UX Meetup

 

Over the past few months I’ve been spending evenings and weekends trying to beef up my web design skills. I coded my own portfolio site from scratch, dug into Photoshop, and started learning some Javascript and JQuery. These days it’s not unusual for me to be kept up until 2AM by a missing div tag, or by taking firebug to a favorite site to figure out what makes it tick. I’m on CodePen more than Twitter. I browse design portfolios instead of Netflix shows. I’ve even downloaded the Invision App. To me it’s all like figuring out a big puzzle and oh-so-satisfying when all the pieces come together.

The Meet-up

I feel that one of the most interesting parts of the whole design process is mapping out the UX (User Experience) journey.

According to Smashing Magazine. UX projects typically consist of three main phases: a research phase, a design phase and a further research phase, designed to test and validate the designs.

  • The research phase is where you immerse yourself in the project to get the background you’ll need to make design decisions later in the project. During this phase you will try to learn as much about your client’s business, objectives, users, and competitors as possible. „
  • The design phase is where you work out how what you are designing will work and how it will fit together. This phase will define its scope, its features and functionality, and how it behaves.
  • The validation phase is where you identify whether what you came up with in the design phase actually works with its intended audience. This phase is typically followed by further rounds of design and testing to solve the problems you inevitably find when you test with users.

This process makes sense to me.

Just like we discover as much as we can about our characters before we start writing, we learn about our client’s business and their objectives before we start designing. We’re given a set of rules (or project constraints) which will end up giving us more creative freedom than had we started designing on the fly.  Over the years, I’ve learned that I work best with structure and rules. When I started studying screenwriting, I was happy to learn about Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” beats and how they worked to build the story. When I recorded my “Go Play Project” the self-imposed deadline to upload the sound files every week kept me on track through a difficult year.

So Sunday morning, when I Googled “Philadelphia UX Class” (before I even got out of bed) and saw this UX 201 class – I knew I had to sign up. It was an easy “YES”. The class was sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of Girl Develop It and was held at a co-working office which was within walking distance from my house. The four hour class flew by! The students at my table were all training for new careers. Everyone there was eager to learn. Their enthusiasm was infectious. The students at my table were all training for new careers and by the end of class we were friends.  Alicia, our teacher, was experienced and knowledgeable. She kept the pace moving but was quick to stop and answer questions and make sure everyone was on track. We learned about the research phase (user research and interview questions) of UX — a step I’m implementing right now for a music ed project I’m working on. (Psst! Please contact me if you’d like to help me out by taking a quick survey).


Are you getting ready for change? Starting an online business? Turning your hobby into an income stream? I’m offering a class for Boomers (or anyone) who is interested in starting a profitable side-hustle. Sign up for my newsletter for updates and news about the launch date! I’d love to have you join us!

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