My first 3 months as a UX Designer

Hi I’m Liv, I am a UX designer at EI. I started working at Every Interaction in January 2016. As it has been 3 months since I started, it is time for a brief reflection on my ‘EI experience’ so far.  

Liv- collaborative work


Who am I?
  I began this role after studying an intensive UX course at General Assembly. Although the course was brief (10 weeks) you certainly cover a lot and can draw your knowledge and skills from previous roles into the discipline.


What did I expect? If I am honest, I really didn’t know what to expect when joining EI. When I was looking at jobs I knew that I wanted to work in an agency because of the variety of projects and clients you work with. For me the variation of projects and a supportive learning/ developing atmosphere was very important as I am still junior and have a lot still to learn!


When searching, I wasn’t sure what size company would be best to begin my career in, however for me this is the perfect size. I am given all the responsibility and support I need – much larger and I would be lost in the numbers of employees.

 

 

After accepting this role, I joined the team on their years retrospective meeting, this was very beneficial to go to. This wasn’t just a great opportunity to meet the team properly, but I also got to know projects that they worked on – analysing what was done well and what still needed attention.


What have I worked? I have so far worked on two very different projects. The first that spanned over 2 and a half months (designing the UX for a start-ups whole web-based app). The other, a micro-project to design a single page for a large holiday website. These two projects required very different processes and techniques.


For the first project (the web-app) we began working on and research as there was no product at the time. The product owner for the start-up would then test the page with potential users. This meant that we relied almost completely in the product owners knowledge and feedback – something that is inevitable with an original concept and a limited budget.

Liv - webapp designs

 

The second project was to redesign a webpage for an international holiday company. This company had a huge amount of stats on their market and landing pages. Being so well informed meant that we could design for the majority of users, but also add features that met the niche cases. We took this project a step further and looked at the work flow. This meant that we could re-order some of the experience or add other features from the website that would be highly relevant and useful for users that followed this process flow.

Liv - short project designs


 

Advice for other UX designers just starting out – I recently returned to General Assembly and was on the panel for a Q&A session about employment and how UX in the industry compares that that in the classroom. What I have found since joining the industry in earnest is that:

  1. You need to be flexible – each project (in terms of budget, deliverables, users and medium) is different, you therefore can’t follow any specific process for each project.
  2. Client feedback is key, but it can be difficult to get their full opinion at the time. Therefore be sure to have some more focused questions about aspects of the design you want feedback on – you will get a better and more direct response. They might also prefer to come back to you with feedback; therefore again, be flexible.
  3. Keep in contact with the developers during a project – whether it’s through the client, or our own developer partners. This is because features and designs can be much more complex or quick to ‘code’ than we think it is and this is important in terms of time frames and budgets. Reducing the amount that you have to redesign (due to miscommunication), means that you have more time to work on developing the product and the clients budget can be used for the design.
  4. Use different techniques and processes to ‘think out of the box’ with the designs. Keep the features and initial concepts quite objective so that the designs aren’t already prescribed or limited. 
  5.  The client still wants to know your process as well as the finished product.

There are still many more areas to explore, but this is what I have learnt so far – hopefully this will help to give people joining the industry a better idea about what to expect.

Design March 24th 2016

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