Gain IxD Experience Strategy

26 Nov 2007 - 8:26pm
6 years ago
3 replies
369 reads
Lukeisha Carr
2007

Hi All,

I'm trying to transition into the IxD area of IT. I
come from a backend web application developer background, approx. 7
years. Although, I've done some minor CSS, JavaScript, etc., I'm not a
visual designer. My interest in IxD has come about over the last year
or so due to my having done tons of hard work, along with my teammates,
on the backend of web applications, only have the users who don't know
anything about all the backend stuff complain and not like the
usability of the system. I began to realize that, although we did have
visual designers on the team, the interaction design suffered due to
lack of time & effort spent on that portion of it. Not to mention
I majored in Psychology, so I've always been curious about human
behavior. And, what better way to combine 2 well loved interests,
right? HCI :-)

I
have since left the environment described above, and I'm now working as
a Business Analyst. I thought this might put me closer to my goal, but
I realize that this particular position does not. I also know that
working in certain firms, IxD is not the companies' core concern. They
just want to get a quick application. So, I'm looking for a position
in which I would be allowed the opportunity to become more involved
with the IxD area of application design. However, every position I see
requires 3-5 years experience. Although, I have 7 years web
development experience, and I've been reading up on IxD, I've never had
the opportunity to actually create any of the deliverables to be able
to show a portfolio of any kind to a prospective employer.

Can anyone give any advice on the following, and any more that you can
think of?

-- What is the ideal background for someone entering IxD?
--
How can one obtain some practical experience, even when that person is
in an environment that is not conducive to providing it?

I appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks!

____________________________________________________________________________________
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Comments

27 Nov 2007 - 10:19am
david.shaw6@gma...
2004

Hi Lukeisha,

I think you are starting off on the right foot. Having a Psychology
background is a big plus because it allows you to look at things from
a people perspective. Not sure where you live, but a good way to gain
a little more IxD experience is to volunteer in your local community
with projects that will give you that experience. If you live in a
city where there's an active IxD chapter, I'd encourage you to get
involved any way you can. This will help connect you with people in
your area that do the things that you want to do. It will also give
you the opportunity to absorb information from those around you (and
perhaps even gain a mentor - one thing I think the IxDA could really
use - a mentorship program).

That's just a start. Oh, another idea, if you have a product design
program somewhere in your area, take a few classes. Get your hands
dirty in a studio course... that will help you learn the design
process (if you haven't already).

Good luck!
David

On Nov 26, 2007 5:26 PM, Lukeisha Carr <lukeisha.carr at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> I'm trying to transition into the IxD area of IT. I
> come from a backend web application developer background, approx. 7
> years. Although, I've done some minor CSS, JavaScript, etc., I'm not a
> visual designer. My interest in IxD has come about over the last year
> or so due to my having done tons of hard work, along with my teammates,
> on the backend of web applications, only have the users who don't know
> anything about all the backend stuff complain and not like the
> usability of the system. I began to realize that, although we did have
> visual designers on the team, the interaction design suffered due to
> lack of time & effort spent on that portion of it. Not to mention
> I majored in Psychology, so I've always been curious about human
> behavior. And, what better way to combine 2 well loved interests,
> right? HCI :-)
>
> I
> have since left the environment described above, and I'm now working as
> a Business Analyst. I thought this might put me closer to my goal, but
> I realize that this particular position does not. I also know that
> working in certain firms, IxD is not the companies' core concern. They
> just want to get a quick application. So, I'm looking for a position
> in which I would be allowed the opportunity to become more involved
> with the IxD area of application design. However, every position I see
> requires 3-5 years experience. Although, I have 7 years web
> development experience, and I've been reading up on IxD, I've never had
> the opportunity to actually create any of the deliverables to be able
> to show a portfolio of any kind to a prospective employer.
>
> Can anyone give any advice on the following, and any more that you can
> think of?
>
> -- What is the ideal background for someone entering IxD?
> --
> How can one obtain some practical experience, even when that person is
> in an environment that is not conducive to providing it?
>
> I appreciate any thoughts.
>
> Thanks!
>
>
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Be a better pen pal.
> Text or chat with friends inside Yahoo! Mail. See how. http://overview.mail.yahoo.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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>

--

w: http://www.davidshaw.info

27 Nov 2007 - 10:53am
Eva Kaniasty
2007

Lukeisha,

A few things come to mind...

First, find out if there is a local UPA (Usability Professionals
Association), CHI (Computer Human Interaction), or IxDA chapter in
your area. These organizations usually have monthly meetings which
include topical presentations that will get you exposed to the general
area of user experience.

You don't mention whether your current company invests in interaction
design and or usability. If they do at all, you should try to discuss
your interests with your manager and see if you can become more
closely involved. There are activities such as requirements
gathering, stakeholder interviews, or competitive reviews that a
business analyst can do that are actually within the realm of the user
experience lifecycle, and will help get you going in that direction.
If your company doesn't know how to spell usability, then you may want
to look for a job at a company that has an existing User Experience
team. This will give you a chance to work with interaction design
professionals and slowly become involved in user experience
activities. Another option is to look for a smaller company where
roles are more flexible, and you could begin taking on some UX
activities and perhaps eventually transition to that role.

Your other options are to take classes in interaction design or
usability, or pursue a certificate or a Master's program. If you
choose this route, you could pursue internships or assistantships that
would allow you to gain experience while you're in school. However,
this is only if you can handle a year or two of poverty.

As far as the 'ideal' background for an interaction designer/user
experience professional... I'm not sure that there is one, but most
people in the field come from technical, visual design, and/or
psychology backgrounds. Most UE professionals have made a transition
from another area, so you are in good company. What you should keep
in mind is that you have to make the transition gradually.

If you tell us where you are located, I'm sure you can find people in
the group to give you the scoop on their local usability community.

-eva

27 Nov 2007 - 8:53pm
Lukeisha Carr
2007

Thanks everyone for your very helpful comments and suggestions. I'm
very glad to have joined you all here at IxDA!! I am very excited,
and will definitely pursue some of the recommendations you all
provided.

I'm in the North East New Jersey & Mid/downtown New York City areas.
So, if anyone can suggest some usability meet up groups/communities,
especially any that provide mentor programs, that would be great!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=22941

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