How do I wrangle this UX thing?

Notes from the WP CAMPUS live stream.

Robin Smail | Session Information | Penn State

The Basics

What is UX?

User experience (UX), encompasses all aspects of the end user’s interaction with a company, services, and its products. Not just the digital aspects.

Using a hotel booking experience as an example.

reservation process, customer service, room size, cleanliness etc.

UX Design: if visual design is about designing how the product looks then user experience design is the entire human experience with.

User interface design (UI), pieces you make a choice to put on the screen. Toggle, pulldown, text field, check box, radio box.

Why do we care?

Short answer: Easier products to use get used so you can move onto your next task.

When focusing on UX enables the design to focus on the user.

Humans have always been emotional and have always reacted to the artifacts in their world emotionally.

Alan Cooper, President of Cooper

The Daily Grind

Works with Developer and a Designer. The UX designer is the glue that holds things together. The UX designers skills overlap with the other two a little.

Things a UX designer might work on…

  • User research
  • user personas
  • user stories
  • wireframes
  • protoytypes
  • user testing
  • visual design
  • user interface
  • information architecture
  • user interaction design
  • accessibility
  • usability

Different users have different expectations so its important to test and prototype.

What do employers want?


Ridiculous job descriptions that want everything at all times all day in one person.

MOAR Unicorns!

Some can’t even decide what their “unicorn” is made of…

So many damn buzzwords! in job descriptions. There are no UX unicorns. You need a UX designer in a team with great designers and developers. One person can’t do the job of an entire team.

No. Seriously, give me five things they want in a junior designer.

What are hiring managers looking for?

  • communication
  • learning and challenges
  • initiative
  • creativity
  • portfolio

You will not recognize UX until its really bad. Such as hitting the wrong button all the time. This requires extra time learning the backwards way of using something. UX designers have to know that they are designing for other people… not themselves. Such as making a chocolate cake for someone’s birthday only to discover they’re allergic to chocolate.

Getting there from here

  1. Read and research.
    1. a book apart
    2. steve croog, don’t make me think, it’s not rocket surgery
      1. Take one day a month to look at something as a user
    3. Understand the difference between UX and UI. Understand the role of UX in business
  2. Get to know UX Workflow
  3. Ideate a solution
  4. Test your design on users, gather feedback, make corrections, test more
  5. Develop and execute
  6. Play with the tools of the UX trade
    1. User research
    2. Wireframing
    3. Prototyping
    4. Project Management
    5. Communications
    6. Brainstroming
  7. Take a course
    1. Learning by doing.
      1. Boot camps
      2. Workshops
      3. Design
  8. Get inspired
    1. Visit sites
    2. Bookmark sites for reference
  9. Build your portfolio


Don’t forget to include examples of parts of the UX workflow… even the bad ones. the process matters

Network with other professionals

  • Slack lurking, professional organizations etc.






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