A few months ago, I applied for a job at a company where I’m a customer. They had a UX opening, so I tossed my hat in the ring. The gal I contacted set me up with a phone screen with someone there. She never sent me the name and he introduced himself really fast as if I knew who he was. I don’t know who he was. I don’t know if he was a creative director or the CEO of the whole, small company. I only know he was the guy on the phone semi-interviewing me.
He asked me what I thought of their UX, as a customer. I wanted to be positive, so I said that for my use of their system, most of my experiences were good ones. I did see some tough spots I’d love to fix.
He started barking that he HATES his company’s UX. He thinks the site is TERRIBLE. He started listing things he finds wrong with the UX. I wasn’t sure what to say… does he want me to agree or disagree? It didn’t matter because he didn’t let me get a word in. So I just listened to this guy barking at me about how bad his UX is.
I don’t remember talking about me at all. I only remember listening to him rant about how bad his company’s UX is, and then…
He suddenly shifted gears to talk about the open job. He told me they wouldn’t be considering me for the job. Why not. Because they require their UX workers to also be visual designers so that they can “follow the process to the end.” I asked if they have ANY UX specialists. No. Everybody is a hybrid or generalist. They won’t consider anybody for a UX job that can’t impress them with a visual design portfolio.
If you read my blog, you KNOW what I think about that.
Newsflash: That could be why your UX is so bad.
If you don’t have any specialists on something, chances are it won’t be the high quality product you’re hoping for. That’s true about anything. If you didn’t have a great visual designer, your visual design will probably lack. If you had programmers who were generalists and had their main talents in some other area, you might find your code isn’t the best it could be.
It’s true for medical care. 🙂 Sometimes, you need a specialist to really get something right.
While UX generalists have their places, depending on your company’s size, I always suggest having at least one specialist if not more. Hire at least one truly talented and skilled interaction design specialist for where your interaction design really counts. Which is probably everywhere.