Skills for Present and Future UX Practitioners

The era of the lone designer is pretty much over. When it comes to selecting the best candidates for work in experience design positions, design rationale and the process are becoming more important the the actual quality of the portfolio.

There is considerable movement away from a skill set and towards a problem solving mindset or world view. Individual skill sets (javaScript, design, coding) are becoming commoditized. A generalist with shallow understanding of design, code, wireframing, usability, coupled with the normal people skills and organizational skills are becoming the desired candidate. Recently, I attended UX Week 2007 in Washington DC and there was discussion of so-called Tetris-shaped team members:

  • I shape

  • T shape

  • -- shape

Google has long had a reputation for only hiring T-shaped employees. I would submit that good organizations can find a place for all shapes. Put another way, the shape of the team (the Tetris arrangement) is as important as the shape of the individuals. I no longer feel bad about not being the Google ideal. I like being a bar shape. Anybody who knows me, knows I like bars too.