This is something I’d started to learn at the end of my “freelancing career” for lack of a better term, and it has only been reinforced since I started working for a company.
Obviously that’s not the case any more. Even when building the small informational sites I was doing, there were so many ever-changing facets to the process, that it was very hard to keep up. The explosion of mobile web browsing added an enormous new layer of complexity. A single person just can no longer be expert at all of the necessary aspects of web development.
One year later
At work I’m involved in building a mobile web application. We had gotten a lot of pieces in place, and it was basically functional. At this point the company brought in a UX consultant to give some thought to the flows for the app and give the UI some much-needed polish. Before he started, I was thinking “Ack…do we really need this guy…can’t we just do it ourselves?” (I now realize I have this initial reaction to a lot of things). The answer is No. Or, Yes, but it would have been much more difficult and probably much less successful.
Of course it remains to be seen whether the app will be a success regardless, but bringing in an outside consultant has given us:
- Obviously, a ton of expertise we didn’t have in-house in our small development group, especially around mobile design and usage.
- An outside voice that can challenge people when necessary. He has inherent authority because the company hired him specifically for his advice.
- Time. We (pardon my horrible corporate jargon) just didn’t have the bandwidth to put the thought and effort into the UX/UI that this mobile project deserves.