One of the perennial debates in our field is whether to work agency-side or client-side. Having done both, I’d say, each one has its benefits.
Working in an agency give you breadth: you will be working on a variety of projects and probably employing an equally wide variety of tools. Assuming you work on a number of projects, you will be exposed to quite a few clients, all very different, which will stand you in good stead for the future. And you’ll learn to do awesome documentation.
Life client-side is completely different. Its all about patience, taking a long term view and, most critically, stakeholder management. This side of the fence, the quality of outputs is less important.
As to which is better, I don’t think there is a clear cut answer. The longer you stay on one side, the harder it is to switch over to the other. Too much time agency-side, can make you impatient and superficial, ready to leap before looking too hard. But is can also keep your creativity - and your confidence - levels high. Too much time client-side can make you less of a blue-sky thinker, as your familiarity with the system makes you second guess what could be possible. But your diplomacy skills will be second-to-none.
So, which way to go? The answer, as always, is that “it depends” - on you, on what you’ve done before, on what you feel happiest with, where you want to go in the future. Me, I can’t decide. Which is why I do a bit of one... then a bit of the other... Best of both worlds!
When I started my digital career, I’d never heard the term ‘experience designer’. In fact, it was just before the term ‘information architecture’ was introduced to the industry, which we referred to quite quaintly as ‘new media’.
A decade and a half later, everyone and his dog is involved in “experience design”, using one of a wide range of tiles including UX strategist, information architect, interaction designer, UX designer, experience designer and experience architect.
So what do those of us in the many-titled tribe do? Do all those labels refer to the same role or are there subtle differences between an information architect and an interaction designer? How do any of us decide which title is right and what to actually call ourselves?
My perspective on this is the names matter less than the skills required within the industry. User experience design covers many activities, including:
Some people will be able to do it all, from the detail to the big picture. And the more experience they have, the more comfortably they will be able to operate anywhere on the continuum. But, honestly, people who excel at both ends of the spectrum are few and far between. And rightly so, in many ways. Its the collaboration and the different perspectives that help tease out the nuances in the problem and, later, in the solution.
I want an easy life - for everyone. The only way to achieve that is if we all work together, to make the world a better place, one interaction at a time. This blog is aimed at people who are either starting out in UX or just want to know more about it.
Freelance user experience strategist. Passionate about making life a little easier, through intelligent use of design.