Jen’s job description on LinkedIn for Backspace

As you move through your career, one step that most people have to do is update their LinkedIn profile. I had a basic update up to this point. I just stated the new company, title and start month. But today I have now included a more in-depth description of my duties. Please take a look and let me know what you think — or if you see any errors. ha ha.

Jennifer Blatz UX Designer LinkedIn profile Rackspace UX Lead

Please read my entire Linkedin profile to see my career history beyond my Rackspace job description.

As a Lead UX Designer, I interact with a cross-functional team of Product managers, Researchers and several UX designers. I oversee the experience design and functionality of User and Account Management, which crosses over into several aspects of Rackspace’s portal.

▫️ Lead a team of designers, guiding them through and implementing the UX Process and helping them make strong design decisions.
▫️ Propose UX strategies and develop a plan to execute steps in that strategy for a major focus area of the company’s portal used by thousands of customers.
▫️ With my extensive UX research experience, I actively propose and engage in user research efforts.
▫️ Mentor junior UX designers and assist them through their career development.
▫️ Act as the team’s scrum coach through the agile process of software development and design.
▫️ Define and establish the UX Process that is implemented by all UX Designers, Researchers and InfoDev writers. This high-profile UX Process was created in collaboration with other Researchers and UX Designers based on research, workshops and iterative feedback.
▫️ Design standard UX deliverables like user flows, user stories, sketches, wireframes and mockups using tools like Mural.ly, Sketch and Invision.
▫️ Regularly collaborate with and provide design feedback to other UX designers.
▫️ Lead workshops and meetings regularly to keep remote team members aligned, engaged and designing to their full potential.

2018 New Year’s Goals

Jen Blatz UX designer 2018 goals

First thing I did to think about 2018, is to review the goals I set for myself in 2017. Man, I did knock a few of those off of the list, but I was not nearly as successful as I should have been.

Here are my lame excuses for not accomplishing last year’s goals:

  • I changed jobs 3 times in one year. I had a huge learning curve to  every new job, and I am still trying to understand the new industries I was working in.
  • I was a bit stressed having landed in positions that were empty promises and not career-growth opportunities. Thus, the change in positions so many times.
  • With all of the new jobs, I was devoting any extra free time I had to getting up to speed, and not focusing on networking or getting involved in the local UX community.

OK, OK enough with the pity party. Now let’s focus on what I really want to accomplish in 2018.

Read
  • “Design of Everyday Things” (started in 2017, need to finish)
  • “Checklist Manifesto” (charted for 2017, pushing to this year)
  • “Sprint”
Write blog posts
  • In 2017, I was shooting to post 25 original blog posts.
  • I want to shoot for 12, long-format blog posts with valuable content.
  • Plus I would like to continue my series of “UX Tidbits” and “UX Quotes” sprinkled throughout he year. I enjoy researching, gathering and creating these fun short snippets of info. I will shoot for 18 “UX Tidbits in 2018
Social Media

I have felt so lucky to have the followers on twitter that I have accumulated this far. I would like to continue to grow my Twitter following.

Networking
  • Continue to participate in local Meetups to expand my network and to get to know others in the UX community and other related fields.
  • Have the opportunity to participate in one panel at a Meetup, meeting or class as a person who has some sort of UX knowledge to bring to the table.
  • Give a presentation to one Meetup group. Group and topic to be determined.
  • Attend Creative Mornings events to meet more designers and artists in the local community.
Professional Development
  • Continue to learn Sketch well enough to mock up several designs to expand portfolio and skill set.
  • Understand the industry I work for, cloud computing, better.
  • Learn about managing teams. It might be something I am interested in, so I would like to learn more.
  • Create UX assets and deliverables to sharpen my skills and enhance my portfolio.
  • Wrap up the “UX Process” project I have been working on at work and develop a strong case study on the process of creating it. Continue to visit the project through the year to see how it is going and iterate as needed.
  • Determine what topic I need to know more about when it comes to UX. Perhaps Customer Experience or Service Design? See how these tracks can be explored further in my current work space.
  • Revisit these goals in the mid year to not only track my progress, but to add to it. I feel like I need more concrete goals than just listed here. Stronger possibilities tbd.
Personal development
  • Have better work/life balance. Right now I am spending any extra time I have in the evenings working on “Could Computing” or “Leading the UX Team” related tasks and not having any rest or personal development time.
  • 2017 was not a great year for travel for me. This is especially true for international travel. I would like to explore the world a bit more, even if it is in my home state.
  • Read more outside of UX. I would like to learn more about another discipline. Be that fine art, history or social sciences. I would like to increase my knowledge about a field that could be complementary to UX, but is not strictly UX.

