Personal milestone: 500 twitter followers

Jennifer Blatz UX Design has 500 followers on twitter

I am very excited to announce that I have reached a great milestone. I have accumulated 500+ followers on Twitter. I know that there are millions of other people that have a much, much larger number of supporters. I won’t attempt to compare myself to their accomplishments. But for little ol’ me, I am very please with having such a big number of followers.

I don’t tweet about what I am having for breakfast.

I don’t tweet about my political views of my favorite TV show.

I do tweet about UX design and digital trends. Considering that my niche is so very specific, I am very proud to have as many followers as I do. If you are interested in following me on Twitter too, please check out my Twitter account and start learning more about the UX world. Thank so much to all my followers. And thank you to those who I follow who provide such great content that I can “tweet forward.” It’s a great platform to learn from, and contribute to. Make Twitter work for you.

Design Space Vs. Solution Space

Jennifer Blatz UX Design user requests solutions to design problems
Users often request a “button” or other feature to solve what they think is the problem.

As UX designers, we have all heard our users or customers offer solutions to a problem.

  • “Can I have a back button at the top left?”
  • “Will you put these 4 item in the pull down too? I use them all of the time.”
  • “I’d love it if I could have a widget to help me build my plan in to a nice organized package.
  • “Can you put a button on the main page for me to easily access all of the uploaded files so I don’t have to click on the menu to go there?

Yes these might sound like good solutions on the surface. But it is more important to really find out what the user is having a problem with. That’s when you try to stay in the “Problem Space.”

The Problem Space is the portion of discovery where the UX designer really tries to understand the user’s problems. It’s good to hear the user out in this phase, even if he is proposing solutions to his problems. A good way to dig deeper, and to gain a better  understanding of the problem is to keep asking the user “Why?” This is know as the “5 Whys” technique and is often used by UX designers to discover more information. When a user gives you an answer, ask him “Why.” And ask “Why” again. And again. This way, he will divulge more information than he might be providing to you. Get deeper in to the problem. Try to get a better understanding of what he is struggling with, what his pain points are. Maybe, when more information is revealed, you as the UX designer will come up with a better solution that the user is proposing. That is the goal anyways. Maybe you will also discover that this user’s problem persists in other areas of your site or application. And a more universal solution would not only solve this user’s problem, but many other problems too.

Albert Einstein put it perfectly when he said:

“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”

It pays off to devote more time to analyzing the problem than quickly jumping to a solution. If you jump too quickly to a solution, without really understanding the problem, you might not actually be providing the best fix for the problem.

I understand that it is easy to quickly jump to the Solution Phase. Especially if a solution, which seems like a good idea, has been proposed. But by refraining from taking the leap, which requires patience and discipline, it gives you an opportunity to really define the problem. And this is crucial to success.

Remember that residing in the Problem Phase should not express any solutions. Just focus on a complete understanding of the problem before proposing any solutions. Also, clearly defining the problem, can help eliminate ambiguous terms that might be used and to get the entire team on board with the project.

UX deliverables and skills

Jennifer Blatz design UX and UI design clips and work samples

As part of my 2016 professional development, I’ve decided I am going to use my blog to showcase more of my UX skills. A tough decision any designer must make is to only show a select examples of my best UX work. I try to show my diversity of skills, as well as my breadth of design. So since I cannot show all of my clips in my portfolio, I am going to use my blog as my second clips stage.

Feel free to search the word “Showcase” for future examples of my UX work. But until then, examples of my work can still be viewed on my website

Happy 2016 — Goal setting for the new year

2016 UX design resolutions for Jennifer Blatz

We are comfortably in the new year, 2016, and I am glad you have made the journey so far. I guess that people make goals for the new year huh? Here’s my to-do list:

Learn programs

  • Axure
  • Sketch

Improve coding skills

  • Learn javascript, at least the basics
  • Refresh my knowledge about CSS and HTML

Read books

  • “Information Architecture” aka the Polar Bear book
  • “Design of Everyday Things”
  • “Checklist Manifesto”
  • “How to Get People to do Stuff”

Keep learning

  • Start another “100 Days of Learning” journal, but expand it for the entire year
  • Review the “Learning Stuff” journal from last year

Write blog posts

  • I am shooting to post 30 blog posts in 2016

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.

Build out portfolio

  • Improve the content of my portfolio by introducing new clips
  • Present my acquired knowledge illustrating my software proficiency

Ok just 29 more blog posts for 2016. Thanks for reading.

Perfecting the elevator pitch

We’ve all been told to prepare one: the dreaded elevator pitch. Well what is it? According to Wikipedia, an Elevator Pitch is

An elevator pitchelevator speech or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a process, product, service, organization, or event and its value proposition.

The name ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes and is widely credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso (while he was editor for Vanity Fair) for its origin. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will either continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.

While in the process of tweaking my resume, I thought that my summary sentence needed a bit of work. I wanted my summary to be more UX focus, rather than highlighting my design history. Do you have any thoughts?

Old Summary

Building on a strong foundation in journalism, design and graphics, my skills in visual communication encompasses all disciplines including User Experience UX Design, Interaction Design and Art Direction.

New Summary

A User Experience Designer utilizing design thinking, analysis and research to create software, products and digital experiences that are aesthetically pleasing and easier to use.

Granted, this is a bit verbose if I was summarizing what I do in a quick 30 seconds. But I wanted to present something that packed a powerful, descriptive punch. It certainly is shorter than my original summary. And it focuses more on UX design, which I was advised that my resume needed to portray more. I think that the new Pitch accomplishes that task. But if you have any feedback on how it could be improved, please don’t hesitate to comment and share your thoughts.


Wrapping up 2015 with 100 Days+ of learning

100 days of learning UX design notebook Jennifer Blatz

As you know from my previous post, “100 Days of Learning Stuff,” I set up a challenge for myself to learn something new every day for 100 consistent days. My goal was a success, and I continued the learning experience through the rest of the year.

Looking back at my book today, I am pleased with myself for taking a bit of time to take note and learn a few things along this year’s journey. Some of the topics included in my UX journal include:

  • Several “Golden Rules” lists for UX
  • Numerous definitions of key terms and concepts
  • Great UX quotes
  • Laws like Hick’s Law and Fitt’s Law
  • Principles and steps
  • Abbreviations and methods

And a lot more. I am going to set a goal to create a new UX notebook for 2016. I encourage you to develop a journaling method for yourself and keep on learning in the New Year.

I hope 2015 was great for you. And best of luck in 2016.