We’ll present the final talk in our series on Tuesday, August 18 at 12pm.
Room to Grow: 2020’s Biggest Tech Takeaways from the Perspective of UX
2020 has shown us that the tech world has much to think about. Join Diana Barraza, UCLA Extension Instructor and Head of User Experience at Mesh Communities as they walk through some of the challenges tech must react to during these unprecedented times. From accountability of social platforms to truly protect their most marginalized users to how junior designers can best weather the storm, Diana will present a blueprint for a better tech outlook.
Diana Barraza is a UX and visual designer with over 10 years of experience in technology. Specializing in mobile and enterprise design, Diana currently ideates how to best connect likeminded people as Head of User Experience at Mesh Communities. Previously with Heal–an in-home, doctor on-demand provider–Diana’s work contributed to Heal being named App of the Day in the App Store. With an academic background rooted in the social sciences and arts, Diana is eager to share her knowledge and experiences as an educator at UCLA Extension. Diana is also proudly Latinx and an LA native.
Join us for a free information session about the Design Communication Arts, User Experience and Visual Arts Programs. Learn about career pathways and creative outlets and meet a few of the people involved with the programs.
Join us over lunch for a series of live talks and presentations in the core academic areas of the Visual Arts. Each week we feature a distinguished instructor and dive into their area of expertise. Areas of focus for this series include Photography, Art History, User Experience (UX), Design, Studio Arts, and VR. Sessions begin at 12pm, last between 60-90 minutes, and are free and interactive. Bring your ideas and questions. Enroll for free today!
Tell us about how you got interested in user experience design and what brought you to the UX Certificate.
I am always interested in design, especially digital product design. However, I found that creative work is usually subjective, meaning that it always partly depends on each person’s experience and perspective and it is not easy to achieve the best design solution.
After reading about the UX design certificate of UCLA Extension, I know right away that this is what I was looking for and I wanted to learn in more detail to develop and enhance my design capability. I gained not only visual problem-solving skills but also research and analytical skills to validate my work.
What’s something about UX design that beginning students might not realize?
I notice that most people usually focus on qualitative data such as user interviews or user testing and overlook the importance of quantitative data. Both types of data could complement each other and lead to a more preferable design solution.
Knowing the limitation of the technology is also important. It is very beneficial to know some basic coding skills to know what is feasible and to be able to communicate with the web development team.
What was your favorite course and why?
I enjoyed studying many courses here, however, User Experience II: Iteration is my favorite course.I had a chance to learn about service design which is challenging and enjoyable. I learned to look beyond the computer or mobile screens and was able to pay more attention to the end-to-end experience for a business.
Students also had a chance to work together as a team which was a valuable experience because people from different countries and different backgrounds can exchange views and experience with each other.
If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream job, who are they, and what’s the job?
A company that provides digital product design service such as an application or website design which focuses mainly on creating the best experience for their users both visually and usability and work closely with the clients and their users for the best design outcomes.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
My goal in 5 years is to be a well known senior UX designer in an agency or a tech company. I also have a strong passion for teaching, so I also would like to teach design or other subjects as much as I can and hopefully have my own academic institution one day.
Students, please join us on the 4th floor of 1010 Westwood Center this evening from 6-8p for the opening reception of It’s Your Show 2019! Friends and family are welcome to join you. Light refreshments will be served. Let’s celebrate!
“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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.