I appreciate the detailed response, Terry, and the trip down memory lane. Everything you discuss above is perfectly accurate. In fact, it reads almost like a textbook from my graduate program (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). I’m sure all of these processes have their place in teaching young designers how to package up an experience or design a product. But they often do not fit into the real world of software or product development. This, of course, depends on where you work. But generally speaking, I have found the real world isn’t always so receptive to these nice, neat and tidy little processes we like to discuss in our professional circles. Great in the classroom — limited use in practice. That’s the primary point of this piece.
That being said, I still can’t disagree with what you say. Assuming a designer works in an organization that not only allows, but promotes these design processes, the blank artboard (or creative block) may indeed be minimized. This also assumes, however, that every person’s creative process can be boiled down to some UX method outlined in a book. If that were true of all creative endeavors, everyone would be a novelist or a world-famous painter. You just paint by the numbers and then poof — the magic just happens. In that sense, I disagree with what you write.
Moreover, I do find the “let’s define UX” conversation to be quite tiresome. I don’t think you have told me what UX would be like. I do think you have told me what our profession wishes UX was like. I’m sure there are exceptions and I see them every once in a while. But this article is me sharing my experiences and this is what UX has been like for me. It’s not a bad thing. But the whole point of my article is underscored in your response. Your text-book answer above is spot on and may represent your experience…and it is probably what any student might expect after spending a few years in grad school. But it isn’t what many students will encounter. It’s the imagined. The reality may be different from what I shared, but will likely not be what you shared either.
I am glad to hear there are folks like you out there working in places where you can run through the whole design and research process. It’s inspiring. But most of the responses I have received regarding this piece of writing suggest you are in the minority.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article and comment, Terry. I think your comment adds perspective to my article and is very well thought out.
Now I have to get back to my deadline and my blank artboard. :)