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Course spotlight: User Experience IV: Capstone

“It is a great class to integrate all the knowledge I’ve learned in past UX classes, from research, pattern library, to testing.”

“Anybody can learn design tools, but design thinking is what makes a UX designer stand out. This course combines design thinking and actual design perfectly.”
— current UX IV students

Capstone courses are pivotal in pulling students’ knowledge together, giving them “real world” practice, and preparing them for the workplace. Instructor Thomas Dillmann tells us more about the culmination of our User Experience certificate, User Experience IV: Capstone.

Why is this course important for my UX education?

UX 4 allows the student to apply their learned UX skills from their UX certificate course work in a self directed manner. The UX 4 class is modeled after real business cases to which the student provides UX strategy and business solutions using the full set of learned UX skills and techniques. UX 4 provides a platform for the UX student to own their new UX Skills and really prove what they know. UX 4 raises your confidence and readies for entry into the professional arena.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?

Thomas Dillmann

The UX 4 courses uses Harvard Business Review case studies as the core material for the students to produce a complete end to end UX solution to the presented case issue.  For example, a HBR case may focus on how should newspaper and media companies charge for their products in a near free media environment with falling ad revenue? Should they implement paywalls or donation models or other solutions? And how would a UX designer integrate these solutions across their respective digital platforms? Students are challenged to provide supporting research and UX deliverables to solve the case. These could include business models, service design models, concept maps, user interface and interactive prototypes as well as user research and testing.

What will I take away from this course?

The UX 4 course produces complete case study documentation that are essential for UX portfolios.  UX 4 serves as a capstone course to prove what you have learned and for you to solidify your own personal UX approach and process which is key to being hired as a UX designer.

Enroll in User Experience IV: Capstone today!

Interview with UX Student Janelle Gatchallian

AC5T8939We had the opportunity to interview one of our UX students about her time with us so far and her advice for new UX students. She also shared with us one of her class projects — check it out below!

  1.   Tell us about how you got interested in UX, and why you chose UCLA Extension.

I majored in art history in college but I would have been happy focusing on anthropology as well. Observing, listening, interviewing, and approaching a situation with fresh eyes all come naturally to me. When I learned about the application of design thinking and user experience lenses to questions and problems–all of which reminded me of ethnographic work–I was intrigued!

I wanted to take a UX class in person and learn with classmates through group activities like presenting, partnering up, as well as giving and receiving feedback. When I found out that UCLA Extension is one of the few places that offers progressive UX courses, I wanted to be part of its community. UCLA Extension’s Westwood campus is also close to my workplace (the Getty), so the location helps, especially when commuting from work in the evenings.

  1.   For someone who is new to UX, what should they know about getting started?

In every step of the process, think about the user. That seems like a hackneyed saying, but seriously, by the time you’re, say, in round 4 of prototypes and it’s just been approved by stakeholders, initial user research can easily get lost.

Additionally, be careful of getting carried away by new software. Sketching on paper is still the fastest and unrestrained way to materialize an idea!

  1.   What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

I’ve only taken two courses at UCLA Extension. Both were about UX–one with Thomas Dillmann and one with Julia Morton. I enjoyed both!

  1.   What would be your dream job?

I’ve been thinking a lot about creating immersive reading experiences lately, so a job (like the one I have now) that would let me do that is a dream. There were days when being privy to the author’s world meant curling up to a book or a newspaper in solitude, perhaps under the covers in darkness. Now that we have adopted our mobile phones as quick and superhuman sources of information, our reading experiences have already become much more immersive. Audio, video, and three-dimensional works are now part of our books. Recent discoveries in iris recognition, artificial intelligence, adaptive learning, and animations are also enhancing our ability to take in what we read. So I’m excited about the possibilities of smart reading powered by machines.

