The Journey to UX Pro Team

All designers are constantly undergoing a process of improvement. The fast paced nature of our industry means we always need to be staying one step ahead of our clients and our competitors. I originally expected that Goldtree was going to evovle to become one of South Africa's biggest UX Design companies. From the humble beginnings of designing business cards to building some of the most popular music industry mogul's digital entities, my career as a solo designer definitely had some high highs.

Alternative Paths

In my solo design efforts, the question that always fell on my conscience was whether I was doing my best to meet growing demands of my diverse portfolio. After all, it is the goal of many to work as few hours in a day as possible. So I had to evaluate a couple of important markers if I was to continue as a solo designer. My areas of focus to help make a decision where primarily financial but also had to do with service contracts and dependance levels

International Companies vs Local Companies

The process of getting awarded design in South Africa is quite amazingly challenging. It is possible but lack of cultural diversity in the decision-making entities of most large corporations makes it very difficult for ethnic solo design individuals wishing to make a mark. It makes it damn near impossible. So the only companies that hired me to do work where in the moderate to low-budget category.


Of my web design clients,100% of local clients them where migrated to CMS. Those remaining where not on maintenance contracts. Also, most of them were already hosting their own websites. All International clients had self-hosted websites with 80% running them on CMS.

Important Questions That Need Answers:

* If I left Goldtree, what will I be expected to do at UX Pro Team?
* Will the immediate and long term of my job be interesting to me?
* Do I like the working with another person?
* Will I happy giving up my solo wings in exchange of the accountability of a partnership?
* Does a dual vision interest me?
* Will I be successful here at UX Pro Team?
* What would prevent me from being successful?

Making the  Decision

It's Been A Long Time Coming

So why did I choose to leave Goldtree and join UX Pro Team? It really came down to the professional opportunity. A better salary. An opportunity to push myself to my true potential limits. The challenges that I will have at UX Pro Team are challenges that interest me. UX Pro Team is primarily about providing a Bespoke UX Design service for:

+ Full UX and Product development for mobile, wearable devices, TVs, vehicle displays and web apps.
+ Building extremely high conversion landing pages and interactive websites.
+ High end corporate branding design that is market researched.

… all over the world.

The opportunity to work on interesting and meaningful problems at such scale is very compelling. This may seem like a contradiction given our struggles with trying to scale Goldtree. But scaling a services business and working on design problems and teams at scale are very different challenges. The former was interesting but the appeal was just not very sustaining to me but the latter is very appealing. The actual act of making the decision was something new, and very personal, for each of me. Since I wouldn't be selling the company but instead would be taking on a new role at Ux Pro Team, I needed to go through some introspection.

I had to evaluate the opportunity through our my criteria of personal, professional and economic factors. I had to anticipate each scenario, so instead, we tried to make decisions that provided the greatest number of options for people. Ultimately, the things I would get to do at UX pro Team, the people I would get to work with, the problems I get to solve were too compelling to say no to.

My decision comes at a time where there is a lot of public worry about the future of stand-alone, independent designers in South Africa and abroad. I don't doubt my decision will be seen as part of an ominous trend in this space. But I think that there is a bright future for independent designers in South Africa and abroad to continue to offer services—it just may not look like it did in the past. After 7 years, I feel that Goldtree has accomplished what I set out to do. And to that extent that I have been part of a larger story about the evolution of our craft and industry, I feel blessed. Thank you to my mates—the designers, developers and those who make amazing things everyday. I would not have made where it not for your support. Thank you to all of the clients that trusted me with the nearly 300 projects I worked on. Most importantly, thank you to my long-term friends who transcended the client-space and become my family when I first stepped on the soil of Durban and have been with me ever since. The words "thank you" don't adequately convey the gratitude I have.

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