My First Two Years in UX… What Have I Learnt?

Hey, well this is my first ever blog post, two years after i graduated from University and on completion of my first two years in the digital user experience field.

Why has it taken me this long? Yes, time is a major factor but it is mainly due to how much i dislike writing, let alone writing for everyone to read. But i suppose you can learn to love something.

You will find when and if you read a few of my posts, that the writing will be informal and conversational, some of it may not make complete sense at first but you will get the hang of it once you get going (i will cover dyslexia in UX in a future post).


Lets get this one over and done with then.

Fresh out of Loughborough and applying here, there and everywhere, i was lucky enough to be given the opportunity from a small agency in Old Street as a Junior UX Designer and after a quick three months ‘Junior’ was removed.

Two years later, it is time for me to move on to my next challenge, but before i do, i would like to share with you what i have learnt during my first experience in the industry? It even might help those of you who have just graduated (i hope it does) and for the rest of you, i hope you can either relate or even question one of my ten points.

  1. Challenge Yourself: Take on those opportunities you are give and rise to the challenge. One of my favourite projects would have to be my first project, a bingo smartphone site. Though i did get the assistance i required along the way, i can say i rose to the challenge and completed my first project in the real world as the sole user experience designer.
  2. Push Yourself: But know your limit, so those around you know it too. Unfortunately this didn’t happen for me, for one long-term project i was pushed and consequently i pushed myself; in the end the impact of doing so caught up with me. As a result, i would advise if you are pushing yourself, make sure you take breaks, wonder round the office, take a walk outside and relax once in a while, it does have a positive impact on yourself and your work.
  3. Speak Up: There is no doubt you have an option that you would normally share in a different situation, why not do it at work, in a meeting, a workshop. This always takes me back to Manchester; my colleagues were having a review with the client, one came back and told me they were debating an item being removed. A few minutes later i was requested, during that time i had found the document as prove and literally walked in room, told two of the three clients that they asked for it to be removed the week before and left. Okay, so we did have a good relationship with the client, but once i spoke up, i gained a leap more respect from that moment on.
  4. Engage: Get to know the people you work with, their roles and responsibilities, in the end you could be working with them for two or more years but you also don’t know when you will need their assistance or expertise. As there has only been six of us in the latter part of my experience, this has been a pretty easy to act upon, however, it is definitely something i will take on board in my next role.
  5. Connect: Tweet, connect with the wider digital community and share your thoughts and opinions. Pop that university bubble of yours, here is a lot more going around you, across the world which you could learn from. Previously, I always blamed time and learning on not getting involved with the twitter community sooner, however, the thing is there is always time, you just need to plan your time wisely.
  6. Network: Meet like-minded people at events and talks, find out what is going on in the industry around you. Unlike Twitter, you get greater knowledge and engagement from speaking face to face than online. I know this is a difficult one as i don’t particularly like to talk to strangers or create small talk myself and therefore, I am only just getting in the swing of going to events and talks. trying so why don’t you to, even if it is one every few months.
  7. Keep Learning: Request to go on courses to either specialise in a particular area or develop your personal skills, such as presenting. Unfortunately, this was something i did not get the chance to do and wished i had. However, i did request that it was an opportunity at the interview of my future role and it is one of my priorities to make sure it is actioned.
  8. Be the Project: Learn as much as you can about the project area but also research around it, you never know when a snippet of information could make a decision for you later down the line. In the past two years, i have not worked on a single project that has been the same sector. That has meant i have been continuously researching not just the brand, sector or function, but the wider topic, you don’t just stop researching because the ‘research phase’ is complete.
  9. Ask Question: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no one expects you to know everything and those more senior are there to pass on their expertise. Remember that will be you in a few years time, so start building your knowledge up from various sources and once you are confident with what you know, it will slip of the tongue or you will action it without thinking about it.
  10. Enjoy: You only live once after all, enjoy your experience, have fun and two years will pass by in a flash. I can truly say that i have loved what i do to date, there has been some ups and downs but that is life, you grow stronger and move on to the next item on the agenda.
View from my desk… experienced the most amazing sunsets across the 4 months.

Next week i start my new role as a UX Architect for Spark44, i aim to continue to action and implement those 10 points in to my routine and see where it takes me next. Hopefully, you will see a few more blogs in the next few months too.

New office with the most amazing 360 views of London.

Next up Dyslexia.

KK

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