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Unleash Your Inner Unicorn

06b03e8f46b702647fae572f68725ae0?s=47 Matt Baxter
September 06, 2014

Unleash Your Inner Unicorn

Unicorns are considered to be the rare person who can do both design and development. But, why are they considered rare? Because design and development are considered to be separate disciplines.

In this talk, I explore the spectrum of design and development, how designers can be empowered by learning about development, and how developers can be empowered by learning about design.

I gave this talk at the Big Design Conference in Addison, TX on September 6, 2014.


Matt Baxter

September 06, 2014

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    OF Matt Baxter • @mbxtr • September 6, 2014
  2. I’m Matt Baxter @mbxtr

  3. I work at

  4. as a UX Designer

  5. Using design

  6. and development

  7. Just to clarify…

  8. This is not 
 about bronies.

  9. But Seriously, What’s with The Unicorn?

  10. A person who can do both design and development. Unicorn

  11. None
  12. None
  13. Some unicorn facts…

  14. must have their coffee. Unicorns

  15. only eat apples. Unicorns

  16. love playing ping pong. Unicorns

  17. don’t get along 
 with printers. Unicorns

  18. Something you think you know about unicorns…

  19. Unicorns are rare and hard to find.

  20. Unicorns are rare and hard to find. But, why?

  21. We think about design and development as separate disciplines.

  22. http://sixrevisions.com/infographics/web-designers-vs-web-developers-infographic/ Designer Developer vs

  23. Left Right vs

  24. Unicorns are not as rare as you think.

  25. I believe everyone has some unicorn in them.

  26. Specifically… Designers can develop. Developers can design.

  27. !


  29. Remember when this was cool?

  30. None
  31. None
  32. None
  33. None
  34. None
  35. None
  36. None
  37. None
  38. GRiD Compass First clamshell laptop

  39. Xerox PARC Mouse The first mouse

  40. Desktop GUI History Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft

  41. “Few people think about it or are aware of it.

    But there is nothing made by human beings that does not involve a design decision somewhere.” – Bill Moggridge
  42. None
  43. None
  44. But, I still enjoyed development.

  45. Design Development or

  46. Design Development and

  47. the Spectrum

  48. Development Design How We Think

  49. Development Design What We’ve Accepted

  50. Development Design

  51. ??? ???

  52. What crosses the developer boundary? </>

  53. Development is much more than code.

  54. What crosses the designer boundary?

  55. Design is much
 more than pixels.

  56. Reality

  57. Individuals are more complicated than that.

  58. Software is more complicated than that.

  59. Design and development is a spectrum.

  60. The Right Perspective

  61. This sounds familiar…

  62. “Should” is the wrong focus.

  63. The better question is…

  64. How can knowing more about development empower designers?

  65. How can knowing more about design
 empower developers?

  66. “But, if I learn x I’ll get worse at y.”

  67. If your goal is to make great software, learning more

    about the process will only help you.
  68. Tools are the wrong focus.

  69. “Skill in the digital age is confused with mastery of

    digital tools, masking the importance of understanding materials and mastering the elements of form.” – John Maeda former President of RISD and professor at MIT Media Lab
  70. Being a unicorn is more than combining code and pixels.

  71. The true ability of a unicorn: 
 being able to

 design and development.
  72. Understanding Your Job

  73. Titles can be confusing.

  74. I don’t just mean how many there are… UI Developer

    • UX Architect • Information Architect Design Technologist • Visual Designer Back End Developer • Front End Developer Application Developer • Software Architect UX Designer • UI Designer • UI Engineer Web Developer • Interaction Designer • Web Designer
  75. A developer is not just a coder. </>

  76. “I just built what the designer handed to me.” #stuffcoderssay

  77. A designer is not just a pixel pusher.

  78. “I designed it; its not my job to make sure

    it works.” #stuffpixelpusherssay
  79. It’s not enough to just focus on “your” part.

  80. Focus on the
 deliverables product.

  81. This is Bob.

  82. Bob uses apps.

  83. Why does Bob use certain apps?

  84. I use this app because the code is well-written!

  85. I use this app because these pixels are perfect!


  87. I use this app because I can more easily ______.

  88. I use this app because it enables me to ______.

  89. Users only see the final product.

  90. Great software is more than pixels and code.

  91. Everyone’s job is to balance design and technology.

  92. What will the result be?

  93. Compromise Everyone designs Everyone develops It won’t be…

  94. Tension between design and development is good.

  95. None
  96. “Each group, then, is trying to do the right thing,

    but they're pulling in different directions. If any one of those groups 'wins,' we lose.” – Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.
  97. It will be…

  98. Better communication and collaboration

  99. More empathy

  100. Fewer assumptions

  101. Less busy-work

  102. Push limits of technology Estimate development Prototype Designers will

  103. Begin sooner Adapt designs Have less back-and-forth Developers will

  104. How do you begin?

  105. It starts with your process

  106. Typical Process Design Development Time Effort

  107. Better Process Design Development Time Effort

  108. Talk to each other

  109. Educate yourself

  110. Wireframing Typography Usability Developers

  111. HackDesign http://hackdesign.org/

  112. http://practicaltypography.com/

  113. Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

  114. Interactive Prototypes Understand Platforms Learn HTML/CSS Designers

  115. InVision http://invisionapp.com/

  116. Platform Documentation http://developer.apple.com • http://developer.android.com • http://developer.mozilla.com

  117. Treehouse http://teamtreehouse.com

  118. This isn’t rocket science.

  119. Guess how much everyone knew when they started?

  120. None
  121. Do you have to? Nope.

  122. Will it make you better at what you do? Absolutely.

  123. A little bit goes a long way.

  124. It’s not just about learning to code. </>

  125. It’s not just about learning to push pixels.

  126. (But go for it if you find that you enjoy

  127. It’s knowing how to balance design and development.

  128. Unleash Your Inner Unicorn

  129. Questions? @mbxtr