UI&us is about User Interface Design, User Experience design and the cognitive psychology behind design in general. It's written by Keith Lang, co-founder of Skitch; now a part of Evernote.  His views and opinions are his own and do not represent in any way the views or opinions of any company. 

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User Experience Designer as Professional Share Trader

This was inspired by a message from Nat Baker, and some excellent blogposts from the respected Whitney Hess. Nat didn't seem convinced of what User Experience Designers actually do. And fair enough. 

I'll admit to you, I've never worked in 'big business' or Government and needed to explain formally what a User Experience person actually is. Nat lists himself as a 'Financial Journalist' I decided to make a creative parallel to his industry. 


Professional Share Trader 

Chooses and manages the elements in share portfolio

Manages with logical systems in mind eg. Supply & Demand

Manages with emotional systems in mind eg. Panic, Greed

Replaces or builds upon elements in portfolio based on changing company and market performance

Uses 'hard' data like earnings charts

Uses 'soft data' like new reports

Allocates resources (cash)
User Experience Designer 

Chooses and manages the elements in User interface

Manages with logical systems in mind eg. SDKs and OS

Manages with emotional systems in mind eg. User Confusion, Curiosity

Replaces or builds upon elements in design based on changing SDKs and measured feature usage

Uses 'hard' data like heat map charts

Uses 'soft data' like software reviews

Allocates resources (development hours) 



It's not perfect. Of course, a Ux designer usually sets development directions, not just choosing from possible options. A share trader also doesn't get the chance to run human tests on her portfolio before commiting to the market.

Both need to manage customer expectations "Why are you using that new iTunes-like interface instead of the more traditional one?" / "Why are you going for that small mining company instead of the bluechip"

Theres probably more art than science in Ux design, but that's slowly changing as cognitive science theory is turned into cognitive engineering.

What do you think?

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Reader Comments (2)

No one cares about the kicker until he misses a fieldgoal.
If the average user couldn't care less about the UI then you've probably done your job well.

January 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaleb

They say 'the better the craftsman, the less you see his work'. :-)

January 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Lang
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Sorry — had to remove comments due to spam.