…but it is a business. My friend Lis Hubert has written an excellent post about this. Check it out.
As the principal for Regular Joe Consulting, I take a business approach to what I do. I want the businesses who engage me to succeed, so that two things happen:
- Users achieve their goals within the most appropriate-for-them experience possible
- The business achieves its goals
These goals aren’t mutually exclusive.
Lately (most notably at the Interaction ’11 conference and the invitation-only UXXU event), a slew of UXers have been talking about “design for good.” Altruism can hold powerful sway over people. Altruism makes us feel good about ourselves as well as extending our reach to others.
To paraphrase, “Altruism don’t pay the bills.”
Pro bono work does enhance our brand and our profession, for certain. Not only does it enhance our skills, not only does it raise our individual and collective profiles, but it also helps us make important contacts that produce threads that we can pull to lead to other work, experiences, and connections.
Yet there is also good in providing for ourselves, in meeting our obligations, and in enhancing the lives of others through the work that businesses perform. We need to look at our obligation and responsibility as UX professionals:
- We serve the people who use our products.
- We serve the people who pay the bills.
- We serve our own personal ethics.
Yup, as Bob Dylan said, “Ya gotta serve somebody.”
So we need to embrace business for change, we need to engage with business as well as users, and we need to help define the best experiences for people that enhance business as well.
Finally, and timely enough, check out the brilliant Samantha Starmer and her new blog post on customer experience and user experience.