  1.   What are you working on right now?

One of our projects at the Getty is an ebook mobile app that features musical and performance scores in our collection. These artworks are multi-dimensional and come in audio, video, and 3D formats. The scores require scholarly expertise to understand, which puts the Getty in a position to publish interpretive content about them. For example, a musical score is going to come alive with a tap with a user seeing it annotated and hearing audio playback at the same time. That’s pretty superhuman! I worked on this project while in Julia Morton’s UX II: Mobile First class. Here is some sample course work:

Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_1 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_2 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_4 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_5 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_6 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_7 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_8 Gatchalian_Janelle_UCLA_Ext_sample_project_070516_Page_9

Interview with UX student Hope Ndlovu

 

UX designer Hope Ndlovu

UI/UX designer Hope Ndlovu

Originally hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, Hope Ndlovu is a UI/UX designer based here in Los Angeles. Below, she talks about her experience taking UX classes in UCLA Extension’s Design Communication Arts program and shares some of her work.

Tell us about how you got interested in UX and why you chose UCLA Extension.Hope

I became interested in UX after working at a startup and learning about creating user-centred products. I had just completed my Bachelors Degree in Psychology and I was in search of a discipline that would allow me to use my knowledge and fascination with human behaviour in a technical but also creative way. User Experience was the perfect marriage of both of those things. I chose UCLA Extension because of the great reputation the program has and the calibre of graduates they produce. I was also impressed to know that each and every instructor there was a working designer with great accomplishments. To me, that was important. I wanted to be learn from people who knew what they were talking about and cared about what they were teaching.

FullSizeRender (4)For someone who is new to UX, what should they know about getting started?
1. Spend time on your portfolio. A good portfolio represents your process and being able to articulate this in your different projects is important.

2. UX has many facets. Figure out where you fit in under that umbrella and work at becoming great at it.

3. Last but certainly not least- NETWORK! The UX community in Los Angeles is small and tight-knit. Going to different events will help you  meet people, keep up with new trends in the field, and hopefully land some awesome gigs.

What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?FullSizeRender

There were SO many! If I had to choose just one, it would have to be UX: Mobile First. I was taught by Julia Morton. Again, I loved the passion she had for what she was teaching but also how knowledgeable I found every class to be. I learnt things I thought I already knew!

FullSizeRender (2)What would be your dream job?

My dream job would be to work at an agency that values good UX, within a collaborative design team.

I know that there are things I don’t know, so I’m constantly seeking opportunities to learn and share ideas and ways of thinking. My philosophy is, if you find yourself not “Googling” anything anymore at your job, it’s time to move on.

 

Congratulations, Hope!

UX Instructor Interview: Julia Morton

JuliaMorton_HeadshotUCLAExtension4.26.2015We’re excited to share with you an interview with one of our incredible instructors, Julia Morton! Julia is a UX Designer at Fandango and teaches our UX: Mobile course here at UCLA Extension. She will be teaching UX: Mobile in fall 2016.

  1.       What brought you to this field?

I was getting my Masters in Library and Information Studies at UCLA when I fell in love with the way UX design marries art and science to make life better for people. Taking design thinking classes, it hit me — what does it matter if you have a fabulous library collection if no one can find what’s in it? The idea of designing for better access inspired me. What motivates me now is the hope that my work can help folks enjoy or accomplish their end goals rather than have to think about how an interface functions.

 

Before I studied it, I used to think ‘design’ was about making toys for rich people, like $15,000 watches, or about luxury utility, like how maybe you can afford to have one well-designed task chair in your apartment, and it becomes a sacred object. That never struck me as much fun.

 

One of the things I love about UX design is that it’s for everyone who is using your product or service, and people expect websites and apps to be designed well enough that they don’t have to think about how to use them. That’s the great thing – these days, folks are upset when a site or app doesn’t meet their needs; we assume that sites and apps should just work.

 

  1.       Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

I work at Fandango. One of the more impactful projects I’ve gotten to work on was developing a digital movie ticket that people can use to show a ticket taker and get right into the movie they’re going to go see, with no scanning technology needed. I loved this project because it’s something that genuinely makes people’s lives easier, from the person who is walking into the theater to the ticket taker, who doesn’t have to use special equipment to check the ticket.

