Practice What We Preach: A whole new perspective on UX Design Posted at 0:00, Tue, 10 November 2015 in Industry Insights

Having recently commenced a part-time General Assembly UX course, I am now in the process of working through our latest project: developing an idea for my own app. I spent the majority of the weekend going back over my notes and lecture slides. All weekend I meandered from one cafe to another telling myself that “the next place will have a more creative ambience, great for generating new ideas”. I even shamefully sat in the library, procrastinating by dusting my new laptop.

It did not matter how many new Post-Its I bought or however many Sharpie pens I used; as I Googled ‘motivational quotes’ I realised I need to understand what my real problem was. I used diagrams of Design Thinking techniques on myself to work out what was actually going on to lead me to this behaviour. It was then that I realised just how much I am overthinking the whole thing because I normally recruit within Experience Design. Being a GA student learning to actually do UX myself is a whole other ball game and the main thing I need to tackle is my own fear. My appreciation for what Experience Design professionals do has increased even more than before – and trust me, it was already high!

During our first lesson we all explained our backgrounds and I felt my face going red as I said “I recruit in UX”. No one even cared, it was me that was paranoid that people thought I was there to ‘headhunt’ rather than learn. So, knowing that and wanting to ensure that everyone knew I was there for the right reasons, I thought about a way my personal project could solve a problem that a lot of individuals go through. I decided to apply my previous background in Law and a recent, difficult experience in applying for Permanent Residency in Australia, as the basis of my app.

The night before our MVP presentations, it was as if all of my research for my app idea, the ‘AUpra app’, had gone out of the window and it was as though I had forgot how to speak in front of people. The sheer build up to those 5 minutes of me talking and contemplating the possible Q&As still stirs me up now! Gladly it was not so bad – everyone in the class did really well and now I am seeking advice from people who go through this every day.

Our second activity as a class revealed that I blatantly can not sketch. We were asked to write a name tag and draw what kind of animal we would be. My monkey looked more like an owl and my physical posture more of a field mouse. We have not had the prototyping lesson yet but one thing is for sure, popcorn will be needed at home for the amount of tutorial videos I will need to watch!

While my app may not be a best-seller and while my design skills certainly won’t get me hired by themselves, I’m already seeing the benefit of doing this course. I can learn as much as possible in and around the course, to not only assist with my UX project in class, but to also allow me to become better in my role at filling UX roles with the most exciting, inspiring people in the business.

As we know, great Experience Design can happen in various forms and I would love to explore this further with those interested. I would appreciate any tips or advice from those in the industry already – as you can tell, it is new to me actually ‘doing UX’. Hopefully hear from you soon!