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UX Fathers

Hello World.

In a recent job interview I was asked about my UX methodologies; It really stubbed me. In all my prep for that specific interview I had neglected to organize my thoughts and ideas about…. where my thoughts and ideas come from! While that was an embarrassing interview, I felt like it gave me a lot to think about and it gave me a new roadmap of how to push myself further into the field of UX. So please indulge me while I list and discuss a few resources I’ve used to learn about UX.

  1. Jakob Nielsen - Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design. (1995) I was introduced to this guide by Justin Threkeld when I interned at redpepper. He had me study and use it to test the usability of software, website, and apps. It’s been a constant companion and a printed copy hangs next to my computer screen at all times.

    https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/

  2. Apple - Human Interface Guidelines (2019). An essential guide for designing ANYTHING (not just apple products). This guide reads like a book and has both high level and low level ideas about Interface design.

    https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/overview/themes/

  3. John Maeda - The Laws of Simplicity (2006). A perfect companion piece to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines; Maeda applauds the beauty and genius of apple’s products for their simplicity. His book guides you step by step through 10 different pieces of simplicity. It’s a guiding light for designers and should be required reading for the field. He is most famous for writing, “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.“ Read a summary and application of the material in the link below.

    https://hatchedlondon.com/keep-it-simple-stupid/

It seems an embarrassingly short list and I feel it’s cheap to try to fluff this up with a bunch of random articles I’ve read over the years. However, I’m going to include a few resources that I’m planning on or currently reading.

  1. The design of everyday things (reading now)

  2. Atomic design (http://atomicdesign.bradfrost.com/)

  3. Don't Make Me Think, Revisited

Thanks for reading

Kalai Myrick
and then I had a Job

It's incredible to look back over the extraordinary events of the past 6 months. I got fired, freelanced, and then hired into a position in my field. I'm so thankful that I got that chance to take a break. I've discovered that I'm a borderline work-a-holic and I had an emotional dependency on my job. Since loosing it I was forced to redefine my self-worth, ask if I'm actually any good at what I do, and decide if my degree was even something I wanted to pursue. The past few months have taught me empathy for others in my position and tenaciousness in the pursuit of my passions.

This weekend is the two year anniversary of my graduation from university. I have the opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. I'm happily married, with a beautiful home, a career that challenges me to grow, and a hobby that pays me. I'm nothing if not thankful in this moment for everyone who walked me through that time in my life and spoke truth to me. 

Kalai Myrick
What's the big deal about UX?

I've recently interviewed with a company looking for a multimedia designer, after some time in the interview they asked me about my work in UX. They were very excited to hear that I was interested in it and quickly asked me back for another interview with one of their IT specialists for a UX interview. I am amazed how you can go in to interview for one position and have the scope of your position change throughout the interview. I've been thinking a lot the past few days....what's the difference? Is the role changing? or just my title or approach changed..... What is the difference between a multimedia designer and a UX designer? 

UX =  the design of an interaction or experience that a person has with your product or service. Multimedia design = integrating multiple forms of media to help communicate information and ideas effectively. So what's the big difference? I'll conclude that every great UX designer should be a multimedia designer, but not every multimedia designer is a UX designer. A UX designer is going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that whatever experience people have is a good one. A UX designer will dive into the deep reaches of human psychology to find that right pitch at which a phone ping is exciting rather than stressful. A multimedia designer doesn't have near the responsibilities. A UX designer and a multimedia designer are measured differently; to a multimedia designer the question is "Did they receive all the intended information?" to a UX person the question is...."Did the person have a good experience as they received the information?". Now I think both have a similar goal, communicating clearly and effectively has its own reward, but at then end of the day UX designer is going to go the extra mile to follow up and say... did that make sense? I believe that UX people are writing the future. A UX person is as much a scientist as a creative. That's why I wanted to learn UX. 

Kalai Myrick
Am i there yet?

That question has been hanging over my head like a stinky piece of roadkill. In the past year, there have been numerous big changes in my life. I got married, moved x3? times, been hired, been fired, left jobs, got lucky, got swindled, and been wronged and failed myself time and time again.  With every victory and failure, I weighed myself against the things I saw my colleges and peers doing; thinking to myself; "is this enough?" am I "making it?". 

Before I go further, I need to give myself some small credit. I DO have goals, I want to be a great designer, I want to become a great ballroom dancer, and I want to be a great wife and friend to those around me. I have spent almost as much time in the past 5 months reading, researching, and designing as I did in College. However, at every rejection and setback, my insecurity seemed to blaze up anew, it was often difficult for me to even view my peers work because then I would see the truth of how inadequate my own work was in comparison. Now I know that only antidote for this kind of thought trap is to make my work something that I CAN be proud of. But often I would hardly know where to start and fall into the despair when I would look over my portfolio and lament my clumsy mistakes and failures. My attention would only be drawn to the areas that I lacked rather than allowing myself to rejoice in the journey of learning. I was stuck. I was despairing and worse, I allowed myself to hyperfocus on discontent in my career. 

So what now? Am I there yet? Yes and No. Kalai, there is no "there". There is not a utopia where I manage to be effortlessly great at all my passions without the sweat, blood, and tears of time and hard work. There is only now. Now is when I get to sleep in until 10 a.m. and spend the mornings and afternoons on my laptop; Reading, creating, and working toward my goals. Now is when I am not perfect, and my portfolio is not perfect. However, I accept myself where I am, I honor my skills by acknowledging them, and I will put away my anxiety at not being "there yet". I am choosing to be thankful rather than jealous. I am choosing to work hard on my passion projects, and not being angry with myself because my work doesn't match what a team of designers can put together in a week. I am choosing to open myself up to the critique of others because I want to get better at what I do. Finally, I choose to be more transparent with my progress and setbacks. A mentor of mine told me that writing was a great place to start when it comes to seeing my journey, documenting my research, and growing stronger. That is why I'm going to start writing in this blog. I'm going to end each post with a little bit of thankfulness. Today, I am thankful for the people in my life that lift me up and inspire me to be the best person I can be.... my husband Andrew, my parents, Gracie Mckeand, Justin Threlkeld, and Melissa Myrick.