Tag Archives: career

How do you stay on top of things?

How do you stay on top of things?

Ahhh the golden interview questions that I am sure every UX designer has heard at least once.

  • Where do you go for resources?
  • What Websites do you visit to learn more?
  • What tutorials or other resources do you use to learn a new software or service?
  • How do you stay on top of the latest trends?
  • What software are you using for (fill in the blank)?
  • What is your “best practice” for (fill in the blank)?

Yes, we have all asked these questions, or heard them asked, or wanted to sleep but could not because these questions are bouncing around in our heads.

So I would like to open this post up for discussion. Because I feel like I am wounding about these types of questions all of the time. I want answers. Can you provide some of the answers to the above questions? Or do you have a resource that might answer them? I know I don’t get a lot of traffic on this blog, but if you do swing by and feel like chatting about this topic, I would be forever grateful.

Now: Let’s talk!

Mid-year: revisiting my personal goals

2016 UX design resolutions for Jennifer Blatz

I am revisiting the goals I set for myself in early 2016. I need to see if I have accomplish any or many of what I set out to do and if I need to reassess my goals based on my new career path. My notes are included in purple after the original list item.

Learn programs

  • Axure Re-learned in Spring but need to practice skills to keep them fresh
  • Sketch No I have not learned this other than watching online tutorials. Not pertinent to my current job, but still would be good to learn.

Improve coding skills

  • Learn javascript, at least the basics No I did not do this. Removing from the list for now to focus efforts on learning more about research methods and best practices.
  • Refresh my knowledge about CSS and HTML No I have not refreshed my knowledge on this. Not pertinent to my current job, but still would be good to learn.

Read books

  • “Information Architecture” aka the Polar Bear book Yes! Accomplished
  • “Design of Everyday Things” No, still want to.
  • “Checklist Manifesto” No, still want to.
  • “How to Get People to do Stuff” In the process of reading
  • I am adding these two books to my list, which I am in the process of reading and are more related to my new job: “Observing the User Experience” and “Research Methods.”
  • Also adding “UX Strategy” since I got it as a going-away gift. Thank you Kristin Kazamaki for the very thoughtful gift. 

Keep learning

  • Start another “100 Days of Learning” journal, but expand it for the entire year. I have partially done one. It’s not as developed as last year. I would prefer to review last years, and this year’s and focus on writing notes as I see some important content.
  • Review the “Learning Stuff” journal from last year I still need to do this. 

Write blog posts

  • I am shooting to post 30 blog posts in 2016 Well I have 23 right now so I am in a good place to meet that goal.

Join a side project

  • I would love to join another project. If you know of any short term projects that need a UX designer, please let me know. I am success at this as I was a UX consultant for Wingspan Arts in NYC. It still needs to go through the redesign, but I helped them organize content and surveyed users and stakeholders to build a better redesign plan. 

Build out portfolio

  • Improve the content of my portfolio by introducing new clips Did this and also acquired a Dribble account to also showcase my designs.
  • Present my acquired knowledge illustrating my software proficiency I have an opportunity to teach an online course in the pipeline, and if it works out, this would help me to meet this goal.  Fingers crossed!

Email design in the UX World of mylife.com

As a UX Visual Designer at mylife.com, I design simple and innovative solutions to complex User Interface problems. Create multiple iterations and concepts for the final online product for desktop and responsive mobile formats. Actively participate in a fully integrated agile/scrum team with product managers, developers, engineers, QA and others. Recommend and implement copy and design changes to improve customer conversion and engagement.

CC-Fail-ID-Premium-Email-3v1-10-14 Onboarding-Welcome-ID-Prem-email-4v4-10-14 Privacy-Meter-email-Cheetah-9-14

Visual designer for my life.com

I will soon have some work samples on the regular website in my portfolio, but I wanted to share some of the projects I’ve been working on as the UX Visual Designer at mylife.com.

As a UX Visual Designer, I design simple and innovative solutions to complex User Interface problems. Create multiple iterations and concepts for the final online product for desktop and responsive mobile formats. Actively participate in a fully integrated agile/scrum team with product managers, developers, engineers, QA and others. Recommend and implement copy and design changes to improve customer conversion and engagement.

User Experience Visual Designer at my life.com
User Experience Visual Designer at my life.com

CC-Fail-PRR-Email-10-14

I am quoted in an article at UX Beginner

“Am I Too Old For UX?”

According to the blog UX Beginner, “Yes, you are.”

But if you read the story further, entering the UX field is not really about how old you are, but rather how much experience you have. Don’t let your age intimidate you and keep your for pursuing a career in UX. Just get started today!

UX Beginner, Am I too old for UX?

Read the Entire article now:

Am I Too Old For UX?” Yes, you are. by Osbourne Chen at UX Beginner

The difference between UX and UI

I find that User Experience and User Interface are often used interchangeably. I was not even sure that I understood what the difference was. So I decided to do a bit of research on the internets and compiled a brief list describing each discipline. I know these are long lists. If you have some comments, please share with the group.

