-founded another Internet design firm in the North of England. Then, I moved to the US in 1999, and 18 years and three financial services companies later—Vanguard, then USAA—I now find myself Head of Design at Capital One. Read More
User experience design evolved out of a discipline that was previously known as user interface design. Before user experience entered the popular vernacular, user interface designers were responsible for creating the thin visual and functional layer of software that allowed humans who didn’t know any programming language to successfully interact with computers. But since the emergence of the term user experience, as it has become more prominent, it has come to refer to the design of a full range of digital touchpoints that mediate the relationship between an individual user and the products or services a company or organization develops. Although this change in terminology wasn’t dramatic, the shift in focus from designing a user interface that makes computers easier to use to designing an engaging, relationship-building experience is a substantial transformation.
However, not all digital design teams have participated in this transformation. Some User Experience teams still focus primarily on designing user interfaces rather than the more strategic aspects of user experience. Perhaps they don't yet have the authority, the resources, or the access to the people and business information that they would need to deliver a holistic experience for their users. So, they continue to focus on the thin visual and functional layer of a Web site or application. There is nothing wrong with that—unless a team aspires to take on a larger, more mission-critical role in their company’s future. Read More