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Adventures in Unicornism: Should Designers Learn to Code?

  • Tuesday, July 13, 2021
  • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Virtual (Zoom)


Should designers learn to code? An age-old question, and everyone has their perspective. Everett McKay believes this is a complex question with a simple summary: it depends, but probably not. However, what if you are a UXer who already knows how to code?

Everett has worked on three projects in the last two years where coding skills turned out to be essential to their success. He has found that programming your own designs can be a real game changer for doing quality work efficiently with tight budgets and schedules, plus keeping technical and design debt low. For some projects, delivering working code is much better than delivering pixels.

Join us as we explore the pros and cons of being a UX designer coding in the context of real projects, plus how having coding skills might affect your career path.

PS: In case you are worried, Everett McKay never refers to himself as a Unicorn. Ever.

Speaker: Everett McKay

Everett McKay is Principal of UX Design Edge and a UX design consultant and trainer with global clientele that includes Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and Africa. Everett's specialty is finding practical, intuitive, simple, highly usable solutions quickly for web, mobile, and desktop applications. Everett has over 30 years' experience in user interface design—and even more programming UIs.

Everett is the author of "Intuitive Design: Eight Steps to an Intuitive UI", the definitive guide to designing intuitive interactions, and "UI Is Communication: How to Design Intuitive, User Centered Interfaces by Focusing on Effective Communication", a groundbreaking approach to UI design using human communication-based principles and techniques. While at Microsoft, Everett wrote the Windows UX Guidelines for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Everett holds a master's degree in computer science from MIT.


6:00 - 6:15 p.m., Introduction and UXPA Updates
6:15 - 7:15 p.m., Presentation
7:15 - 7:30 p.m., Q&A and Closing

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