Can you tell us a bit about your background?
In 2009 I began studying media production. I loved getting creative, finding out about people and telling their story. I took on runner roles at the BBC and Game of Thrones whilst completing my studies and for the following year after graduation.
From there I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship for an MSc in Software Development. I’ve now been working as a Front End Developer for the last 2.5 years building bespoke sites and managing bugs for around 2 million users.
How did you become interested in UX Design?
My initial interest in UX came from a user focused background. Media production is about understanding your audience, storytelling and producing an experience.
Around a year ago, I undertook a 2 day UX Foundation course, which was really interesting. It was clear to me that I would be able to intertwine media and development in order to improve user experience in many different ways.
I’d also see myself as a problem solver and it was clear to see how good product design made massive changes to the way in which we live life.
Has your background in Front End Development helped you?
Working as a Developer has been very beneficial. An important aspect for both development and design is to learn and grow daily. It can be fast paced and challenging having to consider lots of different possibilities such as devices, browsers, users and UI.
It highlights the importance of UX; with knowledge of the restrictions in which browsers and devices place on what you are able to produce.
What courses and/or UX resources have you found useful?
There are many free online courses; my two favourite being thegymnasium.com and ideo.org. I’ve also read blogs such as UX Magazine to gain inspiration before doing user research and watch tutorials on lynda.com and Pluralsight about Sketch and User Centered Design. Also chatting with others is encouraging as you are able give each other perspective and encouragement whilst learning.
What has been the most challenging part about learning UX?
The most challenging part of UX for me is the initial stage of research. Making sure that the right types of questions are being directed to the different user groups in order to figure out the best solution to proceed with.
There are also many ways in which you could complete analysis and that doesn’t always mean you are getting the correct answers, so being confident about your decisions and skills are very important.
Can you talk a little about your experience of UX mentorship using UXmentor.me?
I found UXmentor.me whilst browsing online. I already used Slack as a communication tool in work so it seemed simple and easy for me to join up!
I said hello in the announcements page and got a reply from the mentors welcoming me to the site, I felt quite at ease because everyone was at my level and messaged a few others that had also joined recently.
I got chatting to Tina, who lives in London and after chatting for a couple of days decided to take on a user centred design challenge together through Skype and record our interviews before prototyping up a solution to our problems.
UXmentor.me has provided me with a community to relate to; I’ve grown in confidence and knowledge through reading others questions and answers from experienced mentors.
As a beginner, do you feel there is adequate high quality information out there?
There is plenty of high quality information out there and many opportunities to put it into practice through free online courses and support from others that know the struggles of those that are starting out.
There are many different ways of practicing good UX and depending on the project and its working out what is beneficial.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
When starting out, there is a lot to learn and important to get your own perspective on what your understanding of UX is.
My advice would be to get involved with UXmentor.me which will give support and answers to any concerns while you get to grips with UX.
The most valuable learning comes from taking on a project that involves going through the process and solving the problems on the way.