17th October 2014
Designing for user experience often is at odds with more conventional creative design disciplines, because more creative design place value and emphasis on originality - this is the act of creation.
Originality in UX design is, more often than not, not a good thing.
Designing an intuitive UI involves tapping into pre-existing responses & understanding that users have gained through usage of other ubiquitous systems on the web (often systems that have often cost an awful lot of money to design & test). If you put something out there which is original, the user must invest valuable time (which most don't have) to learn your new way of doing things.
Information architecture is another key area of UX where originality is a bad thing. When modelling content, we need to learn our target users mental models, so again, there is very little creativity occurring during this process.
Unless you are truly designing something novel, i.e. not been done before, which is infrequent, originality is rarely a good thing. Of course there is the odd exception to the rule, it's just a question of weighing up whether the benefit of introducing the new, better, practice outweighs the onus of the familiarisation process..
Nothing is truly original anyway, even if you try and dress it up to be so. I see good UX design practice as synergising (to be honest I don't like the term UX designer - because I think design infers creating something from scratch, I prefer UX Architect) - looking at other implementations, spotting the good parts, and cherry picking - the skill comes in cherry picking the good bits, and then possibly and judiciously introducing something new into the equation that adds, rather than takes away, from the overall experience.
I find that 95% of the time in my job I'm spending my time on usability fixes. Just trying to make things work satisfactorily for the end user. Most of the organisations I've worked in are in desperate need of a quality control process, to maintain consistency in their experience. these are issues that are most often exist because of technical constraints.
I'd love to be working on creating engaging experiences, but again, I often find these aspirations are foiled by the inability to output the data I want due to other more prosaic business priorities.