What do you call yourself exactly?
I go by many titles: interaction designer, service designer, user researcher, consultant, information designer, product strategy consultant, writer, presenter, advisor and overall nice guy.
But which is your specialty?
That’s easy, design. I think all the above in way or another is design. They are all ways to solve a problem with creative intent.
I design. Sometimes that’s an interface. Sometimes it’s lots of them that connect and interact in different ways. Sometimes it’s extensive maps and documentation. It’s all design. Just like researching who might be using the wider service in which that sits, whether it be on a London housing estate or a village in Rwanda. It also means developing the strategy of a product or service, because that is helping find out what to design.
How do you say in a sentence what you do?
I work on products and services with impact and scale like government, a fairer and more secure peer-to-peer internet to reinventing what used to be email.
You have quite a broad experience. Don’t you think you should stick with one thing?
Not really. Generalists have the advantage of being able to see problems and solutions from many angles and from many experiences. Solutions are never simple, so how we look at and try to solve them shouldn’t be either.
Design should be a very broad practice, calling upon all the ways we can think of and use to solve our world’s problems. Sometime a well written sentence can do the job of an entire application. Sometimes a well placed conversation can change some policy which can do more for positive change than any amount of software design.