UXDI Alumna Develops Jawbone App at CODEATHON

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Visual-turned-UX designer, Diana, completed the UXDI program in Downtown Los Angeles. Post-course, she teamed up with peers a for the LA Codeathon. Together, they helped design a Jawbone-focused app that helps women get moving and stay moving. Currently, she is focusing on freelance UX and visual design projects in the Los Angeles area. Follow her on Twitter and view her portfolio.

What brought you to GA?

Prior to discovering GA, I was reading materials on UX design and I was very eager to build a strong skill set.  As a visual designer, I think I had a great foundation, but I really wanted guidance. I discovered that GA was the best place to continue my education as an organization dedicated to creating great talent.

Tell me about the LA Codeathon.

The LA Codeathon was part of the Women’s Health Codeathon series made possible by the Clinton Foundation, Jawbone, and the UCLA Business of Science. Developers and designers came together to build original prototypes based on key women’s health issues. Our challenge was to design a tool to promote women’s physical activity, which is a pretty challenging theme considering there are many digital products on the market that strive to do just that.

Prior to the event’s kickoff, we were all given the Jawbone UP24 activity tracker and we were given access to Jawbone’s API.  It wasn’t a requirement to incorporate the activity tracker in our design, but we did use it.  In the end, we created a fun and engaging mobile prototype that uses avatars to encourage users to take activity breaks throughout the day and to avoid being sedentary.

What inspired you to compete in this challenge and how do you think the broader theme its into women’s health issues? 

Our UX course producer, Lisa, graciously shared this opportunity with the alumni community and she encouraged me to sign up for the Codeathon.  It sounded like a great way to meet people and an amazing experience.

Women’s health is an important topic and our research tackled an important issue threatening overall women’s health: a sedentary lifestyle.  As our team looked at research on inactive lifestyles, we found that even working out once a day isn’t enough.  We read up on what studies called “active couch potatoes,” or people who were physically fit but spent the majority of the day sitting and being inactive.  They were still at risk for heart disease, diabetes and strokes, all major conditions that threaten women’s health.

What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m a freelance visual / UX designer who works on websites and print media in the Los Angeles area.  In the future, I want to dedicate my career to designing digital products and being a user advocate, but first, I want to see our Codeathon app completed.  On the final day of the Codeathon, I showed the prototype to audience members after we presented our design. It was amazing to see people get so excited and some were saying that they wanted to immediately download the app.  That was an awesome feeling to have people get so excited about something you helped create.

What have you learned about yourself over the past year?

I truly think that my GA program helped me realize that UX design is my calling.  At times, I pushed my comfort level such as when I had to present design decisions to a room full of classmates and guest visitors.  Those kinds of experiences made me a better designer and I feel really comfortable talking about the reasoning behind my projects.  At the Codeathon, I helped present our app design to a panel of judges and hundreds of guests.

Any advice for aspiring UX Designers who are job seeking?

Attend meetups and events.  It may seem like a lot of work, but the UX design community is very welcoming and eager to give feedback regardless of one’s skill level. It’s a field where you learn by practice and you need to dive right in to develop your portfolio.

Learn More About UX Design at GA

Brianna Plaza interviews alumni from around the world as a Success Stories writer for General Assembly. She works full-time at General Assembly as a Technical Marketing Producer.