When I Grow Up…
I used to think that I wanted to be an Astronaut, or a Firefighter, or a Ski Racer or maybe even a Construction Worker when I grew up. What other options were there for a kid in the 80s? Those were the dream jobs. To me, any one of those jobs would have made me happy when I got older. Today, I am none of those things and I enjoy what I do more than I ever could have imagined. It is still crazy for me to think that the job I am doing now didn't exist when I was born. There is no chance that I ever said, "I want to be a User Experience Designer when I grow up." It makes me wonder what yet to exist jobs my kids will have when they grow up.
How Did I get Here?
I began my education thinking I would be an Architect. I loved all of my classes. Architecture school exposes you to some pretty amazing design thinking. We would build models and design buildings that were super conceptual and creative. It was fun. I loved it. Then I got an internship with an Architect. Things were all fine and dandy until he told me that if I really wanted to design, architecture was a bad choice. He told me, "Architecture is 10% design, 90% building codes and permits." This was also in the middle of the recession and jobs were drying up. So I took his advice and switched my major to Graphic Design at the University of Utah. The program was amazing and it helped me build a good base. But I always thought like an architect. I feel like this is what led me to User Experience Design.
We are all User Experience Designers
The connections between Architecture and UX Design are undeniable in my mind. In the end, the success of any project whether it is architectural or digital, depends on one thing… the user. If a user doesn't enjoy my product, I have failed as a Designer. This applies to everything we create. In this light, I believe that as creators we are all User Experience Designers. This connection is what makes us designers. We must act as advocates for the people.
Header image provided by New Old Stock