Ux It Right

As you embark on your opportunity-hunting spree equipped with your various professional tools, I thought this might be useful.  Several conversations have had me dancing between the positions of pimping yourself as a Freelancer versus a Full-Time Jobseeker?

Now, if you are short on time as I am sure you all are..


I’ll summarise my view here and then put you through the pain of reading further details below.

Just as a fully furnished apartment is appealing to a prospective buyer, employers are attracted to professionals who are busy.

And what this translates to is that whether you call yourself a freelancer, consultant, contractor, or serial project undertaker – it’s less consequential of what name you give yourself over what you actually do. And what you do is Surprise and Delight Users.

Yes you do lots of other things, bringing ingenuity and innovation in your work and much more.  But the point of the matter is that you put your user at the core.  And crucially, you treat any project whether commissioned directly by a client, dictated to you by your future boss, or asked to help out from a mate – with the same energy and integrity that you would bring to your own venture.

@dizzypaty found a great read on a related topic of Side Projects here

With this in mind, and to wholly contradict myself, there are of course circumstances where positioning yourself as a a full-time job seeker (over a freelancer) might make sense.  For example you may have been in gainful employment right up until the GA course.  Today (as opposed to tomorrow, you may not be prepared or believe that you can craft your GA projects to build a strong enough portfolio to warrant a UX Designer website under Your Brand name.  You might be committed to joining the GA apprentice scheme (and perhaps already locked something in).  And as it is relatively a short gap (12 weeks) since your last job, you are going to simply throw yourself head first into your new future job.  And specifically because:

You Know What you Want.

Judging from the work of your cohort, I think all of you have demonstrated an capacity to build compelling online portfolios, and they will only get stronger as your UX careers progress.  Most importantly (and as a disclaimer so I am off the hook) – you should do what feels right for you.

Case in point, Frenchman Phillip Dubost decided to take matters in to his own hand with this little stunt of personal branding.

A quick note on T-shapers.  There are skills you posses in order to call yourself a UX designer (the crossbar of the T) but those other unique skills you bring to the table can give you that extra edge (the stem of the T).  What’s important is that you find the right way, the suitable tone, and the fitting context to highlight your versatility.

And to come full circle, as Charles Handy predicted in 1989 in the The Age of Unreason, it is almost certain you will continue to have a portfolio-based career.  For you, building and continually refining your presence online is no longer a nice to have.

So on that note…Go Get Em’!

Here is a {Work in Progress} list of pretty cool & award-winning companies to check:

Service Design + Innovation

Common Ground
The Partners

Digital + Creative 

Analog Folk
Big Spaceship
BIO Agency
Great Fridays
Lowe Profero
Reading Room
Saturday Group
Signal Noise
The Upside
Tribal DDB
We are Friday
Wolff Olins