We all know the mantra that helping others learn what we do as user experience designers allows us to learn more about our profession. Last night I had the privilege of meeting with an individual who wanted to get a clearer view of what information architecture/interaction design was really all about. I was honored to try and help portray as much as I could about the profession, while at the same time wondering if I could really help. After all, I’m just your average Jane.
We began with some general conversation around the UX community here in NYC. Person A, as I’ll call them, had already done a great deal of research about the available resources. I was impressed! AND I actually was able to learn about some resources that I didn’t know. We then talked about tactics to trying to network within the profession. Again there was a great deal of pre-research and experience. Person A amazed me in that they took a great deal of initiative to gain the information they thought they needed to be a successful professional! With no pay, no job, no incentive except knowledge. Our last activity was to review together a task flow analysis that Person A put together. Again, something that they did on their own. Person A went out, spotted a design problem, researched it, then came up with recommendations on how to improve it. This was incredible! Someone who can’t get their foot in the door professionally but instead of giving up, finds their own problems to solve! The learning on my end that came from this last activity was how quickly my mind thinks from the user point of view, as well as how much knowledge I’ve acquired over the years regarding IA, IxD and UX. It came to me so quickly when explaining it. I was able to look back and say wow, that was a lot of work on my end. But of course there is still much more work to go. One of my most immediate goals is to focus on how to explain the process of my work more clearly.
From this I wanted to highlight the importance of what I’m calling “re-learning’. I suppose it’s really a first learning as well (if you already know it you can’t re-learn per say). Last night’s experience gave me an entirely different perspective which is allowing me and forcing me to think differently on how I can improve myself, my work and those around me. This will only make me a better user experience design and person overall, and it is a lesson that I wouldn’t have seen if I didn’t take the opportunity to “re-learn”. Thanks Person A!