My UX Design Journey

From Microbiologist to UX Designer and in between — how I made the transition.

My UX journey started rather untraditionally in California in the Summer of 1997. It was a year after my career in track and field had ended dramatically with a knee injury at the Olympic trials in Lagos, Nigeria. I was missing the excitement and discipline of training and competition but had to deal with the reality of getting a real job and making a living.

Falling back on my BSc degree in Microbiology, I joined Spectra Laboratories in Milpitas, California as a Lab Technician and was responsible for microbiological analysis of water and blood samples sent in by kidney dialysis centers across the United States.

I quickly became bored with the routine nature and predictability of lab work. It also happened that this was the period of the emergence in Silicon Valley. I was fascinated by this new medium of communication that was in its infancy and wanted to be a part of it.

Several new training programs were being offered in the area. After visiting a few, I enrolled in web/graphic design at Silicon Valley College in Fremont, California — now Carrington College. After graduation, I worked for several start-up companies in roles ranging from web designer, web producer to motion graphics designer. It was the era of Flash animations and I had my own share of making those unnecessary web intros that were popular then. By the way, Flash intros are not great user experience.

Over the years designing for web, I increasingly wanted to be more strategic in my design process. Design had to be more than just beautiful screens and a representation of an artist’s skills and emotions. I wanted to know the “why?”s more than the “what?”s. Yes, I did visual design, and my web work involved aspects of information architecture and interaction design. But user research and testing were completely absent. I wanted to be able to guide my design decisions with user input and behavior, and validate them by testing.

In 2015, I paid for a subscription to Interaction Design Foundation, an online resource for all-things UX, joined a local UX MeetUp group, started attending design conferences and was part of the inaugural Southern Methodist University UX Design certification program. I followed that up in 2016, earning the CUA (Certified Usability Analyst) certification by Human Factors International.

I continue to strive for growth in my UX skills as I create evidence and data-driven solutions that meet the goals of end users and stakeholders.

I live in Rowlett, Texas with my wife, Helen, and together, we have a set of twin boys, Nathan and Michael. I enjoy playing ping pong and shooting product and landscape photos. I have shared a few of my favorites below.

Experimenting with shooting perfume bottles
Sunset at our local community park
Friend’s wedding in Seattle
Product beauty shot