Andy Budd's perfectly pitched riposte to Ryan Carson's "UX is bullshit" claims

 by Martin Belam, 6 September 2010

If you read anything much on the web about the field of UX, you will struggle to have missed the heated debate sparked by Ryan Carson's blog post at the weekend, saying that you didn't need UX professionals to make digital services. There's no little irony for me here in that the only time I've ever reviewed one of Ryan's products on currybetdotnet - the Future Of Web Design conference iPhone app - it was to point out that the app was missing one crucial user-centred use case.

Fortunately, though, I don't have write a full riposte because Andy Budd has already written a carefully nuanced post in reply. It is worth reading in full, but my favourite section is:

"I think the reason Ryan thinks that ''UX professional' is a bullshit job title' designed to 'over-charge naive clients' is because he's never actually been in the position to need one. If you look at Ryans' background, he worked for agencies in the late nineties and early noughties when the field of user experience was still in it's infancy. As such I suspect that he's never worked with a team of dedicated UX people.

In more recent years Ryan has become a conference organiser and content publisher, producing relatively straightforward websites which really don't need a dedicated UX person. He's also dabbled as a start-up entrepreneur, although sadly none have been a huge commercial success as of yet."


...or as Cennydd put it even more succinctly on Twitter: "Everyone should know how to cook; so why have chefs?"

@dcjarvis disagrees: "didn't think the riposte was perfectly pitched at all. Thought it was snidey and self serving, just like the original post!"

"A web site or web app should not be the result of a production line of people."

Ryan Carson has a point. I think he's coming from the angle that too many web design businesses rip off their clients. I know - I contract as a web developer for a company who outsourced their website design to the tune of $50k. I know there would have been less than $15k worth of true effort.

But it's also relative - that is, a web project with extensive requirements and needs might indeed take a team of developers as it's beyond just one person.

Still, I'm siding with Carson (just).

Keep up to date on my new blog