Category Archives: UX & Design

This Sydney UX Designer’s Advice Will Inspire You to Change Careers

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General Assembly Classroom StudentsAs the tech sector continues to top employment charts with the highest number of job openings, you may be wondering how you can land one for yourself. Many people leverage web development and data science skills to transition into a tech career. But in this high-demand, highly competitive field, user experience (UX) design know-how can be a powerful asset, too. In the past five years alone, jobs requiring UX skills increased by 15% with an average advertised salary of $99,177, according to a report by GA and Burning Glass Technologies. The UX industry is exploding.

Wondering how top pros enter the field and navigate the UX universe? Here’s what Damian Norton, a Sydney-based UX/UI designer at Qantas, had to say:

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Inside The Mind Of The Designer

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UX Design Career Change

How do user experience (UX) designers think? What does the thought process look like from initial challenge to user-friendly solution? What if you could just peek inside the brain of a UX designer and watch the gears turn?

Join us for a Design In Motion panel event happening at your local General Assembly campus. Until the end of June, we’ll gather the leading minds of UX and product design to discuss design strategy. You’ll be able to see the design thinking process in action as industry experts walk through the design challenge they’ve been tasked with—whether it’s revamping a flight search app or thinking up a genius digital experience for the Rio Olympics.

We asked some our guests from a wide range of backgrounds about their unique paths to building memorable experiences, where they find design inspiration, and what advice they’d offer to aspiring designers.

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Why Design Thinking Matters

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Design thinking at work

Design thinking isn’t just about the visual outcome of a product. Rather, it’s a method of creatively and practically solving problems that keeps the user top of mind. Understanding the user’s wants and needs allows us to make more accurate decisions during the inspiration, production, and iteration phases of building a product. The outcome, hopefully, is intuitive products and services that actually improve users’ lives.

I spoke with Maya Weinstein, Sr. Designer at IBM Watson, about her thoughts on the design thinking method.

In your own words, what is IBM design thinking?

Design thinking has existed in some form for the past 20 years. What makes IBM Design Thinking unique is scale. IBM is a massive company and this is the first time design thinking is being implemented at a company of this size with this degree of training. We have an entire division, the IBM Design Education, whose sole focus is to train the entirety of IBM on the practice of Design Thinking. By training engineers, product managers, marketers, and executives on how to think like a designer, we are able to bring design thinking to a mass corporate level. This is design thinking in a company at scale.

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What UX Designers and Web Developers Make in Major U.S. Markets

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UX designers and web developers salaries

You did it! You nailed your interview and you’re feeling great. But then, right when you least expect it, the recruiter finishes up the conversation with the dreaded questions, “So how much are you looking for?”

This question is awkward and even worrisome for a job seeker, particularly if you haven’t done your homework. However, here’s the good news! When you do take the time to do the research and know your worth, it can help you answer this question with ease.

In this article, we’ll take a look at average UX designers’ and web developers’ salaries in major job markets and at varying career levels. Please use this article to further your own research and help you better understand the market but know that this by no means a definitive or all-encompassing list.

The ranges and averages throughout the article were determined based on a compilation of information from Payscale.com, Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, Simplyhired.com and information from current practitioners.

Now, let’s take a comprehensive look at average salaries and the varying salary ranges of UX practitioners and web developers in some of the hottest tech markets in the United States. We’ll take a look at each tech hub and then break down the numbers from there.

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Which UX Career Is Right for You?

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If you have ever done a quick job search for “user experience design,” chances are you’ve seen a number of titles and descriptions that aren’t always as simple as “UX designer.”

User experience has a variety of specializations, and as a job seeker and practitioner, you should know the skills and applications that come with each. Understanding these differences will help you decide which area of UX is right for you and help you find the appropriate job to fit your interests and skill set.

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The 6 Essential Tools for Every UX Designer

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UX

It can be extremely intimidating to any UX designer, particularly someone just starting out, to navigate the overcrowded world of design tools. There seems to be a tool for everything from user research to wireframing to prototyping.

So how do you know which tools to learn or least familiarize yourself with? Fear not! Below we’ve broken down some of the top industry tools for a variety of contexts and workflows. While this is not a comprehensive list, it will give newbies a sense of some industry musts, while providing some further suggestions for the more seasoned designers among us.

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The Trick to Great UX: Understanding Your True Customer Journey

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great_UX

A vital part of creating a great user experience (UX) is thinking about what we call the “customer journey.” The customer journey is exactly what it sounds like: the journey your customer makes. For instance, if your product is a toothbrush, you would typically look at the customer journey as buying and using the toothbrush. You then design the experience to match up perfectly with that journey, solving each problem along the way, and the end result feels like magic!

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From Electronic DJ to Systems Architect for NASA: How One Alum is Crafting Her Dream Career

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General Assembly alumni Jade
Jade Johnson is a recent grad of User Experience Design Immersive at General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus, where she met “a crew of like-minded thinkers.” After graduating from GA, she briefly worked for NASA as a systems architect. Now, she is living in Berlin and pursuing her career in UX Design. Jade’s love for user experience has helped her build a rewarding career around her artist lifestyle.
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Students Help Beer App Barly Find a Smooth Finish

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Craft beer rating app, Barly, recently released new features that shift the focus from simple ratings to smart recommendations that learn your taste in beer over time. The founding team at Barly started as a group of musicians who appreciate a frosty beverage, but after one fateful round of drinks, they realized that most beer menus are hard to decipher for the casual beer drinker. Nick Norton, Craig Vermeyen, Mike Weil, and Hunter Knight moved quickly to create an app, sourcing expertise to get their idea off the ground, including help from UXDI students at General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus.

Students in the User Experience Design Immersive work on client projects as part of the curriculum to gain real world experience using their new skills. Aaron Barnes, Samantha Burke, and Ken Sugai were assigned to work with the app.

For Barly CEO Nick Norton, it was an easy decision to go with the students at General Assembly. “They were great. Sam, Aaron, and Ken put in so much work over a short period, and were clearly excited to be working on this project,” he said.

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An Artist’s Journey with Code

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Matthew Epler is a creative technologist based in Brooklyn, NY.

Matthew Epler is a creative technologist specializing in creating one-of-a-kind interactive projects with an emphasis on the Internet of Things. 

His work, which blends digital and physical design practices with computer programming, has been featured in museums and a variety of media outlets around the world including The Milan Triennale Museum of Design, mudac Lausanne, and on Wired, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Reuters, Vice, and Creative Applications.

Some of his most well-known pieces include the Netflix Switch, Levi’s Station to Station, Grand Old Party, and Big Bats

Matthew describes himself as a designer who can code, and a coder who can work with his hands. Read on to see how learning to code transformed his passion for art and film into a thriving career in creative technology. Continue reading