People often associate the term “user experience design” with visual design or the design of a digital interface, like a website or mobile app. But the truth is, user experience (UX) design is bigger than that, and it’s used across every industry, from software, to business, to schools, and beyond.
Successful UX design is why shopping on Amazon is addictive, ride-sharing apps like Uber are thriving, and binge watching TV shows from any number of services has become the best way to spend a weekend indoors — skillful UX design has made it insanely easy to do. Even physical spaces are impacted by UX design: Think strategic layouts of department stores with enticing buys at every turn or the always-moving checkout lines at Trader Joe’s.
For years, Chelsea Nicholson and Vanessa Stofenmacher felt that the fine jewelry on the market just wasn’t for them. They wanted to make a statement with pieces that were classic yet attainable, and had an inkling other women felt the same. After graduating from General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive program in Los Angeles, they decided to do something about it.
The pair, who were friends before they were classmates, teamed up to launch Vrai and Oro — a Warby Parker-style fine jewelry startup that embodies UX principles its core. Vrai and Oro means truth (in French) and gold (in Spanish), and the name is reflected in the company’s values: quality, simplicity, and transparency. Chelsea and Vanessa produce their jewelry with ethically sourced materials in downtown Los Angeles — without designer markups. And, true to their UX-driven brand, their website and eCommerce platform is minimalistic and image-driven for easy use.
We caught up with Chelsea to learn more about Vrai & Oro, the site’s user experience, and how GA helped the co-founders achieve their goals.
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.
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.
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.
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. Continue reading →
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.
In today’s changing business landscape, user experience (UX) is quickly becoming a key differentiator allowing brands to cut through the noise and create a unique value proposition for their customers. It makes sense; what could be more valuable to a customer than having a great experience?
Within major corporations, if addressed at all, UX has traditionally been siloed within product and design teams instead of being treated as a company-wide initiative. UX is vital not only for product teams, but also for marketing, sales, customer service, and even HR. (Employees are users too–EX as we call it at GA!)
When examining some of the standout brands that have adopted a more holistic strategy around user experience, the results are strikingly clear. Almost every one of today’s most valuable companies is run by a CEO who puts user experience first–Chief Experience Officers. Let’s look at a few examples:
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.
Product managers are in high demand, but the path to become a product manager is unclear. From choosing an undergraduate major to landing that first product management job (without prior product management experience), it can be a difficult field to break into. And so, we’re thrilled to announce General Assembly’s new Product Management Immersive Course, which graduates job-ready Associate Product Managers in 10 weeks. It launches in September of 2014 in New York City.
What Happens in the Product Management Immersive?
For 10 weeks students will spend a lot of time together: 9-5, Monday to Friday. The immersive is taught by expert practitioners and mixes lecture with hands-on project work. Topics covered include: user research, assessing product/market fit, financial modeling, competitive analysis, determining MVPs, data analysis, requirement gathering, wireframing, prototyping, pitching, developing user stories, and more. At the end of the course, students will have developed both a skill set to work as product managers, and a portfolio of real-world projects to share with future employers/the world. Continue reading →