Alluding faked UX design effort to theatre is a bit unfair to theatre.
Genuine theatre entertains the majority of people (if not all) by making them laugh, cry, and, occasionally, think deeply and critically, in a totally worry-free environment, as a much-needed, momentary escape from the exhausting or dull reality being otherwise endured.
In other words, theatre benefits most of us, regardless of who we are.
By contrast, faked UX design effort mostly, if not at all times, frustrates or even harm people and organizations, by pleasing the few at the top while turning what the majority at the bottom is trying to do into bullshit jobs (as defined in David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory). It pleases the privileged few by frustrating, disrespecting and disenfranchising the many.
In other words, theatre has an integrity that faked UX design effort seriously lacks.
Besides, faking UX design is a bit like faking orgasm — if you’re the one who’s faking it, there’s no way you can mistake it for the real thing, while others are being fooled into it.
There are also different types of fakes: shallow fake and deep fake.
Shallow fake is what we usually mean when we say “paying lip service” — all saying but no doing, all promises but no action.
Deep fake is trickier, because sometimes it does look hyper real — there’s action, there’s even romance.
Eventually, deep fake is exposed only by a lack of real difference between the status quo and what’s been accomplished.
If there ever should be a UX design theatre, let’s hope it’s not about faked efforts, but about celebrating the integrity of UX design and the designers behind it.