Brilliant text about design by Frank Chimero.
I don’t know if you ever came across this question, but I think this is harder to answer than the classic “What do you do?” for designers, as mentioned by Dan Mall in last week’s talk at the New Adventures in web design conference. I have come across this question a few times and every time by the same “person”.
Whenever I pass through passport control, I need to answer a few questions from the officials. The questions are usually very obvious and require quick answers as they are just checking if I am who I say I am. Cool with me, apart from one question that follows my statement “I’m a web designer”.
“What kind of websites do you design?”
I could answer this question in many ways, as broad as saying “All kinds of websites.” (which means “you have no idea the variety of kinds of websites I design for, can be anything, believe me.”) or as detailed as “At the company I work for, we design more web applications than websites as such. By that I mean, they are not static marketing websites but they are most of the time user-generated content websites that has a large amount of functionality and interaction. In some of the projects, we also design the CMS (the backend) of the app for the client to interact with.”. Another option is to list the clients, but would this answer the question? Or maybe list the sectors?
In any case, I haven’t come up with an answer to this question yet, but it would be good so I don’t need to think too much next time I come from an 11-hour flight.
If you work with designers, you should read this. As a designer, I can say this is very accurate.
“How many designers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Does it have to be a light bulb?”
Cennydd Bowles and James Box in Undercover User Experience Design (p. 136, chapter “Working with visual designers”)