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Confessions Of An Ex Unicorn - UX Scotland 2015

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The mythical UX unicorn; we've all felt the pressure to become one, and many of us have gained or are actively pursuing unicorn status. But do we truly need to be masters of the entire UX spectrum? What happens if the path isn't all the glitter and rainbows you were expecting? Or you start down the path and discover you hate having a horn? We’ve captured ex unicorns to discuss the benefits of a multidisciplinary education, complications of unicorn life, and varying paths to success.

There has been lots of discussion about why everyone in UX needs to be a unicorn and how to achieve this status. Many companies are expecting that everyone they hire be able to single-handedly cover the entire spectrum of UX roles; nearly every UX job description seems to include everything from usability testing to JavaScript.

The result is that many UX professionals are attempting to be unicorns and either finding themselves unhappy in their process, unsatisfied in their role as a unicorn, feeling unqualified to move forward, or unsure of how to grow their career.

We’re going to reflect on our past experiences to share what we’ve learned; there is value to having a unicorn education and having a broad set of experiences, but we want to be honest about the challenges, too. UX is meant to be a team sport; it can be overwhelming to cover so many disciplines within one role, you can burn yourself out quickly, set yourself up to work alone and there is inherent bias in being the sole researcher, designer, and coder. If you’re responsible for all aspects of UX, you may design something that is easier to develop, or maybe you’ll end up phrasing research questions in a leading way. Having a team allows you to share ideas, give and get critique, build on the experience and perspectives of multiple individuals, and have each member play to their strengths.

Additionally, there are some people who don't want to be unicorns. Some of us are deeply passionate about research or in love with pushing pixels. While having a working knowledge of all the aspects of UX is helpful, we want to clearly emphasize that one does not need to be a unicorn in order to be successful. We’ll discuss how we’ve evolved our careers over time to best align with our preferences, strengths, and personal goals.

We also want to address those that are trying to hire unicorns, because they aren’t necessarily the best thing for a company. We’ll discuss the situations when unicorns work well and when a company is better off with more specialized roles.

We want to set the record straight that you do not have to reach unicorndom to be successful in UX.

Published in: Design

Confessions Of An Ex Unicorn - UX Scotland 2015

  1. 1. Ex UnicornEx Unicorn Confessions of an Rachel Daniel Amanda Stockwell
  2. 2. amanda stockwell @MandaLaceyS Land of lobsters and vacations Earning nerd cred at engineering school Startup Unicorning Corporate Focus Freelancers Delight UX Happy Place
  3. 3. Rachel Daniel @RainbowliciousD From a land of sparkles galore & rainbows delight Designer at heart Former Ninja Coder Current World Traveler UX Team Builder Ex Unicorn
  4. 4. A mythical user experience individual who is a master of the entire UX spectrum and can perform every specialty skill with ease 
 no matter if they have a conflict of interest.
  5. 5. User Research Information 
 Architecture Interaction Design Usability ContentStrategy Prototype Code Visual Design
  6. 6. Unicorn Sparkles
  7. 7. I UX
  8. 8. Gain a broad set of experiences and learn the ropes
  9. 9. Seek, find, and conquer your UX passion
  10. 10. UX trading cards by Dan Willis
  11. 11. Sometimes there is just too much glitter.
  12. 12. Unicorn ISSUES
  13. 13. UX is meant to be a team sport
  14. 14. • Being a unicorn gets old
  15. 15. • You can get burnt out from too much pony dancing
  16. 16. Potential for high turnover
  17. 17. EX Unicorns
  18. 18. User Research Information 
 Architecture Interaction Design Usability ContentStrategy Prototype Code Visual DesignLearn the basic parts of UX And How They Work Together
  19. 19. • Consume a healthy diet of specialties
  20. 20. • Understand your weaknesses and What you’re not As good at
  21. 21. And what you like
  22. 22. Know The Different Paths
  23. 23. Specialize Unicorn Consultant Team Leader
  24. 24. Specialize Unicorn Consultant Team Leader
  25. 25. What is the most significant obstacle you need to overcome in your current role?
  26. 26. Stand UP.
  27. 27. Share.
  28. 28. Come up with 3 potential solutions.
  29. 29. Share Again.
  30. 30. Tips For Success
  31. 31. Unicorn Tips Find other unicorns outside of work Recognize your weak areas and ask for help Be aware of overcommitment and know your limitations
  32. 32. Specialist Tips Understand the benefits of a diverse team Evangelize the power of a cross-functional team Don’t beat yourself up and know your worth Rely on the strengths of your team mates
  33. 33. Tips FOR Everyone
  34. 34. Make friends with dragons, developers, product managers, and other stakeholders
  35. 35. Manage your company’s expectations
  36. 36. Don’t become a fabricated designer
  37. 37. Be unique. UXers come in all shapes and sizes
  38. 38. — Adrian Chan Unless we dig deeper and think harder about our own discipline, we risk losing the field to what much of design is, and always has been: a matter of taste.
  39. 39. QuestionsQuestions @RainbowliciousD @MandaLaceyS
  40. 40. media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/9a/7f/fb/9a7ffb53ea6a471fb86a8241664c5a5e.jpg http://linedraw.storenvy.com/products/460092-unicorn-heart-5x7-print www.flickr.com/photos/reneeanddolan/13020422424 by dolanh (flickr) https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/3377110664 by Alice Popkorn (flickr) mrwgifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Cheerleader-Throwing-Up-Glitter-Team-Spirit.gif www.flickr.com/photos/127581466@N03/15278512731 by Suzanne B (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/eccentricjeff/5024142393 by Eccentric Jeff (flickr) https://www.flickr.com/photos/12905355@N05/6315698493 by Photo Giddy (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/smull/4318531018 by Andy Pixel (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/apelad/2070879702 by Ape Lad (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/divine_harvester/6905527027 by Divine Harvester (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/widdowquinn/7818021082 by widdowquinn (flickr) www.etsy.com/listing/120287132/unicorn-headband-party-pack-set-of-10.jpg by jumbojibbles (Etsy) http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/185/5/4/jedi_narwhal_by_erionix-d560txe.jpg https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow/3005665319 by sharyn morrow (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/dalboz17/3670105671 by Matt DeTurck (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/pheezy/90137842 by Evan P. Cordes (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/interpunct/3179146274 by Jennifer (flickr) www.flickr.com/photos/waldopepper/4912903775 by waldopepper (flickr) Image Credits
  41. 41. Thank you!Thank You! @RainbowliciousD @MandaLaceyS

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