We 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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: