What Should A UX Expert’s Website Look Like?

Posted By Debbie on May 30, 2011

Last week, a recruiter considering sending me in for a potential contract job with a very big and well known company basically told me that my website didn’t look like other UX people’s websites… and therefore, I would probably be rejected by this big company because it’s not what they would want to see. I told her that I had seen websites of many other UX/UI consultants, and it appeared they were all mostly words with some tabs… and did she think my website needed to be like that. The basic answer was yes.

Seemed odd to me. In order to showcase my unique talents and experience, I should create a conforming website that copycats others in my industry? I told her that that sort of bland website made sense for who I am, and the types of things I am normally hired to do. Even other recruiters at her company have remarked that I tend to go way outside the usual boundaries of what a UX person is called in to do. So I’d like a website that reflects that. I’m not going to bland down my website to pretend to be a very corporate person so the big corporations will hire me. I’m not corporate. Recruiters are welcome to send me out for as many potential gigs as possible, but my sweet spot is startups, entrepreneurs, smaller companies, or any company or department with that mindset.

So, what’s up with this website?

The website we’re talking about is the version that’s very blue with a big flower, in case you’re reading this some time down the road when the site has another look. I call it Field of Lillies. Before I built my website, I Googled a lot of people claiming to be UX experts, architects, etc… I don’t think of them as competitors, and they shouldn’t think of me as a competitor. But I wanted to see how they were presenting themselves. Well, if websites are designed to represent what working with someone might be like, I think there are a lot of bland, in-the-box people out there.

It was a universe of *yawn*. Most of the websites I saw were nearly 100% words. Few or no graphics. Nothing creative. Nothing innovative. No real website design. Sure, they had a colour palette, but no real website design, mood, or personality. They were like coloured wireframes. On some of them, the links were mysterious or few. If I had to guess what was “cool” based on the websites I keep seeing, I would say the trends are very few buttons and grey-on-grey. All the websites looked the same to me. I couldn’t tell you any of those people’s personal or business names. I just remember there was a site with a solid brown background. There was a site with a bunch of magenta-coloured boxes with the companies for which that guy did work. And then his “about” was grey words on a grey section on top of a different grey background. Snooze.

I wanted to make sure that my website stood out in a world of grey, darker grey, slightly lighter gray, squares and rectangles, and carbon copies. I have something else to say about where my talent, skill, and expertise are. I wanted a website that was definitely different. Yes, I know it’s a little weird. It has a giant flower… that you can’t avoid or forget. It goes with my name, which I hope you can’t forget. I hope I’ve dropped an anchor with people, and out of the pile of UX websites they see, they might remember “the one with the flower.”

I’m not a traditional UX person. If you’re a really traditional UX person, you may not like my untraditional background and style. If you are hiring for a traditional UX person, especially someone who has done this stuff at Google, famous food and beverage companies, and so on, you’re not going to want someone as outside the box as I am. That works perfectly for all of us. I don’t compete with you, traditional UX, UI, and designer guy. I would never work for the companies you list on your site. The gigs you want don’t want me, and the gigs that hire me didn’t want you. We should be pals. 🙂

The best place for me is exactly where I am: I’m in the Bay Area working with startups and small companies who like someone who can wear a lot of hats. They like someone brimming with feature ideas, marketing ideas, and branding ideas. Someone who doesn’t see the project as starting with a flow chart and ending when someone signs off on a prototype. I like to be part of the concept, and I like to carry it through art direction, even into development and testing.

I’m the go-to UX/UI, branding, marketing, and fresh ideas person for startups and companies looking to think like startups. I’m not a typical UX person. I’m not going to have a typical UX person’s website. The person looking for that same-old UX/UI person’s website with all those tabs, boxes, and words doesn’t want me.

This gives me an idea for a new design for my website. I’ll be sure to blog about it when it’s live. Give me a few weeks to get it cooking…

But to answer my question of what should a UX expert’s website look like? It should look right for the type of person you’re looking for. There’s no right or wrong way. There are traditional ways to showcase a UX architect or designer, but if we all always followed all the traditions, what would UX be? Websites would still be very 1996. I’ve been ahead of curves, out of boxes, and never in a cubicle for 16 years now. I must be doing something right. 🙂