The Monty Python guide to user experience design

What’s the difference between information architecture, interaction design, visual design and usability engineering?

I argue that each of these areas is critical in a design project but that they need to be co-ordinated by a User Experience Designer to ensure the end user’s experience is a satisfying one. — Ritch Macefield, September 3, 2012

There’s a memorable scene in ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ where Brian tentatively approaches a small band of people led by John Cleese and asks: “Are you the Judean People’s Front?” After a few expletives, John Cleese explains that they’re not the Judean People’s Front — they’re The People’s Front of Judea. The sketch makes the point that what one person sees as a small difference, another person sees as a paradigm shift.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re getting into the same situation in the field of user experience. We define ourselves by roles that sound pretty similar to people that work outside the field — Information Architects, Interaction Designers, Visual Designers, Usability Engineers and User Experience Designers are just a handful of terms commonly used.

But what are the differences? And how do they work together?

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