After the Coronavirus pandemic spread across the United States and impacted most of our lives, it landed me in a situation where work slowed down immensely. This time has been a challenge but also a gift because it finally allowed me the opportunity to refocus my attention on my aspiring UX/UI design journey that’s been resonating in me for over a year. It’s been in the cards for some time but it’s finally the most opportune time for me to take the leap! I recently enrolled in the CareerFoundry UX/UI bootcamp; a 5 to 10-month intensive design program concentrating on user-centered design principles including competitive analysis, user research, conceptualizing, and designing products through wireframing and prototyping, as well as visual design.
My first assignment was to complete a competitive analysis of 3 similar mobile apps that help users learn new words. The biggest challenge was just getting started. Honestly, that was the hardest part for me. For some reason, fear can get the best of me at times, and frankly it caused me a turtle paced start. The reading material on User Design Thinking was good but I went down a rabbit hole doing many other side research projects on everything else, like did I decide on the right bootcamp to how to properly create a iPhone mockup to use in presentations. I dreaded the idea of starting something new that I could possibly fail at. Gulp.
But after many days struggling internally with my own fears, I pushed through it and started plugging away at the project at hand. I learned how to apply the first stage of the design thinking process to a given problem through the research phase. I took the time to develop an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of competitor apps. I ended up putting in a lot of hard work and time into my first assignment. Throughout the process, I was critically evaluating my own work, stepping back to see if I was producing something of quality.
I went back a dozen times, asking myself – did I correctly answer all of the project questions, did I apply design thinking and understanding in the process, am I presenting this project in the best way without wasting precious time. It was a task that I was eager to accomplish and the moment I finally pressed the submit button in my student portal I was filled with relief and pride. My tutor responded hours later letting me know that my assignment was approved and job well done! Exhale. My UX/UI feet are finally wet and I plan to keep swimming in this UX/UI pool of new explorations!
Choosing a UX career path that offers Balance
Today, there are so many obligations to juggle and so little time to fit everything into our busy calendars. But there should always be balance where ever possible for a healthy and happy journey. The challenge is figuring out how to design a life that supports both our professional aspirations, as well as our personal goals. Unfortunately, I for one have lived a life that’s been balance challenged… but I am certainly up for changing that!
I’ve always craved for more out of life and wanted to have more time to enjoy the little things. Sometimes disconnecting and doing nothing is paradise itself. On the other hand, I have a deep need to fulfill a personal mission to contribute and bring something wonderful into existence through my creative work. There is euphoria in creating great work with passion and purpose.
That’s where UX/UI came into the spotlight for me. I had stumbled upon UX Design as I was searching for new technologies and skillsets that I could study to become a better designer. The purpose of UX work excited me like crazy. As a designer, I love the challenge of solving problems and telling an amazing story through visual elements. All this sounded wonderful but than there was more…
In my eager consumption of research to investigate the challenges and opportunities facing UX designers, I discovered this golden piece of information. UX Designers ranked among the highest in work-life balance satisfaction according to multiple resources. I have worked 50+ hour weeks in the past and although I don’t mind an occasional all-nighter, I don’t want to live at work. Commuting in traffic during rush hour for an hour or more is also not ideal.
So this beautiful possibility of a work-life balance as a UX designer is thrilling. I have interviewed a couple of UX designers that support this notion as well. Testing this myself will be a welcomed opportunity. If I could resolve the 50+ hours work week and the mind-numbing rush hour traffic, I would very much love this UX career path with its challenges and rewards.
Remote work opportunities are on the upswing for UX Designers too. Another added advantage of this career path. Admittedly, I’d be shocked if these work-life balance realities are taking place at all UX departments across the board, but for now, I will focus on industry-wide averages. Life as a UX Designer appears to be a strong choice for those of us that value work-life balance. This can be a career path that is filled with creative challenges, room for endless professional growth, opportunities to make a difference, and a work-life balance that can be appreciated.
If you’re like me, you probably have come across the terms UI and UX design and wondered what it means. After many days of internet research, I found some great resources that helped answer this blaring question.
UI Design stands for User Interface Design. This area focuses more on the visual assets to a product’s interface to best enhance the user’s experience, such as the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. It deals with style guides, typography, colors scheme, imagery, and icons, etc.
UX Design stands for User Experience Design. This area serves as the blue print foundation that UI design builds on top of. It involves research, testing, content, and prototyping to improve usability, ease of use, and pleasure during the interaction between the customer and the product.
What’s the difference you ask?
According to CareerFoundry.com, here is a great answer:
“The UX of the house consists of the foundations, structure, and framing, while the UI components consist of the wallpaper, paint, and interior design.”