UX Plagiarism | Stealing Someone’s Work

Kevin Richardson, Ph.D. / Monday, August 29, 2016

With the upcoming US presidential election, plagiarism has been in the news of late. Yet, when we discuss plagiarism, we typically focus on the individual(s) who committed the act. How horrible they are! How lazy! How unprofessional! All these things are true but I want to focus for a moment on the individual(s) against whom the act was committed.

In the creative field that is User Experience Design, our work defines us. It is the end result of our training, experience, creativity and hard work. We have our processes, true, but what we tend to sell are our results. The finished product. Whether that product is a complex business application, a mobile app, or a corporate website, our deliverables are our “intellectual property” (even if our clients, technically, own them). They remain ours even after we release them into the world. We never truly walk away.

Until now, I’ve never known how it feels to have had my work plagiarized. And I’m not referring to someone using my work as a springboard toward creating something unique. Nope. I’m talking about straight-up stolen.

My consulting organization within Infragistics, where I serve as Director of UX, has had, since 2013, its own website (http://d3.infragistics.com/). We use it to describe our design philosophy, post client testimonials and blogs, recruit new employees…the typical stuff. We put a lot of time and effort into the creation of that site and continue to put in effort to maintain and update it.

And then a company called Apex Infosystems stole it. Google them and see for yourself. If you happen to read this after their site has been taken down, take a look at the screen shots below.

I can tell you that it feels dirty. And yes, the lawyers have been alerted but that doesn’t make me feel any better. There are no excuses for passing someone else’s work off as your own. In the academic and corporate worlds, there are rules and immediate consequences to plagiarism. In this case, I’ll likely need to hope for a little karma (or Newtonian physics, if you prefer). Either way, it makes me angry and a little sad.

 

Infragistics’ Landing Screen

a

 

Apex Infosystems’ Landing Screen

8-26-2016 10-48-49 AM

 

Infragistics’ Services Screen

b

Apex Infosystems’ Services Screen

8-26-2016 10-50-00 AM

 

Infragistics’ Process Screen

d

Apex Infosystems’ Process Screen

8-26-2016 10-51-27 AM

 

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Kevin Richardsonhas been working in the area of user experience for 25 years. With a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, he has experience across business verticals in the fields of research, evaluation, design and management of innovative, user-centered solutions.

On the weekends, you can find Kevin on his motorcycle, racing for Infragistics Racing at a number of different racetracks on the East coast.