A while back (September 2014) I ran a very short 5-minute survey targeted at UX professionals to elicit thoughts on the links between their work and that of academic HCI research.

The survey was framed in the following way: "This survey is part of a research project exploring in what ways academic human-computer interaction (HCI) research can be made relevant to UX / IxD professionals. The goal of the research is to develop bridges between HCI research and UX / IxD practice."

The complete list of questions is also available.

The following sections first present textual responses to the survey, drawn from a handful of questions where it was possible either to elaborate or perhaps disagree with the survey itself. The second section presents numerical data gathered from the rest of the questions posed in the survey. For the moment I have left all this pretty much unanalysed. You can draw your own conclusions, and I would like to hear more about them.

Topics raised in the survey

Textual responses in the survey were generated as a result of the following questions (more details here):

In the selected quotations I present here, I have included some context—where possible—about the self-reported role of the respondent (in square brackets after the quotation). Quotations have also been edited for brevity and basic typos / spelling errors have been corrected. I have included my own comments on the responses where relevant, but put these in italics to ensure clarity between respondent comments and my own thoughts.

On the survey itself

The survey was set up in ways that introduced a distinction between UX and HCI, and between academia and industry. There were no respondents who indicated a negative view of this purported gap (which obviously could be affected by the population attracted to responding to the survey), and indeed even the wording of survey itself did the job of eliciting recognition of this gap. For instance, as one person stated: "As a practitioner, I can tell the survey was made by an academic" [UX consultant]. There were also questions about using a survey as a method of discovery for this research: "I don't see how this survey addresses the question you're attempting to answer" [UX professional].

On the topic of the survey

The majority of responses focussed on the topic of the survey—i.e., unpicking the links between academic HCI and UX in industry. These comments were generally made in the "any comments about the survey" text box. They are presented here in no particular order, but many of them highlight some key issues: HCI as out of touch with UX, communication problems, and problems in the relative speed at which both proceed.

Linked to these comments were responses made to "I approach my work differently", which tended to focus on making points about the nature of UX practices and the way a discrete list of methods that was presented to respondents.

On roles and language

Various questions elicited responses that offered problematisations of the way roles and terminology was presented in the survey. Many of these help unpack problems experienced by UX-ers in defining their roles, and some of the challenges of language when communicating across disciplines.

On the topic of selecting design, research and evaluation as indicators of what respondents did in their work, a number of comments highlighted the problematics of such terms and (again) language issues that might exist in talking across HCI and UX.

On survey options

Survey options themselves caused problems. Here are some examples:

Numerical results

The self-reported makeup of the survey was as follows:

The following charts have been generated from the other (numerical) survey questions: