How to Tell Your Parents and Friends You’re A UX Designer

My mom always tells me “I don’t know what it is you do, but I hope you’re happy”. I’m a ux designer! How can she not know! I’ve literally told her 10 times!

Then I came up with the perfect analogy. Were architects!


Don’t be that asshole on the left, be the awesome guy on the right!

Rewind to 10 Years ago when the world of UX was non-existent. You had programmers and you had designers. That’s it! It was beautiful until apps got more and more complex.

Fast forward 10 years and you have ux designers, ux researchers, ui developers, information architects, and interaction animators. All of it sounds like non-sense. All I want is you to design and develop my iPhone app!

Here’s the simplest breakdown of what a UX designer is.

This is what the dictionary says an “architect ” is: a person who designs buildings and in many cases also supervises their construction.

Replace the word “buildings” with “apps” and you have your UX designer. So now that we know what a UX designer is let’s dive deeper into buildings apps.

this is an actual architect at his workplace
Is this guy designing a building or is he designing the next Snapchat?

Why do they need all those people working on that one app, I thought Mark Zuckerberg did Facebook?

Apps are so big now and have tons of features and services added on to them. We as UX designers need to make sure that all the gears, electrical, and plumbing are laid out accordingly.

We need planning (iterations), blueprints (wireframes), planning (redlines). Making sense?

When an app becomes too big you need more people added to certain feature to meet the users needs. Just like you need more security to help against hacking and finding exploits, you need UX designers making sure people are happy and understand what they’re doing on your website or app.

A UX designer creates the “blueprints” of the application. They know where to put things, and explore new layouts and interactions so people can have a better experiences. Much like an architect for a building creates layouts and interactions for the owner.

“These function parameters return null because the API segments don’t follow proper protocol!”. “What the hell are you talking about Gary!”

That leaves the developers as the construction workers. They’re the ones who build the app. Much like in building a house, the UX designer has to make sure the construction workers are not running into any mishaps with the design of the blueprints or “wireframes”.

This simplifies the process so you don’t have one person doing all the work. Have you ever had someone build their own house? It take several months to a year of planning and building, but with a whole team working on it you can have it done in 4 months or less.

So the next time you figuring how to tell you parents and family what you do, say that you’re an architect for mobile apps. They’ll understand. If not find new friends.

So remember:

The UX Designer is the architect.

The UI Designer is the interior and exterior decorator.

The Developer is the construction worker.

The project manager is your boss.