On my way to the airport from Boulder (yes the nice, long ride) I started to reflect on the view I was seeing out the window. Besides the mountains, everything was pretty much flat and almost desolate, at least compared to the rocky, tree-filled north east. However every once in awhile I would see a tree or group of trees. I started to think how long those trees must have been there, they seemed, at times, randomly placed. My thoughts started going back to the first pioneers that happened upon this region on their trek west, how some of them might have planted these tree seeds on their journey, and how these trees still remain today.
Ok, I promise I’m going somewhere with this. So, having just come from a conference of the UX tribe, my thoughts then began to move towards UX. I thought about how those frontier people set the stage for the landscape with the vegetation that they brought with them from elsewhere. How their journey so long ago contributed to the here and now, and I couldn’t help but see us at the same place with User Experience. Those travellers didn’t know what to call the lands they found, so they made it up based on their experiences and knowledge (sound familiar?). They knew what they were planting and why, but didn’t fully understand how these things might be used years in the future. They certainly didn’t see that it would inspire some young UXer in the far future to write this post. I can see us in the same place. We aren’t really sure what to call ourselves (some of us are some of us aren’t I’m aware this is a touchy subject) but we are making up and naming things the best we can with the knowledge we have. We’re creating a foundation for practicing this work, however we have no idea how it will be used years and years from now.
The point of this post is not just to talk about trees, history or whacky reveres, but the point is to express to you the great deal of calm I felt after this reflection. Because what I realized is that it doesn’t really matter what we do. Nobody is going to judge us right or wrong. Nobody is going to care 30 years from now if you were an interaction designer or an information architect. All they’ll care about is that path that was carved out for them to grow into and expand upon. And we are doing that, we are carving out that path as best we can. As long as we keeping doing that, I think we’re all going to be ok… and so will our beloved profession. So keep up the good work, and continue on the journey!