I’m in the process of developing educational material for use internally in my organization and I’d like to somehow counteract the overuse of this term.

For most it’s a synonym for usability engineering or interaction design. I consider it to be the new SEO, in that it’s a label many people think they understand, but don’t really, so it becomes a catch-all term without value, that’s easy for anyone to throw around and sound like they know what they’re talking about.

If my plan is to inform my audience of the complexities of the practice and how they overlap and interact, then I don’t think ‘UX’ does a very good job of setting the stage.

The best I can come up with is to avoid the abbreviated version and only refer to ‘User Experience Design’, which paints more of a picture that UX, and potentially gets the reader/thinker closer to the appreciation that there’s more to it than they think.

Can anyone suggest alternative ways to refer to the practice of UX, that could be used in presentation material, documentation, or even job titles?

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    Since it's for internal use you have the benefit of having a smaller audience to reach than if you were to address the general public. For that reason I suggest a reeducation process to teach the real meaning of the term UX and how it applies to your organization instead of creating more vague terminology and dancing around the correct labels.
    – DasBeasto
    Jan 13, 2016 at 17:42
  • Thanks. I am engaging in a reeducation process, and the real meaning of UX will be part of that. I'll still be left with what I think is an inappropriate label. Sure, my org is smaller than "the world", but it's still hundreds of people. Sweating the details on the semantics is hardly dancing around.
    – dennislees
    Jan 13, 2016 at 17:51

3 Answers 3


An alternative term could be User Centered Design. To paraphrase this article from A List Apart: alistapart.com/column/looking-beyond-user-centered-design UX refers to the "what" and User Centered Design refers to the "how". It seems appropriate if he's trying to describe the processes behind UX.

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    Welcome to the site, @Laura. Can you provide any evidence to expand your answer? What makes "User Centered Design" better than other terms? Jan 13, 2016 at 17:47
  • Laura, add that to your answer, instead in the comments. That was people will be able to see it.
    – Majo0od
    Jan 13, 2016 at 18:27

Using professional terms and UX-lingo does rationalise and help illustrate the design process, but unfortunately also means that you need to explain these, to stakeholders. From what you wrote it sounds like you first need to get them onboard, before submitting any project proposals or such.

A lot of mid-to-senior executives still think UX is about visual design, so why not illustrate it in your documents, visually or in non-conventional ways?

You could, for example:

  • Include a short video in an introductory email (not more than 3 mins long) by one of the UX gurus
  • Show how UX is defined - such as through your own version of Jesse James Garrett's UX stack
  • Use a storyboard of the user's frustration, when talking about featuritis
  • you can still do these whilst keeping with your company's tone and voice

Etcetera. Yes, in an ideal world managers would know and be familiar with UCDesign, but alas - it's part of our job to engage (not just educate) them as to why listening to their users helps everyone overall.

  • Thanks for your input, but I think you're missing the point. I will use the techniques you mentioned (and several others) in the education process. My question isn't about the need for education, or specific methodologies - it's about the use of a specific label.
    – dennislees
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:41

I would suggest to use down-to-earth terms. Something along these lines.

How can we make sure users LOVE our software? Ultimately, every company has to ask this question. Because, they die if they don't. When people love an app/website, they share it with friends, brag about it on Facebook, Twitter and, most importantly, stay devoted customers. How can we earn this love? This is the question I'm going to cover in my presentation.

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