 

The work itself for this project was so much fun because it required a huge amount of collaboration with developers, business folks, and visual design. The idea sounds so simple as to be trivial, right? But we needed to take into consideration all sorts of edge cases, ways to avoid fraud, and ways to make sure people who aren’t used to using it would understand it. I’m tremendously lucky to get to work with fabulous teams — all of my most fun projects have involved lots of collaboration with tech, and have ended up somewhere I couldn’t have imagined when we started out.

 

  1.       Why is your course, UX Mobile, important for my UX education?

 

Mobile web and apps are huge channels for people to engage with digital products and services, and many companies these days work by designing mobile first. There are a couple of reasons it’s a good idea to learn how to focus specifically on mobile design:

 

1) Mobile is often the most important platform and the hardest to make prioritization decisions about, because there is less space available. Also, your user likely has less time on mobile. When you learn how to design for mobile first, it becomes much easier to take care of the other platforms afterward.

 

2) There are a number of mobile device-specific functions that offer huge advantages, such as location services, accelerometer, and camera/mic/photo/contacts integrations, and learning to think with them in mind expands what you can do.

 

3) In class, we look at Android and iOS, the two dominant operating systems used in mobile these days. Each system has a specific set of conventions, and it’s worth taking time to understand them and learn how to stay up to date with their rapid changes.

 

4) Because UX is a field where you learn by doing, the class is project based. You’ll do lots of work both in and out of class, get lots of feedback, and end up with a prototype that abides by the conventions and practices of mobile design.

 

  1.       Do you have a sample assignment?

 

Create a persona for your product, not just for your users! This is a great idea I recently learned from an Alastair Somerville conference talk (his Twitter handle is @Acuity_design, if you want to check him out).

 

By now, creating personas to represent the people who will be using your product is a well known step in the UX design process. Sometimes we make personas for stakeholders, too.

 

What we think of less often is that the product or service we are designing will be imbued with personality, perspective, and values, all shaped by what we put into it. That’s why it’s a great idea to create a persona for your product or service: it helps you define and understand what you’re building, which in turn helps you make the connection between it and your users.

 

  1.       Any advice for UX designers just starting out?

 

Keep thinking critically about how to do things. Interface patterns are useful because people recognize them and know how to use them, but we all have a responsibility to keep moving interface conventions forward when we come up with something better.

 

Keep building your ability to empathize with your users. Your ‘beginner’s eye’ is a precious resource – yes, your thinking will become more sophisticated as you develop, but pay attention to your first thoughts and reactions. Contemplate your ideas rather than discarding them as the dross of ignorance. You might learn something unexpected, or you might start thinking about something that will bear fruit in years to come.
When it comes to mobile design, keep your tap targets large, my friends. Keep those tap targets large.

 

See one of Julia’s sample assignments here: CharacterAppSiteTemplate2016

 

Interview with UX Student: Shane Silver

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Shaina, or just Shane, is a UX designer here in Los Angeles. Below, she talks about her experience taking classes in UCLA Extension’s UX program.

