Old news: UX in the mainstream

Last summer when I was watching American Idol or some such thing, I walked into the kitchen during a commercial break but was quickly drawn back when this caught my ear:

“The fun part is taking complex technology and making it easy to use for customers.”
— Jason Johnson, UI designer for the Ford Focus SYNC navigation system

To my knowledge, this is the first mention of a user interface/user experience designer in the mainstream. I nearly gasped — we’ve made it!

But since then it’s been crickets. If we want to be recognized, we need a lot more great face time like this.

Be able to explain what you do simply and succinctly. And when given the opportunity to share it with the world, jump at the chance. We need to stop talking to one another and start spreading the good word with the folks who really matter — our customers.

Brag about the great projects you’re working on. Show people the value of having you on the team. Explain why you matter, and why people should care. Just stop being shy and start acting like you really believe in what you do. If you don’t, move over and make room for someone who does.

[Check out discussion on the IxDA mailing list about this commercial back in May.]

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  1. says

    Cool post!
    I really love the looks I get when explaining to people what it is that I do… I have been looking for that brief sentence or two that will wrap up the different disciplines that are apart of my daily job.

    When i do the chance to go into detail about user testing, interface design, information architecture, and some of the other elements of my job… people are really interested, and I think it is because they have had very little exposure to any of those concepts.

    I saw this commercial, and was stoked… it is like a point of reference.

    Aaron I

  2. tristameehan says

    Good post, but there have been * tons* of other references to UX in the mainstream– I've heard mentions about ease of use, user-friendly, user/customer experience on The Office, Bones, and a ton of shows that I watch on a regular basis– the writers are hip to it and have been for many years…

  3. says

    Another series of car commercials have been running lately that tout the driver experience: Lexus tv ads ask how cars would be different if designed around the person. The assembly line winds through the driver's house and along the morning commute…

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