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.
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.
As a Humanities major, Carlye Cunniff was always interested in people. But as an Irish dancer, she knew it would be tough to transition straight into a new role in a digital field.
Earlier this year, Cunniff realized she needed a change from running the dance company she founded. Unsure of where to start, but knowing she wanted to learn more about the tech world, she enrolled in GA’s HTML, CSS & Web Design Circuit, an online course designed to teach proficiency in HTML, CSS and Visual Design. After graduating she took the User Experience Design Immersive program in Seattle. She now works as a full-time consultant with The Creative Group—currently on contract at Amazon. Continue reading →
Mia Pokriefka enrolled in User Experience Design in January 2014 at General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus. Before long, she was able to combine her passion for serving and empowering people with her newly-learned UX skills into a site called Elm. Together with her best friend, Elissa, and a former classmate, Amanda, Mia is building her own company. Elm teaches everyone the skills you need for life based on other people’s shared experiences. Continue reading →
More and more engineering-focused companies are trying to become design-centric. But wanting a design culture isn’t the same as creating one. It isn’t as simple as saying, “Just use design thinking.”
Companies of all sizes are realizing that software is fundamental to business and design-thinking is the tool that leads to better software. In a time when design strategy and user experience are one in the same, companies are working to become more design-centric.
The move towards design-centric cultures is not always an easy or a straight path. While there is definitely risk involved in making a priority shift, design is emerging at the forefront of many business models.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker
SOLA/HACK was a design hackathon I organized, hosted by General Assembly’s downtown L.A. campus. Participants included current students and alumni from General Assembly and USC. The objective of the hackathon was to apply design thinking and UX design principles to issues specific to the South L.A. community, with an eye toward how appropriate uses of technology could be used to help address social, economic, and environmental problems. While technology can be a powerful tool for change (think of the crucial role of cell phones during the Arab Spring uprising), it was stressed that there is not an easy techno-fix to every social problem. So participants were encouraged to look beyond just apps or websites and employ systems-based thinking on their solutions.
Since graduating from GA DC’s first UXDI course last year summer, Nina has honed her skills with freelance gigs, one of them at a big political consulting firm. When Nina wasn’t freelancing or leading a Code for America chapter, she made time for Visual Design this spring. Since her second GA graduation, she’s been exploring the nonprofit space by working with the Asia Foundation. After her work in Cambodia, Nina is considering other ways she can share the value of good UX in DC and beyond.
Faz (top row second from the left) with his UXDI students at General Assembly.
After several years designing for nonprofits and companies, Faz decided to make a go of freelancing full-time. After almost three years of choosing his own projects and clients, Faz committed to teaching the first UXDI course at General Assembly DC. He’s taught almost every UXDI cohort since.
Big data is just what it sounds like; data so big that it’s not easily processed through conventional methods. However, once this large data set is eventually distilled down, user experience can play a huge role in making sense of the reports and leading the charge for user-centered solutions.
User experience (UX) is the bridge between big data analytics and the end user. The richness of big data being collected by all types of companies has unleashed a treasure trove of information for user experience designers. UX designers can create more robust solutions for users by analyzing these enormous data sets.
Every day, more CEOs and business leaders are realizing the importance of a product’s design and user experience. UX is no longer an ambiguous acronym or secondary business concern, but a key piece of a product’s success. With so many useful apps and products on the market, companies can no longer risk having a poor user experience or uninspiring design. Users demand great experiences, and it’s user experience designers who help products meet these high expectations.
User experience designers are positioned for success in today’s job market. They get to work in a growing and intellectually stimulating field, playing a key part in shaping a product’s success across a variety of industries — from finance to education to to e-commerce and more. Read below to explore why UX design may just be the perfect career for you.