UX Generalists & Specialists

23 May 2009 - 1:38am
5 years ago
4 replies
924 reads
jasonrobb
2009

Hi all,

I'm fairly new to UX/IX design, and I've seen so many people talk
about the benefits/shortcomings of generalists vs. specialists. I had
to take a swing at it, and I think I've cleared up the real issue:

Instead of just asking "which is better" we should be asking
"which is better for our business?"

Too many times the UX civil war seems to revolve around broad skills
or narrow skills, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't matter which
skill set you have. Both are valuable and necessary.

What matters are the circumstances you and your company are in and
what you do to adapt to them and make the best out of them.

I've written a few words (600) about this idea. Hope you'll take a
few minutes to read my full post, and comment here or there:
http://jasonrobb.com/2009/05/22/ux-generalists-specialists/

Thanks a lot, I appreciate you taking the time to read even this. =)

Cheers,

Jason Robb
http://jasonrobb.com
http://uxboston.com
http://twitter.com/jasonrobb

Comments

25 May 2009 - 10:41pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

At the risk of sounding trite, the best to be is a specialist with
general skills. Of course, this assumes that no one can specialise
across the entire area. From experience, I've known professionals be
capable of being world-class experts in different areas of the same
field, but then there are so many areas that can be useful to IxD
that a total mastery may be difficult...

I do agree that circumstances will dictate the requirments of a
person, but then circumstances always change.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=42236

26 May 2009 - 5:32am
AJ Kock
2007

My 2 cents:
Generally speaking, aren't managers generalists and staff specialists?

Managers & generalists needs the broader picture, while staff needs to
focus on the task at hand. So depending on your role in the company,
it will probably determine what you need to be.

Some companies expect generalists because they cannot afford more than
one specialist.

26 May 2009 - 10:30am
Esteban Barahona
2006

i think the issue has to be thought more on a per project basis. this
means that one must go from having a general understanding of the
whole project before even attempting to start making any type of
meaningful contribution to it. then, one divides the work into every
team member%u2019s specialty (and even preference; ie: someone may
know how to code but prefers doing the design)%u2026 and to do this
one must be honest of what every member of the team can (or can do
better) or cann%u2019t do.

it is interesting to note here, that the key is project%u2026 in
italian the word for designer is progettista, because disegno
(pronounced exactly as spanish diseño; but that means design) is
drawing (one form of designing). see, even having some understanding
of other languages help make one%u2019s case (a point for
generalists).

every-thing else is just%u2026 business and branding. even university
careers (the current academia can be sometimes%u2026 frustrating for
those that are self-taught and/or that enjoy learning in %u201Cpure
chaos%u201D) aren%u2019t really optimized for how humans truly
operate: in complex relationships with fellow team-mates; that are
more about projects than about artificial, machine-like, 8 (almost
continous; the machine/industrial civilization has enough mercy to
leave us 1 hour for food and maybe some relaxed not-work-related
socialization) hours per day.

there%u2019s too much context to further make my case, but this post
is getting long. suffice to say that it is just not about design, but
how we have decided to work as a society%u2026 this dilema is only
relevant in the current configuration of human society (we are
getting too complex for our own convenience; for _ sake, most people
don%u2019t even know how to do something simple but extremely useful
as making fire)%u2026 were everyone is specialized; few see the big
picture (hint: it is related to the balance of the natural world
collapsing) and almost non design solutions%u2026 this world is
getting uglier each year (but don%u2019t pay attention to that, says
the machine; what matters is each quarters%u2019 profit%u2026 the
next paycheck; the future of all species be damned); it will be nice
to design a better one.

%u2026Instead of just asking %u201Cwhich is better%u201D we should be
asking %u201Cwhich is healthier? should we even have this discussion
if society was better?%u201D

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=42236

27 May 2009 - 3:21am
Esteban Barahona
2006

esteban.barahona@gmail.com is a dead account, it will send an error message. bodigami@gmail.com is my new main e-mail. this is something that only the true, legitimate owner of esteban.barahona@gmail.com can know... the account was deleted forever.

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