Embarking on this UX journey…

As an introduction, this is a personal log for a UX course I’m taking in order to step into the big world of usability testing and user experience. This blog is meant to be a personal exploration into UX design, something amateurish. If anyone reading this would like to correct or advise me on the finer points of UX design, please have at it.

With that done, I’m supposed to give a little introduction about how I came to be interested in UX design. Coming from a non-developer background, I suppose it is surprising that I’d have interest in apps (desktop, web, mobile, you name it) My educational background is actually in narrative illustration, not even graphic design which is more closely related to web design where UX as we know it now is more applicable.

I started off as a production artist for a kids’ start-up (Kazaana.com), creating fun looking virtual assets for the main website. It is now defunct, but a good experience for a fresh graduate nonetheless. As start-up stories go, one eventually ends up wearing many hats, and I gradually came to work on coming up with additional features for the website, as well as working on the mobile app version. I had no clue about designing mobile apps, and read up the rules for Android and Apple, as well as any blogs about UX design and how to make wireframes and mock-ups. I downloaded apps to see what others were doing, and talked to our engineers to understand what was possible to do and what wasn’t. Without confidence in what works and what doesn’t, I also tried to ask friends and family for feedback. It got me interested in modifying designs according to feedback from regular people, and taught me the importance of user research, as I found that in many cases, user-behaviour expected by the higher-ups of the company do not exactly correlate with actual their actual target users on the ground.

Despite the fact that I have no background in programming, talking with engineers and trying to understand the challenges in implementing features that sales or design ask of them got me reading up on the available hardware and software. I guess I can say that my interest in UX got sparked off by wild ideas suggested by people I worked for, and my curious nature just wanted to think of the best ways to make these ideas become a reality.

Due to the fact that my background is completely visual, there came a time when I was deciding between wanting to be a pure graphic designer or continue pursuing UX (which I was not trained for, but had an interest in) Practicality won out at the time, and I thought that getting a job in familiar territory was better than being half-assed at something I liked, but did not have enough knowledge in. A couple of years down the road showed me that sometimes you just have to pursue what you’re passionate about and that’s what I’m about to do now.

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