User Experience

  • UX is the overall experience one has with a product or service, which can include a UI.
  • User Experience is how they feel when they look at the site, aka the broad scope.
  • The interaction itself
  • Includes interfaces
  • Addresses all aspects of a thing as perceived by a person
  • UX architecture intelligently provides for the user’s interactive experience via features and functionality of a software-based product or service.
  • UX-er is known as the primary user-advocate on a team
  • UX informs creative
  • Developers are building what UX is architecting, and creative provides the visual look-and-feel based on UX architecture and brand requirements
  • UX design is all the methodological steps that lead you to the conclusion on how to design the UI. They are responsible for how they feel when interacting with the interface or product.
  • Generally start by conducting user research and interviews. The goal with this is to understand exactly what the users’ needs are.
  • The wireframes are essentially the blueprints of what the UI designer will use to create the interface that the user interacts with.
  • One who designs the user experience for applications after doing user and workflow analysis, producing user-centered design artifacts such as personas, site maps, taxonomies, and wireframes. A UX Designer may also conduct usability testing on prototypes or finished products to assess the quality of a user experience.

User Interface

  • UI is typically a combination of visual design (the look and feel) and the interaction design (how it works).
  • User Interface design is the part of the product that faces the user when he looks at the site.
  • A tool
  • A point of interaction
  • A means of communicating between a person and a system
  • UI (aka ‘GUI’) visual design is the graphical user interface of a software product/service
  • The GUI is the visual layer informed by the UX architecture, but based on branding/style guide and visual design principles.
  • The design of a GUI should be heavily informed and guided by the problems that were solved during UX process.
  • GUI deliverables include mood boards, sketches, mockups, visual toolkits, final art assets and even CSS specs.
  • Interaction Design is the grey area between UX and GUI design.
  • Interaction, in our vernacular today, refers to the motion between states of controls and states of an interface.
  • Innately understand and prioritize what is best for the user and also understand the mechanics of physics and motion design; they also understand the capabilities of current dev tools such as CSS3 and HTML5
  • User Interface (UI) Design generally refers to the user facing side of any type of physical interface
  • A UI designer is responsible for everything that a user will see on the interface.
  • UI designer’s responsibility to understand what the users’ needs are. They must be able to arrange the interface in a simple way that allows for the best user experience.
  • One who builds user interfaces that support the exchange of information between an application’s users and its back-end processes and databases.
  • UI Developer’s output is functional, testable, shippable code that lets users accomplish their goals when using an application. The UI Developer is also responsible for documentation that allows others to maintain their code.
  • A UI designer may have the ability to create interactive designs, icons, colors, text, and affect a number of other elements that solve problems dealing with direct interactions to the user. Those elements are fantastic tools to affect user experience but they are only part of the equation.
  • The very minimum:
  • Learn HTML & CSS. Learn Photoshop. Learn basic typography.  Learn basic color theory.  Learn about layout.  Get a feeling for producing UX deliverables.  Learn about usability evaluation methods.  Learn the best practices for web design. Understand the difference between designing web sites, web applications, mobile applications, desktop applications and experiences.

Internet of things at Tech job fair

I participated in the workshop “Physical, Digital, Human: Designing Experiences for Mobile and the Internet of Things” taught by Steven Hoober.  It was a mixture of instruction about technology and how it is creeping in to other devices in our lives. With technologies like Nest and Smart Watches, we are accessing the internet and using technology in more and more ways. In between lectures, we broke in to smaller groups and brainstormed a concept or two about our project: integrating all house-hold devices that control some aspect in our house, like turning off the lights or adjusting the temperature. We wanted to create a central location for all of these apps to make the experience more delightful.

Jennifer Blatz career information architecture
We organized our Post-It notes in to similar groups or categories to narrow the focus

UXPALA event: Demystified

Demystifying the UX Team

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 I attended the UXPALA  event  “Demystifying the UX Team: Who are the players?” which was the first event held by our organization this calendar year.

Did I mention that I am a Chair of Strategic Projects for UXPALA? Yes I certainly am! That means I assist with the organizations newly established website and email newsletter. I’ll post more about our organization soon.

So of now, here’s a summary of last night’s event:

Demystifying the UX Team: Who are the players?

Almost every company, be it a UX/UI firm or any industry that has a UX team – all seem to have different team structures and working methods.

UX/UI/Usability is a relatively new field, so we’re getting 5 UX Directors and Managers together from various companies to form a panel and answer UXPALA’s questions and yours.

Want  to attend future events like this? Keep an eye on our Meetup page for more to come. http://www.meetup.com/UXPALA/

UXPALA panelist
One of the panelists from Huge Inc. talks about working for the agency in the UX field.