Yesterday I quit my job at Clearleft to become an independent UX consultant.
I’m going to miss this place. What I’ve loved about Clearleft is that it’s just so different to any other agency I’ve worked at. There’s no company process – everyone’s encouraged to experiment and try different techniques to suit the client’s needs. There’s hardly any internal meetings. I’ve never once had a conversation about my billing efficiency. The focus is on quality, and profitability is almost seen as a by-product. You’re encouraged to share your learnings externally rather than keep them in-house. Everyone’s trusted and given a lot of independence.
I’ve been a UX consultant of some form or other since the early 2000s. Even though I say it myself, I’ve been pretty good at “standard” UX practice for many years. It was working at Clearleft that made me realise that those skills alone are not enough.
Achieving good design for a client takes more than just good design. It’s providing education, therapy and facilitation. It’s about getting a client’s work environment ready so that good ideas have a place to grow and flourish after your project has finished. Your attitude to UX changes when a client hires you to make good UX happen and to see it through, rather than just to turn the handle of a small cog in the machine like user research or prototyping. In Dan Saffer’s Interactions talk last year he joked that UX designers are good at “keeping it vague” and that they focus on the “easy, fun part”. I’m happy that doesn’t apply to me anymore.
So if I’ve got so many good things to say about the company, why am I leaving? It’s simple really. I’ve always wanted to do this – it’s not a sudden change in heart. This is the point in the post that I was expecting to give you a sales pitch and plead “hire me, I’m available!”. In fact since announcing it yesterday afternoon, I’ve already been booked up until July this year
. It’s heartening to know that now I’ve made the jump, the water is warm enough after all. Thanks everyone.