Looking for UX career advice.


Benwick

New Member
Hi all,
I've just graduated with a Digital Media degree this summer. This has given me a broad set of design, animation and research skills, and also some coding knowledge. I feel like this combination of interests is perfect for a UX job.

I've spent the last few months looking for junior UX jobs in Leeds (I'm not too geographically flexible, a few have cropped up in Manchester and London, but I can't move out). All of the jobs in Leeds are contract, intermediate, or senior positions.

I'm wondering whether to wait it out for a grad scheme / a lucky junior posting, or would it be at all beneficial to take a more general graphic design / motion design job for a few years in order to gain some experience in the industry, before looking at more intermediate roles? I'm not sure if this experience would help a UX career at all.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ben
 

fisicx

Active Member
UX is a huge and complex topic that has little to do with digital media.

For example, do you know about a/b split testing, eyetracking, information flows, CTA optimisation, dwell times and bounce, repetition and iteration? Can you write lead generating copy, know how measure acquisition cycles and so on? This are just some of the many UX areas.

UX is not design. UX is a scientific study.

This is a good place to begin: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
As fisicx said, UX is more about study, pyschology and analytics, there's a little bit of crossover with actual visual design but it's more theory and research based. If you've just graduated, I'd definitely recommend a more general design role for the time being. You may not like UX design and will likely struggle to find a role in that field without prior experience (unless it's a trainee role, or they're prepared to train you up to junior). Get a job, get experience, meet people and see what you enjoy designing. A job in a digital/web studio is a good bet, you may be able to get some UX-training from them if they're lacking that role.

You can however build up for your skillset to include UX (or at least aspects of UX). This is what I do, I trained as a general graphic designer, before moving into a primarily digital design role (web, apps, interfaces, etc). I'm not officially trained as a UX deisgner so I don't really like to refer to myself as one. Instead I say my design process is UX/usability-lead. Really this is just a fancy way of saying I design all my websites from scratch based on the end-users needs or goals, rather than simply modifying a template or theme. :)

A lot of web and interface usability design simply comes down to common sense and understanding how people interact with interfaces. This is where a site like NNGroup is useful, they publish articles based on actual testing and research that often debunks or enforces the best design pattern to use in certain situations. Definitely have a read through.
 

fisicx

Active Member
I've just picked up a client who has a new design focused website. It looks really great but his bounce rate is over 80%. I pointed out some the more obvious flaws and he had a lightbulb moment. We have removed nearly all the fancy design elements and now have a very simple, almost austere site that focusses on the needs of the visitor. The customer journey is now very clear and his bounce rate is down to about 20% and conversion are much better. And because he has three analytics systems he can look at each visitor in detail. This includes heatmaps, click trails and path analysis.

As @Paul Murray suggest's it's all about science and psychology. The subject is fascinating but be prepared to do a lot of reading. You can't learn UX from youtube videos.
 

Benwick

New Member
Thanks for your replies guys. Very insightful.
I have seen the odd junior posting, which is the only reason I was considering a UX role. By saying my skills were "perfect" I certainly didn't mean that I feel capable of anything more substantial. My course was at a Russell Group university and so we spent almost equal amounts of time researching, testing and theorizing as we did designing, which I felt would be useful for a junior UX role.

I have enjoyed the idea of working in a smaller company where I would be able to develop a lot of my interests (web design, motion design, etc), instead of attempting to specialize so early on in my career. This will give me a chance to see what I really enjoy in an agency environment.

Thanks again for your advice.
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
I have enjoyed the idea of working in a smaller company where I would be able to develop a lot of my interests (web design, motion design, etc), instead of attempting to specialize so early on in my career. This will give me a chance to see what I really enjoy in an agency environment.
I can't speak for everyone, but I really prefer working in smaller studios doing a bit of everything. You learn a lot, mainly because you have to just figure out how to do something and it gives you a really broad skillset. There is the whole 'jack of all trades, master of none' argument, but I prefer to think of it as being adaptable, which is really enticing to a potential employer.
 
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