UX & Design Category Archives - General Assembly Blog | Page 2

5 Ways to Inspire Your Design Teams

By

2018 99u Conference General Assembly

Tyler Hartrich, faculty lead for General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive course, leads a session at the 2018 99u Conference. Photos by Craig Samoviski.

As design educators, we at General Assembly prepare students for their careers — but how can we ensure designers continue to grow their skills beyond the classroom? Industry-leading work emerges from teams that persistently enrich themselves by fostering new skill sets and perspectives. But between deadlines, client fire drills, and day-to-day trivialities, a focus on growth can often be put on the back burner. In the long-term, this can result in uninspired designers who don’t grow to their full potential, and teams that opt for the easy way out instead of taking on risks, challenges, and explorations that drive innovation.

When Adobe approached General Assembly about leading a session at the 99u Conference — an annual gathering for creative professionals to share ideas and get inspired to help shape the future of the industry — we knew it would be a great opportunity to guide leaders in creating natural spaces for learning within their teams and workflows.

In our sold-out session “Onboard, Engage, Energize: Tactics for Inspiring a Crack Design Team,” Tyler Hartrich, faculty lead of GA’s full-time User Experience Design Immersive course, and Adi Hanash, GA’s former head of Advanced Skills Academies, shared insights on how directors and managers can structure spaces for learning within their teams, and encourage new approaches to problem-solving. The presentation was developed in collaboration with Senior Instructional Designer Eric Newman and me, GA’s director of product design.

At the event, we outlined the following five ways leaders can encourage their teams (and themselves) to keep learning and improving throughout their careers, including an exercise to spur creativity, reflection, and action. Read on to learn more, and find out how you can perform the exercise with your own team.

Continue reading

The Best Prototyping Tools for UX Designers in 2018

By

Best Prototyping Tools 2018After synthesizing user research and thoroughly uncovering problems to solve, user experience (UX) designers begin their design by ideating on a number of solutions. This is where the creative magic happens! Designers sketch to explore many workable solutions to user problems, then narrow them down to the strongest concept. Using that concept, the next step is creating a workable prototype that can be tested for viability against the user’s goals and business needs.

Continue reading

Don’t Frustrate Users With Gaps in Your Product Experience

By

There are countless steps where the product experience can break down.

There are countless steps where the product experience can break down.

There are countless steps where the product experience can break down. Have you ever been waiting at the corner for a ride-sharing pickup, and while the app swears the driver is right there, there is no car in sight? Or how about seamlessly ordering groceries in an app, then waiting well past the delivery window with no sign of your avocados? Ever called customer service by phone to learn they have no record of the two detailed chats you had with online agents about your issue? We’ve all been there.

As consumers who increasingly rely on technology to help us wrangle a vast range of goods and services, we’ve all experienced pain points when really good software doesn’t equate a really good experience. All too often, there’s a breakdown that occurs outside product screens, when a product or process hits the reality of the human experience or a user fails.

Take a peek at the diagram above, which charts the various user touch points that can occur with your brand in a product experience loop. Users interact with a product through many different channels and modes of communication, and bridging the gaps between them is essential to your product’s success. If you present users with a custom call to action in a social media ad, your customer service teams must be ready to respond. If you build an offer email that is redeemable at a brick-and-mortar retail location, the cashier will need tools to redeem it.

Continue reading

How Blending Lean, Agile, and Design Thinking Will Transform Your Team

By

Lean vs Agile vs Design Thinking Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf’s new book, Lean vs. Agile vs. Design Thinking

The following is an adapted excerpt from Lean vs. Agile vs. Design Thinking by designer, team leader, and business coach Jeff Gothelf.

In 2016, I was preparing with clients for an upcoming training workshop focused on coaching a cross-functional team of designers, software engineers, product managers, and business stakeholders on integrating product discovery practices into their delivery cadences. During our conversation, my client said to me, “Our tech teams are learning Agile. Our product teams are learning Lean, and our design teams are learning Design Thinking. Which one is right?”

The client found the different disciplines at odds because these seemingly complementary practices forced each discipline into different cadences, with different practices and vocabularies targeting different measures of success.

The engineering teams, using Agile, were focused on shipping bug-free code in regular release cycles (many teams call these “sprints”). Their ultimate goal was an increased velocity — the quantity of code they could ship in each sprint. Product managers, using Lean, were most interested in driving efficiency, quality, and reduction of waste through tactical backlog prioritization and grooming techniques.

Continue reading

Making It in UX: New User Experience Designers Share Lessons From the Field

By

UX Design Denver Jobs General Assembly Students

Every industry — from tech, to finance, to retail — needs user experience (UX) designers. These master problem-solvers work to create on- and offline experiences that put users’ wants and needs first.

Harnessing skills like user research, wireframes, and prototyping, UX designers have a unique perspective when it comes to understanding the interactions between users, business goals, and visual and technology elements. For companies, their work fosters brand loyalty and repeat business. For consumers, it means frustration-free online experiences, intuitive mobile apps, efficient store layouts, and more.

When you have the perspective of a UX designer, “you start to see design gone wrong everywhere,” says Beth Koloski, who has taught the full-time User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) course at GA’s Denver campus. “You stop blaming yourself for not understanding badly designed software.” She says she admires when someone gets design right because she knows “how incredibly hard it is to make something easy and seamless and actually get it out into the real world.”

Continue reading

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

By

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.

Continue reading

The 6 Essential Tools for Every UX Designer

By

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.

Continue reading

An Artist’s Journey with Code

By

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

6 Careers That Benefit From UX Skills

By

user-experience-careers

User experience is an interdisciplinary field in its own right, but the concepts, tools, and techniques UX designers use trickle into neighboring professions as well. Understanding the core concepts of user experience can help improve your work in a variety of careers from web development to marketing and design.

Let’s take a look at a range of careers that involve and/or are affected by user experience.

Continue reading

5 Hard Things You Have To Do When You Redesign

By

buster_wk2_150520_15

Members of the Buster team mapping out their redesign. Photo by Adam Brodowski.

We recently completely redesigned Buster, our online booking site for buses, limos, and vans, after the first version (v1) of our website had been live for about a year. It was our first big review of what had worked in our early product, and what hadn’t, and our biggest chance so far to refresh our thinking about the business we’re growing. Rethinking our product was both cathartic and grueling. Here are the hardest things we had to do to make it happen.

Continue reading