  1. Tell us about how you got interested in UX, and why you chose UCLA Extension.

I guess in order to tell you how I got interested in UX I’ll have to start from the beginning. I graduated university with a degree in Journalism/Media Studies thinking I would become the next Barbara Walters. I was able to land a job as an obituary writer in San Diego and soon realized I was starving, literally. Sharing half a room with four other people in a two-bedroom apartment, barely able to afford rent and/or food was.. eye-opening. I taught myself how to code (thanks MySpace) and landed a gig as a back-end engineer (coding in PERL and Regular Expression). After about a year and a half I knew I wanted to transfer into Front-End Development. Being able to create websites and not stuck in Terminal’s Homebrew all day sounded like a dream come true. With a lot of late night studying and really pushing myself I was able to land my dream job at NBCUniversal/Fandango as a front-end developer. I worked there for around two-and-half years, and while I was there I was able to interact with our UX/UI Team. Immersing myself and asking millions of questions I knew UX/UI was really the career I wanted to shift into. I was fortunate enough to take UX 1: Introduction to UX Design with Thomas at UCLA Extension. While taking his course I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Easier said than done, no one wants to hire a front-end developer for a UX/UI position. I bit the bullet, took a pretty heft pay-cut, moved to the Bay Area and became a Product Designer. The year I spent up there gaining my UX knowledge and soaking up every single interaction, layout, design, feature, cat .gif was probably the hardest year I’ve endured in my life. I left the Bay Area and relocated back down to sunny So Cal and now work as a full-time UX/UI designer for a tech start-up company called Laurel & Wolf. Recently, my company sent me back to UCLA Extension to start training in native mobile app design which I took with the ever-talented, Julia. I have never been happier in my life and I really have UCLA Extension, Thomas, and Julia to thank.

  1. For someone who is new to UX, what should they know about getting started?

Think lazy. I read somewhere that the best designers are the laziest people (metaphorically, of course). And I couldn’t agree more. The best designs come from those who want to make a service/platform more intuitive, easy, and accessible for others to understand and use.

Also, do not take anything personal. When I first became a product designer I remember being told this nugget of information, not yet understanding, and my first client meeting I was ripped to shreds. I cried quite a bit when I first started out. But I picked myself up and immersed myself in the UX/UI world: signing up for daily newsletters, reading, going to meet-ups, collaborating with other designers from different industries, participating in UX challenges, and working with multiple client projects… you grow a thick skin. Clients/stakeholders aren’t here to coddle you with how “ok” your designs are. They’ve come to YOU because YOU ARE THE EXPERT. If your user flows don’t make sense or your layout doesn’t work responsively it’s not a ding to your ego it’s a challenge to your skills. And that’s the beauty of skills.. they’re ever evolving!

  1. What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

All of them! The professors (I’ve had Thomas and Julia) are the most passionate individuals you’ll ever meet. They truly love what they do and further love sharing their knowledge. This is what makes the UX/UI Community amazing. Between their amazing personalities, Thomas’ vast knowledge and Julia’s understanding of the industry and users’ psychological process, this power-house team is an unstoppable force at the UCLA Extension! Both are so humble and genuine one can not help but to become just as excited as they are about learning User Experiences and User Interfaces!

  1. What would be your dream job?

No need to dream it when I’m living it! Is it really a “job” when you love what you do?

  1. What are you working on right now?

I had the honor of redesigning our homepage which we just launched with our new company rebrand a few weeks ago. I can not be more proud of our Product and Dev Team for being able to launch such a wonderful product together!

Check out her final project for her UX: Mobile class below!

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UXD Mobile Final Pitch_Page_10

 

 

Interview with Instructor Chris Becker

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Chris Becker will be teaching Design Thinking II this upcoming Summer 2015 quarter. He’ll bring creativity, insight, and develop unique visions with all who join him in this exciting class.

We talked to Chris about his work, his class and his advice for the would-be UX Designers and beyond.

chris becker

Can you describe your current practice? What projects are you working on or hoping to start soon?

As a UX Designer / Interaction Designer / Design Researcher / Educator, my practice has been focusing on the interplay between systems (websites, app platforms, software & learning systems) and design / design education. I have been using the design thinking process as a foundation for which all of my work stems. By leaning on the process I have been able to show my clients and my class rooms that design is not only fun but has ability to be innovative and necessary.

I am currently working with early stage startup: a neuroscience based brain mentoring platform called mymntr.com out of San Francisco and have started on a responsive website redesign of a major university in Colorado.

Can you describe your Design Thinking II class that you will be teaching in Summer?

Design Thinking II will take a deeper dive into the design thinking process. We will be exploring and improving our design thinking methodology through 3 distinct design thinking cycles. 1 short cylce, 1 medium cycle, and one long cycle. Since design thinking is a way of approaching problem solving, this course will engage your critical making, out of the box thinking, creativity, and prototyping skills. All along the way we will be improving our ability to develop insights and forage through an iterative innovation cycle with a goal of producing clear and unique solutions at varying levels of finish from sketching to working prototypes.

The DTII course is built on a workshop based interaction which will require highly collaborative discussions, in class testing of ideas, and lively brainstorming / insight gathering & problem definitions. Students will leave with an nuanced knowledge of the design thinking process and 12 weeks of practice and documentation of using the methodology for solving design problems.

Design-is-a-process

What do you hope students walk away from your class with?

Design Thinking 2 students will walk away with a growing confidence in using the design thinking methodology as well as 3 projects that illustrate their usefulness and problem solving abilities. Furthermore they will grow their ability to articulate and document the design thinking process and show how they move from insight gathering through problem solving prototyping.

What advice would you have for people who are thinking about pursuing User Experience Design or a related Design field as a profession?

Some advice.
Try not to be defined by deliverables like wireframes or sitemaps. The “oh you make wireframes syndrome” diminishes the vast umbrella of impact a User Experience Designer can think about inside any company or system.

Concentrate on and show how human centered design methodologies can improve business and the impact of experience on your users.

User Experience is a relatively new and growing field of practice and it needs to be internalized by industry from a foundational perspective so be part of showing how and why it matters. Then go out and make awesome stuff.

Enroll in his Summer class Here

Instructor Spotlight: Richard Barkinskiy

hamstervalhallaWe’re thrilled to welcome HTML5 instructor Richard Barkinskiy! An outstanding graduate of our very own Advanced Web & Interaction Design program, Richard is a digital application specialist for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He specializes in WordPress website development with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, and MySQL.

Richard fields our “big four” questions here:

What brought you to this field?

Web development is in constant flux, always keeping me challenged. It requires patience, planning and determination to execute every web site. Although at times it can be frustrating, it’s never boring.

Today websites are more than just online brochures. They contain videos, interactive images, games and everything in-between. If there was ever a profession for a curious mind, I can’t think of a better one than website development.

www.discoveriesmagazine.orgTell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

Working for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has given me many opportunities to further strengthen my web development skills. One such opportunity was creating the Discoveries Magazine website in 2012.

The Discoveries Magazine publication chronicles the latest research conducted at Cedars-Sinai with moving photography, stylistic typography and engaging stories that help bring to life the work undertaken at the medical center. I was tasked to bring the same level of professional and innovation to the web.

I sought to build a website that not only took advantage of HTML5 semantics, but employed responsive website design techniques. At the time, responsive website design was just a concept being discussed by the web community, not as the de facto approach to website development it is today.

Taking a calculated risk, I presented the responsive website design idea to various stakeholders and was entrusted to create a website unlike anything they had ever seen before.

Having no prior experience building a responsive website, I did my best to soak in as much information regarding the technique. With the deadline looming, I tackled the project and launched the website about two months after its conception. The website was one of the first built with responsive website design for Cedars-Sinai and most recently earned a 2013 Eddie award for an online publication.

Why is your course, HTML5, important for my design education?www.zugotruck.com

Understanding key fundamentals of modern website design is paramount in constructing the next generation of websites. The web today is accessible on multitude of devices—from laptops and tablets to smartphones and gaming consoles. It’s now, more than ever, imperative in understanding how to code with accuracy and employ modern best practice techniques effectively in order to engage online visitors on any device that connects to the web.

Do you have sample work?

www.runforher.com

Utilizing HTML5 and CSS3, I constructed responsive landing page for the Run for Her event. The Run for Her event supports ovarian cancer research and awareness and this year has grown to include events in the Bay Area and New York in addition to Los Angeles. The homepage needed to consist of links to the various events, a feed to the event’s photo gallery and video—all while remaining responsive.

www.discoveriesmagazine.org

Incorporating “Art Directed” techniques in bringing the printed publication to the web, I have helped transform stories from print to an engaging online presence utilizing HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery.

www.pink-party.orgwww.zugotruck.com

Building the Zugo Liquitarian website was a fun project where I got to tap into my creative side and build a website for the best juice truck in Los Angeles. I utilized jQuery to help deliver Instagram’s API onto the homepage.

