I’ve long been attracted to creative pursuits. But at the same time, I’ve always loved technology. For the longest time, we were taught these two fields were opposites – it was numbers and logic on one end, and creativity and expression on the other.
I thought the closest way for me to bring these two fields together was through a Bachelor of Game Design. So that’s what I studied first, and from that, I began working as a concept artist and environment designer for a game studio.
During this time, I found I wanted to do more with technology. I wanted to use technology not just for technology’s sake, but to improve the lives of other people. I wanted to solve real-world problems and create engaging experiences. So, I enrolled in a Master of Interaction Design at Monash University, and that was the start.
While doing my Masters, I got the opportunity to fine-tune my focus when I discoveredUX design. That, to me, felt truly like the best of both worlds. Through my studies, I created interactive prototypes and user experiences for use in the health, education, communications and lifestyle industries, which was incredibly rewarding because it was about making a real, tangible difference. I knew that I was going to pursue user experience and interaction design as a career.
The thing about user experience is that it isn’t limited to any specific sphere. When people think of user experience design, they immediately jump to interfaces and excellent customer service. But it’s far more diverse than that: we live in a world with many different technologies that allow for many different kinds of user experiences. UX designers can’t be stagnant. Nowadays there are so many modes of interaction, such as virtual reality and voice-based interaction as seen in products like Amazon’s Alexa and the Google home. With the rate technology is being developed and adopted, one of the greatest challenges I’ve found is that you need to not only be knowledgeable in UX practices, but also in the latest technologies and their limitations.
If I had to give a piece of advice to budding UX designers, it would be to remember that User Experience is not purely visual.
There’s a difference between UX and UI, and we must remember there’s such a huge variety of people in the world, and they are all going to interact with technology in different ways.
It’s important to not only keep up to date with the rapidly changing world of technology but also ensure that the experiences you are creating are inclusive, intuitive and a delight to use.
If you’re interested in this rewarding and challenging field, I definitely recommend attending a workshop or meet-up to find out first-hand what it’s like to work as a UX specialist. There are also many fantastic online resources to up-skill in UX design if you’re looking to bring user-centric practices into your existing work.
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