Posted on | September 21, 2010
With UX still taking shape in New Zealand I think we can learn a lot from what’s happening in other centres. Having just returned home to New Zealand from User Experience research contracts in London, I thought I’d share a few observations:
Everyone’s hiring, especially UX recruiters
There are now several recruitment companies who cover or are dedicated to filling UX roles. They seem to be overflowing with work, but there’s still a skills/experience shortage …anyone who’s good is booked.
Boom time for freelancers
UX Agencies are facing stiff competition from lone consultants, especially for Usability and UX research projects, where the short engagements really suit the freelance ‘gun for hire’. Clients are winning as they get all the insights without paying agency rates. My friend Harry elaborates.
Generalists are recognizing their strengths and doing what they do best. Most noticeable here is a split between designers and researchers, with ‘full service’ UX agencies having a pool of each, complementing each other on a typical project.
Some UX people or agencies specialise by content or industry (Social, Retail, Banking etc.) …some by environment (Mobile, Gaming, etc.) As an example, I met with a small team of consultants who run usability studies for IPTV and in-flight entertainment interfaces. … that’s getting really niche!
Financial sector is poaching top UX talent
Some of the strongest consultants have been pulled across into the world of finance and investment banking, specifically working on trading system interfaces where the smallest improvements in efficiency can result in big gains (or losses, depends which way you look at it).
Clients who are veterans of the User Centered approach now have a mature understanding of UX processes, when to use them, how to commission them, what to expect, and how much to pay. The standard ‘5 user’ usability testing study has become relatively commoditised as a result.
UX stops at the screen
Multi-channel customer experience projects are (still) thin on the ground. I put this down to siloed teams client-side and that User Experience is still (arrogantly) ‘owned’ by digital, even within organisations. This has to change, and it might be the emerging Service Design agencies who pull it off.