For those just arriving, please see my freshly updated UX & IxD models at:
In this sundial model, the fields of user experience (UX) are arranged on a circular path reflecting the spectrum of product development activities, which range from:
Understanding –> Definition –> Communication –> development –> analysis –> Understanding.
These fields are all reasonably well-accepted members of the UX rubric. Each is a stand-alone discipline. However, experienced UX practitioners will be thoroughly versed in more than one field, and it is recommended for any UX practitioner to have skills across one or more disciplines. The image with orange sections reflects my own personal areas of expertise, following ten years of work experience self-identifying as an interaction designer.
More nuances, naturally, can be defined inside each of the fields. “Communication Design” is a new-fangled term for Visual Design. (UI Design is contained in there.) “Marketing” is included primarily for a small piece of the field, namely Branding. “Usability” spans a range of evaluative and analysis activities.
“Interaction Design” and “Information Architecture” are close kin, as many recent conversations attest. For me, information architecture focuses on defining structure, space, and meaningful content; interaction design focuses on defining behavior, form across time, and purposeful goals. The two seem to me virtually inseparable practices for digital product design. Within the field of interaction design, the Cooper methodology defines various interaction designers as IxDG (interaction design generators) and IxDS (interaction design synthesizers) types, which in my mind is similar to the difference between an IxD and an IA in more common parlance.
This model struck me as a positive way of representing how the fields of UX are related across a spectrum of activities. Also, this model allows an individual practitioner to illustrate their particular skill sets. Perhaps it’s an entry point to allow the world at large to better comprehend our skills. Glad for feedback!