How should a novice prepare for a residency as a UX/UI product expert?

13 Jan 2014 - 4:27pm
2 years ago
1 reply
1123 reads

Hi all,

I just got a residency at a startup accelerator as a UX/UI product expert, but as I was only shopping around for internships and have no work experience in the field (which I made clear to them), I feel as if I'm in a little over my head.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A bit about my background:

 I completed the requirements for a major in Communications at Rutgers, and then transferred to a different school's Emerging Media Technologies program.  My goal as an aspiring IxD and/or UX designer was to learn about the concepts underlying effective communication and intuitive design, and then get some introductory experience with some of the languages which would serve the canvas.

A bit about the position:

Basically, startup team members will be coming to my desk with UX questions and seeking advice.  I'd like to do my best to prepare myself for handling them and being of use.  Unfortunately my program doesn't offer dedicated UX/IxD courses, so seperate from my natural aptitude, my knowledge and experience is limited beyond what I've researched on my own.

A few key points I could use some advice on:

  • I realize that the needs of each startup will be different, but it would be helpful to get a general idea of the sorts of things they might come to me for.
  • If there are any particular UX-related books or resources that might be helpful in preparing myself, those would be super helpful.


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.  Any and all advice you could offer would be invaluable!


14 Jan 2014 - 3:47pm
Sean Pook

It's incredibly hard to break into the UX field and all opportunities should be grabbed with both hands.

I will contradict myself here though and suggest perhaps you're getting in over your head and you're not going to be doing these firms a good turn unless you're genuinely experienced enough to help them.

Perhaps the ideal scenario is to have a frank discussion with your employer and set expectations as to your experience.

I mention this as I see a lot of companies hire visual designers or developers as UX experts, have a bad UX experience so to speak, receive a poor ROI and the blame it on UCD rather than the person representing it. UCD then has an even harder time getting buy-in within these firms for many years after.

Whatever happens, good luck!

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