Friday, June 15, 2007

Why is it so hard to find a good "User Information Architect"?

As the bootstrapping founder of a web 2.0 startup, the single most important - and difficult to find - skill for me is the web User Information Architect. Not quite UI design, and definitely not graphic design, a UI architect is a human-computer-browser interaction expert and highly experienced and skilled at both layout and transitions.

Many of my fellow entrepreneurs seem to share my predicament. They tell me how they hire 3 different people:
- the first one to do the UI storyboards (in Visio or some graphic tool, or even paper);
- a second person who converts it to HTML, changing where needed to see what's really possible in HTML, finding appropriate tools/controls for combos, etc., but adding hard-coded links to show page transitions; and
- the third, to convert remove the hard-coded links from HTML before implementing JSP.

In the last 8 years, I have personally found only one person really skilled and able to do it all in HTML/JSP, with phenomenal productivity (about 3 times more productive than all the three combined). Yet, he seems to be charging the same as the first one who only does storyboarding. In sum, he's a huge bargain, given how talented and productive he is. But ... he's also very busy.

So, I'm always in a dilemma- should I find someone else to do my UI? And then the harder question- can I find someone I can afford who is equally good? So far, the answer has been a resounding 'No'.

Why are good UI architects so rare?

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Is the world upside down?

Is the world upside down?
It's a topsy-turvy world out there!