Consulting? Agenting? What?

From my perspective, If i had to say 2013 was the year of anything, it was the year that agencies tried to get a little more consultancy-like.12
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  1. This post, even moreso than any others i may have written up to this point, is purely my opinion and thus potentially full of what readers might perceive to be crap. Just an FYI for you. []
  2. Consulting firms may have made moves towards being more agency-like, too; but I have less insight into that, so let’s just put that aside for now! []

Resurgence of the Long Form on the Web

It started with lists. “Everyone loves lists,” was a pretty common refrain. Pretty soon every damn website was creating 10 X that you Y lists. Buzzfeed was (still is) the king of that game, and became the first enormous source of “click-bait.”1

These short, easily consumed items are like the Pringles of digital content and the rise in popularity makes a lot of sense from a sociocultural standpoint. Now that we have the internet at our fingertips at almost every waking moment, content consumption has become a game of instant gratification. Immediacy is the new black.

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  1. In defense of Buzzfeed, they always have lists on single pages—none of that click-through nonsense—and have always included more in-depth content, it just never got the same traction as, say “30 happiest animal couples.” []

Get Yer Pens Out

For my first post, I wanted to tackle a subject that I’ve been thinking about for some time now: writing skills as a job requirement for UX professionals.

There has been a lot of discussion about the UX skillset—what it is, what it should be, and what it doesn’t necessarily need to be but might be nice to include. However, these discussions tend to revolve whether UX folks need to be able to code or create comp-level visual mockups. While worth debating, these issues won’t really affect most people’s day-to-day lives.  If you’re an employed UX designer who can’t code, you’re fine; just don’t apply for jobs whose requirements include creating interactive prototypes (duh).

However, you’ll be very hard-pressed to find a UX gig that doesn’t require you to create documentation of some sort, most likely with fairly extensive written specifications.1 So what does this all mean? Basically, if you’re the business of creating these specification documents, you have to ensure that they’ll be understood by those tasked with taking your specs and transforming them into live products.
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  1. The ‘Lean UX’ movement/process seems to be an exception to this, but I’ve never experienced a process like this, so I can’t really comment on its prevalence—or efficacy.  Check out Jeff Gothelf’s article on the subject here: http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2011/03/07/lean-ux-getting-out-of-the-deliverables-business/  []