ID ->UX -> ID? soon graduating with ID degree

I am curious to hear what people think about the route of ID into UX.

I really love Industrial design. It is something that I always want to do in my design career. On the other hand, I know the UX field is rapidly growing and the merge between technology and physical product is very intriguing.

I know a lot of people with ID background make a transition to UX, IxD field.

I definitely want to have an experience in UX field and explore them with my ID background.


  1. If I get an internship or contract as an UX designer after I graduate, do you think it will be still possible to go into ID job after?

  2. Would having a UX/Visual design experience be a plus to get an ID job later? I had an ID internship before.

  3. and what are your general thoughts about UX field as an Industrial designer?

    Thank you!

It is all how you make it add up. It is impossible for me to give a diff initiate answer on what you as an individual are able to accomplish. What you are suggesting is possible. From my experience it seems that individuals I know have had a smoother transition going from ID to UX, but have had a very difficult time going back to the ID side later. I don’t think one internship would sidetrack you, but a few years away and it would be a bigger challenge.

im curious, does ux design deal with things outside of applications? Like real life products and things outside websites?

It certainly can. Typically when a product has a digital aspect. Just think of how many products in the next few years will have RFID and NFC capabilities. We are at the forefront of the dispersion of the digital into the physical. A UX designer can almost be thought of as a human factors specialist for the digital world. Personally, I think the right person can do both.

I think this is a really important question. UX related fields seem to be the buzz lately, and it definitely makes sense for ID folks to go that way given the similar skill set, higher likelihood of getting a job and the potential for higher pay. I wonder what will happen when UX isn’t as trendy.

really though, I think they are the same thing. I mean, aren’t all designs done for the experience of the user? the approach and the ends are the same - use a design process to make good stuff. I’ve found that this venn diagram from Dan Saffer makes sense.

I think the biggest issue for lateral mobility between these fields is public perception. Just like ExpandableMind’s quote above, when I introduce myself as an Interaction Design Student, I find that I have to automatically explain that my program is in an ID department and I do interaction design on physical things; it’s not only screen based.

I guess the answer is really how you present your work. I think the lexicons of UX and ID are merging, so it’s not going to be that hard.

Jesse, I think your post is somewhat misinformed. The biggest issue between mobility is not public perception (what public are we talking about here?), it is ability.

On pay, I saw a similar trend in the 90’s. A lot of ID grads I knew in school went into web design. It was easy to pick up some HTML and get paid more as a web designer than an industrial designer. And then the bottom dropped out in about '01…

The Dan Saffer diagram is technically somewhat accurate, but in practice, woefully wrong. LEts put things another way. An industrial designer can do his or her job without a UX designer, but a UX designer cannot do his or her job without an industrial designer or graphic designer (for mobile and web apps) to complete the project. I think some companies are catching up with this and expecting the industrial and graphic designers pick up the UX tasks. So, is UX design a job or a task?

I am very confused. I think this is where my confusion comes from:
as an interaction design student (however you want to interpret that nomenclature) I HAVE to be able to do full industrial design process, just like the ID students do. I have fewer straight up ID studios, and in the place of those are UX centric classes, but I still do ID projects. My experience has been that the public (ie: everyone, including design industry people) assume that IXD = UX. Here I see you saying that UX people can’t do ID stuff. cognitive dissonance. is my program just an oddity? I was under the assumption that the web people still call themselves UX, but from here on out UX is beginning to be a more robust field.

I wish I could make sense of all this stuff. ugh.

If the tasks of UX designers can be looked at as something that can be done by anyone like IDers for example, then why are UX designers being offered a high salary 100,000+? What makes them so valuable is what I was wondering?

My take is that most of that is due to UX designers that work in the purely digital world. I believe this will hit a market adjustment the way web design did.

School is always a little confusing. The most important thing is to think about what you want to be doing when you graduate and tailor your educational experience to that. It will ruffle feathers, but its your future.

Also, when I say can’t, I don’t mean they are not allowed to, I mean simply not good enough at it to do it. Imagine being in a studio with amazing industrial designers and hanging up a poorly thought out and poorly executed concept… Demonstrable ability is important.

frustrating. I wish I hadn’t had to spend so much time on ID work if I’m only going to be recognized as a web jockey. :frowning:

The question is what do you want to do? Some UX/IxD designers prefer to stay in the abstract and academic, being satisfied with designing the system and not the product. It is an interesting space and requires you to know how comfortable you are with designing a concept or how an ecosystem works vs a product and how it works within an ecosystem.

I’d say that space is occupied by a pretty slim section UX, IxD, and ID designers and tends to be dominated by Creative Directors. To get to that point likely you will have to cut your teeth doing lots of design research and insights synthesis work, working in mobile and web apps, or ID. This is what IDEO and frog does a lot. Was super fun for awhile until you see the watered down results of your work. I wanted to control the end product more and design a team and a process that would consistently design great product that everyday people could use and enjoy.

Simply put, you’ll be recognized by what your good at. So what are you good at? Build from there.