Monthly Archives: January 2015

Polishing my presentation skills

presentationI always admired people who could get in front of large audiences and speak with great authority…   I am not ashamed to say that being a good orator has never been a strong skill of mine.  I always had to work at it and even with work, it still pales in comparison to people who can really inspire with a speech.   Watching a guy like Simon Sinek talk about how great leaders inspire people into action, I often wonder if he knows he has the very same qualities of the leaders he is speaking of.  I highly recommend you take a few minutes, sit back and watch his speech.  It fascinated me.

To that end, I think Ux designers need a certain ability to at least present in a clear and precise fashion.  We are after all facilitators at our core right?  My progress into Ux at work might be slow and prodding, but that doesn’t mean I cant take every opportunity I can to polish the skills I need to be a good Ux designer.

Two weeks ago I sent out an email to my office, offering to host a lunch and learn on how to take better pictures.  In the email, I specify I would offer both a basic and advanced class.  The basic would cover some bare essentials that anyone can apply and it was geared towards point and shoot and phone camera users.  The advanced class would cover DSLRs with the specific task of getting users off of the auto modes and into the creative modes.

I was quite shocked at the response.  I got so many wanting to take the basic class I had to break it into 3 separate lunch and learns.  I finished up the presentation and I am ready to give the classes next week.  I’m excited, of course it helps that I am passionate about photography.  Ever thinking of Ux as I give the classes, I intend to use the opportunity to do some user testing on my performance in the form of surveys at the end.

Stay tuned.. I will let you know how they go.

Hello World!

Keep calm and start a blogOr something like that I guess. Ok maybe its a bad developer joke but this is my first blog so give me a break. While the blog is meant to be taken seriously, your humble narrator likes to keep things light. So why am I here? Why are you here? Well I hope its to read about my story as I progress into my career as a Ux designer. I hope to use this medium to document my decent into the wonderful world of the who, what, where, and why that makes Ux such an interesting career choice. So, without further adieu… here we go

I have been a web/interface designer for 15 years. It was sheer love of design that drove me into the world of web design back in the late 90’s. I was one of those guys who could never really figure out what he wanted to do. I had changed my major several times finally ending up in Medical Technology. It wasn’t until after being in the med tech program for 2 years that I had an epiphany.. it wasn’t fun. Coincidentally at the same time I had started messing around building web pages for fun and I loved it. I loved the challenge of the preferred tech of the day (which was basically HTML and Flash). I decided that it was what I wanted to do but I had yet another problem. I lived in Youngstown, a rust belt city in Ohio that had well… more rust than tech. I had to move and so I did. Armed with a computer and some clothes, I moved to Columbus where I was hired by Liebert as a web designer. I spent the next 13 years there, developing some great relationships and friends along the way. I started doing development work as well, using classic .asp and sql. Eventually I was promoted to manager of design where I oversaw a team of 4 with two of them in Manila. Eventually I began doing other roles within the company including some Share-point administration and writing user stories as a BA. Unfortunately, all the design work was being moved to our parent company and my design work was few and far between. Instead of becoming a BA I made the decision to leave… after all I am a creative. I didn’t want to be writing documentation eight hours a day.

I now work at a smaller software company in the fitness industry. I was hired as a Ux designer and I was so happy that I would be able to explore true Ux and put the processes to use. Unfortunately, when it was discovered I had a strong technical design background I was forever relegated to being and HTML coder. It was time for me to do something… I wanted to be a Ux designer, not a web designer. I wanted to use the processes that, as a designer, I always wanted to but never could sell to management. So what am I to do?

Well, I am taking the initiative to enact change where I work. I am subtly evoking change and hammering home the importance to management of how important true Ux is. I basically dug my heels in and sold the fact that I would not let the Ux process affect the code I needed to get done. I was able to secure a few projects that are far enough out that I can begin running through the process of Ux. Realizing this is going to be a lot of work for me.. Not only am I running the Ux process, but I also happen to be the Ix person as well. But that is ok.. I am willing to do some extra work and in fact I am excited about it. I am finally getting the opportunity to learn Ux the proper way, apply it in the proper way, and make a project be the best it can be.

I am also excited networking with various other Ux pros on various forums (such as uxmaster.com) and I am beginning courses this weekend from UDEMY. In addition I am going to be taking certification classes at The Team W. So, thanks again for learning more about me, and stay tuned as I use this blog to document my processes and training.