A meme can travel halfway around the world while nuance is putting on its shoes.
Ideas bounce around the Twitters, endorsed and adopted wholeheartedly through fear, surprise, or a fanatical dedication to the church of UX. Mobile-first, responsive over m-dot, prototypes over wire frames. These truths we hold to be self-evident. Complex and contextual ideas, reduced to tweetable dogma.
So too the images which attempt to explain User Experience. The notorious Design vs User Experience ‘paths’ image has become retweet gold, passed around without context, comment, nor attribution. Such things may appear neat analogies at first glance. They don’t hold up to scrutiny.
I know we mean well. But by the time the meme has been circulated third-hand by the shiny-faced marketing managers of LinkedIn, we’ve succeeded only in propagating a skewed and oversimplified view of our craft. We do ourselves no favors sometimes.
A curious example underscores a lament I’ve heard more and more this year. UX is not UI. And I wonder: What are we really getting at here? And why are we having to make this clarification now?