Here’s my notes from the Big Design Conference’s Alphabet Soup talk put on by Joe Dyer. This is rapid fire note taking during a conference so please forgive my spelling and grammatical errors. Enjoy!


There’s a few different types of people. Those who are very focused. The jack of all trades but the M or generalist is the path of attainment. A lot of these people end up as managers. They work all over the board, changes quickly and very in demand. Currently 15% specialists & 85% generalists. Web designers should do their own HTML/CSS according to 37 Signals. Know your medium.

Hard Skills IA, Visual Design etc
Soft Skills interpersonal, presentation, etc

Hard Skill: Information Architecture is about making things more simple. If you can’t back up your ideas with at least 2 sets of rational, try harder. Three areas to check for information:
JJG’s Visual Vocabulary
Eight shapes Unify
Boxes & Arrows

Hard Skill: Visual Design: skin & look and feel
Smashing Magazine
Method and Craft

Hard Skill: Presentation Layer Coding: HTML, CSS, Javascript
Smashing Magazine
960 Grid System
Andy Osmani

Soft Skills: Presenting
Note & Point

Presentation Zen
Interpersonal Presenter

Soft Skills: Interpersonal Skills
Letting go of the deliverable
Give and receive
Knowledge sharing
Conflict resolution
Office politics
The art of project management – Scott Berkun
FYI For your Improvement

Soft Skill: Planning and time management
Lose the fire helmet
Be early, drive and the bus: Better to lead then follow
When to use which tool
Teaux Deaux

Sharpen one blade at a time and then grow the others. The more you can contribute outside your area the more you can move up the ladder. Most designers according to A List Apart have a degree, a blog, time online 10 years, are often in larger organizations, most are freelancers / self employed (interesting how he skips over that as an option), top 10% are making 6 figures plus

What do UX Managers Do?
Internal: evangelize, network in company, hiring…
External: sales and clients

FYI For your Improvement a guide for development and coaching

Must have an online presence – show a portfolio (It shows you care and are enthused)
Infographic resumes show your passion for design

What managers are looking for:
Good critical thinkers
Good communication
Coding ability
Serious commitment to the UX community
Soft Skills

Ability to think on your feet… even those with awesome portfolios fall flat here…. Can you get up and illustrate you can think on your feet in a second

Barriers to success:
Not asking questions: repeated technical mistakes
Slow skills development stuck in old methods
Working alone too much
Lack of accountability for problems
No prioritizing, scattered, always putting out fires
Overly focused on micro areas of interest

In summary play the odds and be a generalist. Technology changes and be ready to adapt. Sharpen one blade at a time and build then a 6 figure income is completely within your grasp.

Google infographic resume