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I Don't Believe in Unicorns

I have 28 years of experience in the field of IT. I've been a developer, a web designer, a technical Illustrator, webmaster, front-end developer, an information architect, back to visual/UX designer, UX manager, and back to strictly UX designer again. I am also a certified usability analysis and have worked with and been the soul UX researcher. Oh yeah, my undergrad is in Art. I have yet to meet a true UX Unicon, not even when I look in the mirror.

​​I do not believe unicorns exist and I do not believe the path to UX enlightenment is becoming a unicorn. The Buddhist have a saying. “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”, meaning he is not the Buddha but only your idea of perfection. If you meet a UX unicorn on the road, they are most likely not the perfect UX professional you think they are. Kill your idea of the perfect UX designer.

If I were the hiring manager, I would be very concerned about hiring this person. One individual can not possibly do justice to all of these roles. Writing code is a perishable skill. You must keep learning and keep doing it to maintain your skills. Same with visual design. Styles and trends change. I love UX, and there is enormous value in it for an organization that is willing to practice it without blurring the lines. Which means hiring people that are focused on their craft.

An artist often spends their life perfecting their art, and they almost always stick with one medium. They are called "The Masters" for a good reason. They have mastered their craft.

I strongly encourage you to pick your medium; research, interaction design, visual design, content strategy, information architecture, or fill in the blank. Embrace it, love it, hate it, but perfect your craft.

Plunge headlong into difficult possibilities.

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