Get Started in UX
Get Started in UX
OK, now you know where you're going ... but where are you coming from?
Why are you Here?
By now your head may be spinning, either because you're overwhelmed-or excited-by the prospect of what lies ahead.
Before we continue any further, it's worth taking a few moments to reflect on why you want to begin a career in UX. As you'll soon come to understand, the sheer amount of information that you'll need to absorb is potentially overwhelming (although I'll give you some strategies for dealing with this later). And there's no shortcut in gaining project experience-that comes with time. This is a journey you'll want to be embarking upon for the right reasons.
Personally, I get excited by the variety that UX offers me: the breadth of design challenges, and the range of activities that I get to engage in-with other people and on my own. I've learned over the years that I need that variety for job satisfaction. A job where I can apply my visual skills, my technical skills, and my people skills is one that I find incredibly rewarding. The fact that the outcomes of my work-websites, mobile apps, user interfaces-often empower the people using them is the icing on the cake.
What is it about UX that you are drawn to?
If the answer is "it's a hot industry right now, and I'm not finding enough work as a graphic designer" then I'd encourage you to reflect a little more on this before proceeding. While the demand is there, a career in UX is not for everyone. There's a lot to learn, and I'm not just talking about the theory. Crafting a successful UX career will require a commitment to push yourself away from your screen and out of your comfort zone, into the realms of public speaking, group facilitation, stakeholder management and visual communication.
Whatever your personal motivation to succeed in the field of UX, it needs to be more than the cash or the glory. Work out your why, and the challenges ahead will feel less daunting.
It might feel a bit contrived, but I have an exercise for you to try your hand at. I want you to put this ebook reader down (or minimise the window on your computer), pick up a pen and paper, and complete this sentence for me. Try to avoid referencing salary or recognition in your statement.
I want to become a UX designer because ...
Write it down. Seriously, I'll wait!
Oh, you're back! Great. How did you find that exercise? If you found it particularly difficult, you may want to mull over the topic some more and refine it when you've crystallized in your mind what's driving you. Having a sense of purpose equips you with the stamina you'll need to navigate the inevitable difficulties that come with any career.
Video: Knowing your Why
Simon Sinek's TED talk, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action , is an inspiring reminder of how acting with purpose in our personal and professional lives can lead to success, regardless of the field.
Performing a Self-Assessment
If you were redesigning a shopping cart, with the goal being to increase the number of sales the site processes, the first thing you'd need to know is how many sales it's currently making.
Deciding how best to tackle your entry into User Experience is a lot like tackling a UX project itself-you need to have a baseline . Understanding where your skills are at now is a prerequisite to charting where you want to go.
There is no one "best" way to perform this self-assessment. We humans and the skills we possess are complicated! However, there are a few different approaches that have been devised specifically for thinking about a career in UX. Let's look at a few:
Elizabeth Bacon's sundial of User Experience fields is a wonderful model for looking at the big