Where in the world are the great user interface developers? – Part III, The Conclusions

1. Hire a person that loves to create and program user interfaces.

The ones that “will do it”, “can do it” and “might do it” are not the ones that produce “it”.

Explicitly validate their love during the interview, as most people find it harder to lie when they answer a direct question.

  • “Do you love to program UI?”
  • “Wouldn’t you be bored  of debugging CSS bugs in IE  24 hours a day ?”
  • “Do you use tooltips to remember the names of your kids?”

2. Get a great programmer.

No big surprise here except one – maintain all your regular expectations from your best kernel master.

Look for a developer that understands how UI frameworks work, remembers  binary search and grasp how networking  is a part of the web.

A prior knowledge in UI is a plus, but isn’t mandatory. Core capabilities are the key.

Some representative tasks :

  • “Analyze MonoRail and compare it to WebForms”.
  • “Make sure our website loads quickly over WAN , although the IE team thinks HTTP pipelining is a risky technology.”
  • “Make sure we have a single method for error reporting”

3. Outsource wisely.

Hire excellent usability experts and graphic artists. If needed , augment them with Flash gurus and CSS wizards.

For a start-up you probably don’t have full time positions for these people anyway. For a big organization you should try and get them in-house. However, it is hard to convince the great ones to work in a big corporate with more than 3 employees.

4. Choose people who posses extremely high aesthetic qualities.

No, they don’t have to look like Top Models. They don’t even need to be able to draw a straight line.

God knows my drawing skills reached their prime in kindergarten.


Actually, I was almost thrown out of the army’s officers course, because the psychological screening suggested my image of a house is seriously flawed.

Still, I can be quite obsessive to get others to make it look good. In my younger days I opened  a few bugs over a one pixel misalignment in a firewall dialog box. I did apologize to the programmer before doing so…

5. Pay them accordingly.

If you think UI is as important as the rest of your system, put your money behind it.

BTW, it is probably the most important part of your system.


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2 Responses to “Where in the world are the great user interface developers? – Part III, The Conclusions”

  1. Neuf Says:

    Maybe I should go back to UI programming?
    I love tooltips! 🙂

  2. idosius Says:

    Nice series of posts. It’s interesting how the QA field suffers from similar problems and a real shame that UI developers are frowned upon. For me it’s an amazing field where you get to combine your knowledge of people and technology together. Not to mention that unlike low level code it’s something you can actually show people.

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