Great post over at Paradyme which dissects the term User Experience Design and looks at all the related disciplines. There is a lot of heady debate about the differences between these terms and what they mean. Personally, I prefer Digital Experience Design as it simply infers the design of experiences within the digital space vs. the physical world (though similarities in desired skill sets exist).
Kimmy proposes an interesting visual here:
...which implies that there is lots of overlap between disciplines. And she's right—there is. I especially like how the end of the post sums it all up:
"As articulated above, the field of user experience design takes a broad approach to the enhancement of products, combining elements from various fields to create an optimal and well-rounded experience. This wholistic methodology is often more adept at helping to reach a set of goals that encompass passive and active user interactions–goals determined both by users and the business or organization."
And on a related note, I attempted to tackle a similar issue—though through the perspective of the paths some of us take to arrive (and move up to) our current titles or areas of practice within these disciplines:
Experience Planners? Interaction Designers? Information Architects? Creative Directors? Visual Designers? There seems to be a conundrum in the industry related to emerging roles, titles and how they are evolving and intersecting. Especially if—like me, you work in the Interactive Marketing space. In this space, we've been increasingly blending traditional creative skill sets with information architect-type skills. But there is a lot of variation in these backgrounds—what used to be black and white is increasingly becoming Grey. In an attempt to make sense of all this nuance, I've designed a graphic that displays different backgrounds and defines possible pathways as they move up the food chain. Seems like many in the industry are struggling with this type of issue as we build up our "dream teams".
It's good to be thinking about this stuff every once in a while. Also good to remember that at the end of the day, people want to be told good stories, be provided with a great experience and have the opportunity to have their say in the process.