That age-old problem of job titles has been on my mind again lately, prompted by my starting to look around for my next project, hence the need to convey clearly what it is that I actually do, plus the imminent need to print up some new business cards.
I’ve been mostly calling myself a User Experience Architect in recent years, but really just because that’s the terminology agencies – digital and recruitment – relate to. User Experience is certainly becoming a more firmly established discipline, yet it remains stubbornly undefined, with myriad competing and conflicting interpretations abounding.
To me User Experience is just product design in the digital space. But that’s a pretty broad remit – broader, it seems, than many of the other definitions that are going round.
Plus, what I do goes beyond that anyway – I cover the ground from client-facing consultancy and business requirements analysis, through solution definition, user experience and systems design, information architecture, content strategy, copywriting and editing, and even hands-on prototyping – plus the surrounding project direction, ownership and oversight. There’s also a heavy dose of product management in what I do. Not to mention consideration of the wider customer experience beyond just an individual product. Tricky to find a single, commonly understood, title that covers all that ground.
The other key thing is that I work in freelance, contract and interim capacities, rather than as a permanent employee. So I need to try to reflect that in there too.
So I’m thinking – Digital Product Design Consultant. Thoughts?
I’ll admit I’ve never really liked the title ‘consultant’ – even though I’ve labelled myself with it in the past. It is overused and can be taken to have negative connotations. But I suspect it may be a necessary evil. It conveys the temporary but value-adding nature of my assignments I suppose.
I shall mull on it awhile until my current set of business cards finally runs out…
I decided on Digital Architect in the end. It seems simpler and retains the word ‘architect’, which I like because of the analogy I often use when explaining what I do: if you were building your new office, you’d hire an architect; I do the same thing, but for digital products.