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Unicorns are made, not born

F8c11ed34857ab2344451d22107d6686?s=47 Elea Chang
September 16, 2015

Unicorns are made, not born

Talk given at Refresh Portland.

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Over the years, the internet has had many a debate over unicorns, aka designers that code. In what capacity do they exist? Should more people try to become unicorns? What does it take to be a designer/developer?

Despite what the descriptor might imply, being a unicorn isn’t magic – it’s work. Whether you’re starting a career in design, already designing and coding all the time, or hiring, you’ll have to make decisions about what to prioritize. So rather than perpetuating unicorn myths, let’s talk about what it’s like to jump between two disciplines and what makes one designer better than another.

F8c11ed34857ab2344451d22107d6686?s=128

Elea Chang

September 16, 2015
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Transcript

  1. Photo via EFF on Flickr UNICORNS ARE @eleaɾRefresh Portland made

    NOT BORN truths of designers/ developers
  2. 2005 you need a hybrid designer/developer!

  3. None
  4. The Ideal Web Team (via andybudd.com)

  5. 2005 2010 UNICORN

  6. None
  7. Duty Calls (via xkcd)

  8. 10 CLARIFICATIONS ABOUT DESIGNER/ DEVELOPERS

  9. unicorns ≠ half designer, half developer 1

  10. unicorns ≠ half designer, half developer designers first and foremost

    1
  11. DESIGN ENGINEERING

  12. DESIGN

  13. there is no such thing as a “true unicorn” 2

  14. None
  15. 3 you need a dash of opportunity and lots of

    time
  16. YOU 3 you need a dash of opportunity and lots

    of time COMPANY
  17. LEARNING FUND ideal resources MENTOR SMALL PROJECTS

  18. tutorials bootcamps workshops conferences books LEARNING FUND

  19. LEARNING FUND MENTOR SMALL PROJECTS ideal resources

  20. there will be tradeoffs 4

  21. there will be tradeoffs 4 you have a finite amount

    of attention and time
  22. not all skills are valued equally 5

  23. UX UI VISUAL HTML/CSS? JAVASCRIPT?

  24. doing design & dev ≠ more power at work 6

  25. doing design & dev ≠ more power at work 6

    AUTONOMY MOBILITY SALARY
  26. your medium has technical and human constraints 7

  27. your medium has technical and human constraints 7 neither of

    which require coding knowledge
  28. you can’t optimize ux without functional prototypes 8

  29. learning how to code ≠ becoming a better designer 9

  30. calling designer/ developers “unicorns” has connotations 10

  31. #NOMOREUNICORNS 10 calling designer/ developers “unicorns” has connotations

  32. Forge your own path ✓ learn new things if you

    want to ✓ respect design and dev as disciplines of their own
  33. ✓ use your skills to solve problems Forge your own

    path
  34. What if we end the debate & embrace diversity in

    design?
  35. THANK YOU! @elea