Friday, August 19, 2011

Unicorns, Hedgehogs and Foxes: Which are You?

There's a great post by Jeff Gothelf on the roles UX people play: Unicorn: a Visual Designer with UX Chops. It's earned a long and thoughtful string of comments.

My take on it: As engagement architects, user experience consultants, and customer experience practitioners, we share core skills and deliverables, and we bring our own extra bonus knowledge. People can be unicorns; they can also be hedgehogs or foxes.

In my case, I'm a little of each -- a UX and CX lead who is originally a communicator. I worked as a newspaper reporter in the dark years before Senator Gore invented the internet, and the years I spent asking questions, synthesizing information, writing it down, and making sure I got it right is pretty much the foundation skill set of #UX and #CX -- plus boxes and arrows, which I learned working for Seth Godin's startup, Yoyodyne, back during the late 20th century.

For others, coding, visual design, marketing or project management are the deep competencies they bring along with their #UX and #CX skills.

Shorter: Where you stand depends on where you sit.

In the future, I see the creative hierarchy looking like this:

Experience Director / Engagement Architect
o UX director / UX staff
o Art director / production artists
o Content strategy director / editorial staff
o Marketing Director / Online marketing team

On any given project, these hats all need to be worn by someone, but people can wear more than one hat.

These are my UX skills and capabilities; what are yours?


The internet was originally a government program, and Senator Gore supported it. He began to craft the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991 (commonly referred to as "The Gore Bill") after hearing the 1988 report toward a National Research Network submitted to Congress by a group chaired by Leonard Kleinrock, professor of computer science at UCLA. The bill was passed on December 9, 1991 and led to the National Information Infrastructure (NII) which Al Gore called the "information superhighway".

Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn have noted:
When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.[3]

1 comment:

  1. Laurie is the real deal! I love to hear her early UX/CX pioneer war stories when she working with Seth Godin. My firm ISM continues to partner with Laurie and have found her to be more than a Unicorn, Fox and Hedgehog. I recently presented 1 year results from the first web project we worked on with Laurie. Conversions increased 73% over the previous site. By mapping user personas based on the facility type they were in we were able to provide a hyper targeted experience.