Oh how many times do you read that job description and wonder what kind of unicorn they are looking for? So many job descriptions and so many articles have been written on the topic:

A UX unicorn is that job description that says the company would like the designer to do all of the research, analysis, visual design, interaction design, information architecture, copy writing, acceptance testing, validation, usability testing, CSS, HTML, Javascript, angular, node.js and be an expert in agile methodologies. Oh yeah, don’t forget, are experts at communicating at any level in the organization with product management, business owners and developers.

UX Unicorn

For many years I have worked with software development organizations. A challenge has always been to find great UI developers. UI development is not taught in colleges and universities. Most developers that I have worked with have been business tier or database developers. Since it is difficult to find good UI developers, every organization tries to convince their business tier devs that they can do the UI. I am forever having the long walk to the car with a developer who explains to me in the nicest way possible that he hates working on the UI.

<sarcasm> Oh yay and I have you working on one of the more important aspects of the UI. I feel wicked confident that it will get done well. </sarcasm>

Many of the independent unicorns that I know are leaving money on the table. They are great at some aspect of the unicorn story but are missing other aspects. They are great visual designers, interaction designers, analysts, and UI developers with more than 15-20 years of experience. They go in and cover as much as possible to meet the businesses needs but could provide more if they had a bench to reach into.

I think I can make a win-win-win situation for everyone.

  1. Businesses want to hire the right people to get job the done and get it done well. They would also like to reduce the hassle of dealing with a design firm or having to startup with different contractors. They would like the project done correctly the first time. However, they are not interested in building a large design group to cover all of the skills needed.
  2. UX designers and UI developers  want the independence of working on their own but also encounter opportunities where they could earn more money if they had a team to back them up.

Let’s create a design collaborative. The collaborative will be made of UX designers and UI developers. Everyone has to be vouched for – we have to be confident that we can work with each other. The collaborative can get the projects and more than one person will work on them. The people will be a trusted resource to talk about problems and share solutions. The entity can be incorporated and hold the insurance necessary for the larger projects. Businesses get the skill sets they need from a trusted highly skilled network of designers and developers who specialize UIs. And UX designers and and UI developers get the leverage they need to sell and implement large interesting projects.

We can take the lead from organizations like the Softjoe Collaborative.

What do you think?