Hey, know any good Architect-Mason types?

Almost every other week I hear from someone in my network looking for a “good UI people”. So this article on the Zurb blog resonated with me. Clearly UI skills are in high demand and “good” ones are particularly hard to find. Why? The Zurb blog article acknowledges that the answers are not simple and goes on to get a perspective from people in the industry. Here is how I see it.

Usually, when someone approaches me looking for a “UI” person, what they are invariably looking for is someone with both User Experience (UX)/Interaction design skills *and* someone who can also implement the design using the latest tools of the trade such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and the rest.

The issue is that these are two different skills and I often find people looking for both those skill sets bundled into one individual. It makes me wonder whether the requester gets it. Besides ignorance, the prevailing train of thought is that these are related skills that could be squeezed into one job req thereby saving costs. This is sort of like looking for architect who might also be a mason or perhaps a landscape designer who is also a gardener.

Individual talent that spans both design and implementation certainly exists but can be hard to come by. It might also not produce the results you ultimately desire. The problem is that UX/design is a skill that – at least in my opinion, typically requires a bit more experience and maturity. Here you need someone with the ability to understand the overall context, business objectives, and then put themselves in the shoes of the users to create a design comprising the appropriate information architecture coupled with an intuitive interaction paradigm. Once you have the design, getting someone with the skills to implement it, is not as hard a problem. Don’t get me wrong, the implementation requires skill as well but it is a different skill set.

What do you guys think?

BTW – I am looking forward to the directory of designers that Y-Combinator is apparently compiling. Been more than a year and but still no signs of it. Much needed.

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