Category Archives: UX & Design

Where Are They Now? Kate Zasada

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Kate Zasada headshot

Meet Kate Zasada, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 12-week User Experience Design course. She’s come a long way in the nine months since she first started learning at GA, and has quite a bit to show for it, including a new job at Shapeways, the world’s leading 3D printing marketplace and community. Mollie McCormick, General Assembly

Name: Kate Zasada (@kzasada)
Occupation: Product Manager, Shapeways

1. Did you have a specific moment when you decided that you wanted to do user experience (UX) design?

I was feeling a little lost in my career and took a bunch of classes across a wide array of disciplines at General Assembly (GA). One Sunday morning, I decided to take a half-day UX design workshop. I remember it being 8 am, raining, and just really crappy outside — but I was on the edge of my seat with excitement. I thought, “What we’re discussing is jiving 100% with how I feel, these people understand me! This is what I should be doing with my life.”

2. How did learning UX design help you in your career?

Even though my title isn’t “UX designer,” I am doing more UX design as part of my job as Product Manager (PM) at Shapeways. After all, many decisions PMs make directly influence a product’s UX. Like the UX and Interaction Designers I work with, I also ask myself “What do our users want?”, then work with my team to create solutions to address their needs.

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Getting to Know You: Elaine Ann

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Current Role: President/CEO at Kaizor Innovation, Instructor for User Experience Design at GA
Twitter: @kaizorBUZZ
Personal website: www.kaizor.com

1. When did you first get into UX design?

I’ve been a designer for 18 years. I first started learning about “UX” when I was still studying at Carnegie Mellon in the early 90’s. The term UX actually did not even exist back then. It was called GUI (Graphical User Interface) or just Interface Design. Those were the days when Photoshop only had one layer and the first websites were gray background with a huge jpeg on Mosaic browsers. (Post 80’s and 90’s won’t know what I’m talking about!)

2. What is “UX”?

User Experience means many things to many people even among industry practitioners. Some people understand User Experience as web interfaces, however UX is really much wider than that. The scope of UX can be every single interaction the user has with a company. In my view, UX is actually a work process and cultural change in organizations that focuses on the end-user.

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What Is: User Experience Design

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BlogImage_LukeMiller (1)Name: Luke Miller (@younglucas)

Occupation: UXDI Instructor, General Assembly

1. In 140 characters or less, what is user experience (UX) design?

UXD shapes how you feel while interacting with something. It is shaped by the look, language and feedback of a system across platforms.

2. If a website were a ______, UX design would be ______?

I like this breakfast cereal metaphor.

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How to Get Started In UX Design in 5 Simple Steps

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Keep your goals in sight. You’ve made your resolutions — we want to help you keep them (at least the ones that aren’t food related). That’s why we’ve put together five simple things you can do to get started in User Experience Design.

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Required Reading: Jacob Cohen

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Name: Jacob Cohen
Classes Taught: Naming Essentials, Innovating with the Business Model Canvas

Jacob’s history with computers began in 1984 with a diploma for “computer excellence” from Ronald Reagan, a document held in low regard by his tech-savvy but liberal Oregon family. Over the course of his career his focus has been on creating and designing engaging experiences for users using innovative technology. He loves technologies that make life more convenient and improve communication. Over the last 12 years he’s developed a talent for building teams of designers and developers driven by a focused strategy and pushing the boundaries of technology.

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Required Reading: Paul Canetti

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Name: Paul Canetti
Class Taught: Apps Unlocked, Crafting Tablet Magazines, Deconstructing iOS Interface Design, Online Advertising Ecosystem, Mobile/Tablet Advertising Ecosystem

Paul Canetti is the founder and CEO of MAZ, a publishing platform for tablet and mobile devices. Paul previously worked as a designer and instructor at Apple and Condé Nast, and as the Creative Director of an app development firm. These experiences have shaped his understanding of the important intersection of content, design and technology.

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Technically Speaking: APIs

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Every day, we see content and data that comes from one source re-purposed into another. An API (Application Programming Interface) is a method for web apps, mobile apps, and websites to communicate with each other. Open APIs use a simple request/response model: a request is sent to an application, that request gets evaluated, and then the server sends a response back to the original sender.

Perhaps most importantly, APIs help to create a seamless user experience. A popular example is Facebook Connect, where signing into Facebook means you’re already authenticated when you sign up on other websites using their API. In this way, APIs are crucial for promoting conversations, integration, and sharing. And though tech giants like eBay and Amazon were among the first to use them, today even brands (e.g. ESPN, AmEx) and many startups (e.g. foursquare, Foodspotting) develop their own.

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