Additional websites: www.pink-party.org, www.hamstervalhalla.com, www.nvenv.com

Welcome, Richard!

User Experience Research: Class Outline

Many students have asked what User Experience Research will cover, and how it differs from User Experience I. So, we’ve posted the class outline below. Led by Thomas Dillmann, it’s an important tool in your UX toolbelt.

User Experience Research

Thursdays, 7-10pm

6/26 – 9/4

Class Purpose:  This class will prepare you to conduct, analyze and moderate various usability testing techniques and social research methods so that you can assess the user experience of a product and understand the needs of your target audience. This class will teach a practical skill set with hands on training. The class is intended for user experience students who need to apply testing techniques in order to improve the product they are designing. The class will focus on those testing techniques that aid user experience.

Class Goal:  Testing provides actionable data. Testing is the bases for data driven decisions and removes the bias of an expert opinion or stakeholder opinions and refocus the product on the needs and feedback of the end user. Testing is at the corner of user experience, through testing we get close to the user needs and are able to hear from them directly so that we can improve the experience to meet their needs.

Class Approach:  Usability testing and marketing research is best learned through application. The class will provide short instruction and focus on the direct practice and application texting techniques. In particular it is important to know how to to use various testing techniques in conjunction to achieve a data supported conclusion. We will be using real world applications and website as testing candidates. We will be hearing from a series of guest speakers that are experts in each of the testing techniques.

Class Topics:  Techniques that will be discussed, practiced and applied include:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heuristic_evaluation

10 Usability Heuristics – Nielsen  How to Design Test Questions

How to gather a case accurate participant samples

How to recruit participants

How to reward participants

How to extract the answers you need without leading the participant

What is a statistically relevant sample

How to design a testable prototype – what do you real need for a valid test

How to write a testing report

How to draw conclusions from test results

How to make sure you do not pollute your test results

How to make sure you do not make incorrect inferences from your test results

How to assure your internal stakeholders support the test results  Testing Techniques: Focus Group Testing

How to set up Focus Group Testing  Focus Group Formats

Focus Group Moderation Techniques Card Sorting Test

Usability Testing of Prototypes (In Person and Remote)

How to design Quantitive Surveys (When & How to Use them)

Ethnographic Research (Day in the Life) Social Media Mining  A/B Testing – Types, How To, When to use, When not to Use MVP – Testing your way to a finish product – Iterate  Individual

Class Structure:

Each class will review two –  three topics and then apply those topics to a case study in class. The students will then apply the same techniques to a personal project for their weekly assignment.  Requirement: Students should have completed UX I.  Each student will need to have a personal user experience project pre-built that can be tested and modified in class. A exit portfolio project from UX I would be sufficient or they can ask a UX II student if they can use their project for testing purposes.  Readings: Each class will have a set of internet articles to read. Companion books will be suggested but not required for reading.  For example: Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users by JAKOB NIELSEN on March 19, 2000 Class Capstone Project:  The class will conclude with a formal in person prototype testing scenario of at least three participants conducted by the students. The student will be responsible for recruiting, conducting, recording, and writing the testing report from the test. The student will present their findings and excerpt of the recording

AIGA UCLAx event photos: UX for Dummies

Check out a few photos from your  AIGA UCLAx student group’s most recent event: UX for Dummies: An Interactive Panel for Total N00bs

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Panelists (from l-r) Jose Caballer, Chris Chandler, and Lynn Boyden

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(l-r) Lara Fedoroff, Paul Mendoza, Lynn Boyden, Chris Chandler, Jose Caballer, Adam Weidenbaum

 

For more images, please visit your student group’s facebook album and be sure to “like” it in facebook to keep up to date with future events.

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