UX specialists are hot commodities

As the digital world shrinks down to a screen the size of your hand, demand for user experience designers explodes.

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That kind of background sits well with IT managers like Masiero, for whom good design goes deeper than rounded corners on icons. "I want you to be a wizard of understanding the mental model of the user and translating that into the behavior of the application. You have to always think about making the user comfortable, about not creating any friction between what the user expects to happen and what the application expects from the user."

"Designers who understand human interaction are one step ahead of everyone else," says Farrugia. "They are rare and precious commodities."

Look for Homegrown UX Talent

With so much riding on the success of mobile apps these days, most companies feel they have to find UX talent in-house instead of waiting for colleges and vocational schools to churn out more graduates with the ideal mix of design and coding sensibilities.

Many are forming multidisciplinary teams because they know it's unlikely they'll find one perfect UX expert. "A designer might not be able to program, but they should be able to have a reasonable conversation with a programmer so they understand the impact of a design decision," says Quesenberry.

Beasley concurs. "A really creative designer may help [the organization] make big leaps to a whole new level of quality. But the quantitative side is just as important," he says. "Designers would do well to get more comfortable with the technical side, to build up those skills and knowledge."

Baldwin is a frequent Computerworld contributor.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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