Following up

In a previous life I juggled a role that was equal parts information architecture and knowledge management. The fields are closer than you may think, both revolving around codifying, transferring and assimilating information.

Knowledge managers strive for the ‘watercooler moment’, where a colleague mentions in passing something that saves you weeks of work. There’s plenty of thought on how to engender this culture – even interior design has a role – but it can only ever come about by getting people talking. Sometimes, particularly in a fledgling community, this can be achieved via a social object.

My post last week (“Complex inferiority – user experience in the UK”) certainly generated the discussion I hoped for, with opinion split on whether I had a valid point and even whether my points were helpful or harmful. To that end it served its purpose, but I would like to clarify a couple of points.

I am not writing off the UK user experience scene. Far from it. I see UX as my calling, not just my career, and I’ll work as hard as I can to help it thrive here. And we are clearly on an exciting upward swing. However, I’m convinced that we need to be honest about where we must improve, and until we have (amongst other things) widespread mentoring, closer ties between academia and industry, more vocal discussion and a body of excellent work I will always see room for improvement.

Let me also be clear that I don’t advocate empty self-promotion. We don’t need rockstars. We need excellent people contributing to the community. My definition of a leader is someone who goes first, and encourages others to follow. Obviously I hope to contribute in whatever small way I can, but I urge anyone who cares about this scene to take the reins and try out new things to help our nascent community.

Cennydd Bowles