So, I'm ready to share my UX story with you. I've been planning on writing this for a while now but due to holidays and crazy work schedules this is the first opportunity I've had to sit down and think about it properly.
My journey into UX started many years ago (without me actually realising it!). I've always been interested in art and design and have always been a creative person, but I went through private schooling where they wanted very academic students. At the time I felt this was a hindrance to my creativity, I wanted to paint, draw, and photograph the world around me! Looking back now, I think this is where my constant need to better myself and self-progression began, for which I am ever grateful!
After school I did a degree in Visual Communication, I always had plans to become a Graphic Designer, I loved (and still love) Graphic Design and Art. I wanted to make the world a prettier place! I chose a Visual Communication degree as I wanted to keep my range broad, my degree covered illustration, animation, photography and graphic design. I feel this was the best option for me and has helped me hugely in my UX career. During my time at university I developed a love for typography and the written word. My dissertation was ‘How has the development of technology affected the development of typography’.
Now, something I should probably mention is my computer illiteracy. At home we didn’t have a computer, we didn’t use computers very often at school, I’d had some very basic IT lessons but in all honesty I had no idea how to use one. I had even less experience of the internet. Even when we did get a computer at home I wasn’t allowed on the internet. And at University I had to teach myself how to use design software on a mac in my first year.
When I left university I started going to interviews for Graphic Design positions. I attended quite a lot of interviews, I set up meetings with design agencies to just go and visit them, get advice on my portfolio and CV. I was also doing some freelance work during this time to help build my portfolio and gain more experience.
Then I went to an interview for a ‘Graphic Designer’, however, it turned out to be for a web design position in a software development company in Nottingham. I was convinced I wouldn’t get the job (why would they hire a computer illiterate graphic design student!) Well, the next day I was offered the job!
It was during the 4 years working here that I learned about UI design. I did courses on HTML and CSS, I read ‘Don’t make me think’ alongside many other blogs and UI design books. I also attended the NNG group usability week in London, which was incredible. It was here that I had my first real experience of usability testing, which I fell in love with! I then implementing usability testing at the Nottingham company, did some knowledge sharing sessions with developers on how usability testing would help us and how we would do it.
At this point I had heard the term UX batted around a few times, but didn’t know anything about it. It was when I left Nottingham and joined my current company that I really learned what UX was. It was at this point that I knew where everything I had learned so far was leading me. I had to become a proper UXer! I did more training, reading, research, and worked alongside the UX lead currently in the company.
I have been here a year now, and I feel I am definitely on the right path. I have learned so much in the last year but I know I have a long way to go. My current role is Senior UI Designer but my aim is to progress to Senior UX Designer over the next few years. I’m hugely passionate about what I do and feel so grateful to have found my way into a job that I love, especially a job that has such a great community surrounding it.
I hope you have enjoyed my UX story.
If you have any questions or just want to get in touch or chat please feel free