New phone, new Woes

Jennifer Blatz UX design iPhoneX new technology

I finally relented and for the iPhone X. Happy new year to me, right?  Despite being a UX designer, I am not a gadget geek. I am not an early adopter. In fact, I am just the opposite: I will resist updating and change for as long as possible.

I can’t really explain why I am not super eager to adopt the newest technology right off the bat. I guess it is a combination of fear and anxiety. I don’t want to lose any data, like photos. I don’t want any down time. I don’t want any learning curve. Geez, this is really starting to sound like it is all about me, ha!

I came across an article or two that talked about how the new iPhone was a gesture nightmare. Oh brother, that certainly was not a glowing endorsement for me. I was already unhappy with the iPhone 7 which took away the headphone jack. I guess my silent protest of mot buying the “headphones” version would be in vain because once Apple takes something away, they never give it back. We are forced to adopt. That’s the price you pay with the advancement in technology.

So I got the new phone and of course the first major difference is how do I get in to the thing?? There is no home button. I instantly touched the screen and swiped up. That seemed like the logical thing to do. Well that did nothing. Nope. Then I just tapped on the screen. OK! Progress, that seems to be the magic touch to open the phone. I can do this.

So I decided to go a little deeper in the water to try a few other things: open an app, take a screen shot, close an app, display the percentage of my batter power. These are items I do multiple tomes a day, so these are the most common actions I will be performing.

Opening an app, no problem. Same old, same old.

Closing an app, now that is a different story. That required a good search on my part. Now instead of just swiping up through the apps that are mounted, I now I have to hard press and get the “Do not Enter” street sign to close each window. This seems like additional work. Not to mention a tiny touch target to close an entire window. I am not a fan. Easily discoverable? No. Doable? I guess so.

I am constantly checking the battery power of my phone. OK, maybe I am a little bit OCD about it. (My husband would certainly say so.) I can’t help it, I like to know the exact quantity I am dealing with. So now with the new iPhone X, I cannot instantly see the remaining battery power on my phone. Huge deal killer for me. I am not happy about this. Again, I resorted to Google to see how to turn this on. There are instructions on how to activate this in Settings. Alas, this option is not available. Noooooo! Now I have to do some crazy swipe from an angle at one corner to bring up the Control Center (or whatever the hell is it called) and then do another corner swipe to see battery power. No I have to 2 (TWO!!!!) swipes to get information that was available on the opening of the phone. This is a big problem for me. (Though my husband is probably over there in the corner laughing at me….)

Finally, I wanted to know how to take a screen grab of the phone. The home button was half of the equation on completing this task. So now what? Again, I had to do a Google search to figure out how to accomplish this task. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Yeah me too.

So much for Apple being intuitive. So much for iPhones being so simple to use that I can just pick it up and figure things out by playing around with it a bit. I am not to type of person to just try anything because my fear of “not mucking it up” is more powerful than my desire to try new things. Nope, when it comes to technology, I am a “play it safe” kind of gal.

One really important lesson that has surfaced in my experience is the importance of keeping the user in mind when I am designing something new. All too often, I hear people say, “They will be able to figure it out,” or “It’s pretty intuitive, they will not be bothered by this change.

Ahhh well, I have a refreshed level of empathy for the user. I will design for the type of user who just wants to get things done and does not want to worry about some huge learning curve. I want to make sure that my designs, or change in design will not harm the experience, but will help the experience.

Here’s to doing good in design in 2018!Jennifer Blatz UX designer cheers to good user experience design in 2018