"The dip" - Cennydd Bowles at Lightning UX

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 7 February 2011

Last week was the first Lightning UX event in London, organised by Lee McIvor, and I've gradually been posting my notes. So far I've blogged about Boon Chew's talk "How a developer became a UX designer", and Jonathan Kahn talking about "Why content strategy is a big deal for UX professionals". In the next couple of blog posts I'll be sharing my notes on two presentations that have their roots in the Brighton UX scene, starting with Cennydd Bowles.

"The dip" - Cennydd Bowles

If Cennydd's closing talk at the IA Summit in Denver in April has the passion with which the delivered his five minute talk at Lightning UX, then we will be in for quite a treat.

He was talking about "the dip" that he believes is about to occur, as he anticipates people losing confidence in the ability of UX to deliver solutions.

Partly, he says, this is because it is hubristic to think that everything can be solved by UX alone. Partly, he argued, it is because a shortage of experience practitioners means that currently junior UXers are being promoted out of their depth.

Overall though, I think Cennydd's point was that as a discipline that synthesises knowledge from lots of different areas, we always risk having our thinking being shown up by real experts in any one of the particular fields we touch upon. For example, a lot of UX practitioners have a "GCSE-level" knowledge of psychology, he said.

It is something I've worried about before, and wrote about after EuroIA in Paris last year, when I was stuck by the "unhappy isolation" of our discipline. For some reason, because the web has been so disruptive, it has become acceptable for some user experience designers to throw away all the prior art of industrial design, classic HCI, and any number of disciplines that feed into UX.

The answer is to read more, and to read widely. That way you'll keep being reminded that the way people experience product design was not invented in 1993 with Mosaic...

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