4 Highlights from my first year as a UX/UI Designer at Elephants Can Dance!
It’s now been a year since I joined the team at Elephants Can Dance as a UX/UI intern and I can honestly say that the experience has helped me grow and learn in ways that studying at university never could.
As someone new to the industry, I would often hear terms thrown around that I didn’t fully understand — such as human-centred design, data-driven communications, personalisation, and even customer experience along with all the related acronyms! Although I was overwhelmed at first, my mentors and colleagues at ECD gave me the relevant information and helped me become more knowledgeable, in addition to introducing me to the various processes, platforms and workflow of a digital agency.
After an incredible 3 month paid internship, I was given the opportunity to join the team full time as a UX/UI designer. Although it has only been a year since I joined, my industry and design knowledge has expanded exponentially!
1. Introduction to User Experience Design
Coming into my role, I understood user interface design. I didn’t however, have much of an understanding of what user experience design was or what impact designing this way could have.
“What is UX design?” and “What does a UX designer even do?” — these are some questions I’d regularly get asked and initially I had some trouble explaining it well. It’s about the “user experience” I’d say and that would be about it.
It wasn’t until Nick (Design Director and Head of UX) began introducing me to UX design that I began understanding why it is an important part of the human-centred design process. I learnt that UX design helps define user needs, behaviours and their interactions with a product/service. We look at its ease of use and accessibility. And it is through this UX design process that we're able to define user interface features that could elevate the experience and create the final touches needed in the design process.
2. The importance of collaboration
Working at ECD has also taught me the importance of collaboration. By promoting communication between teams, workplaces are able to avoid time-consuming misunderstandings. I learnt that as a team we can easily think ahead and solve problems together, often before they occur, which is why we make an effort at ECD to understand different views on how a problem can be tackled.
BA’s, developers and designers collaborate throughout the project. This avoids frustrations - particularly where someone doesn't understand the possibilities, limitations or requirements. By understanding each other, teams are able to create a better understanding of the user and therefore the product's needs.
3. Having a mentor
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Nick who has been a great mentor to me over the past year. There are endless benefits having someone so senior in the industry guide you on a daily basis. Nick has taught me the importance of crafting experiences that are rewarding not only for the user but also for the business. By shadowing him and getting involved in client projects from day one, I’ve been exposed to a variety of challenges, industries and approaches to solving problems. I also had the chance to refine my design skills and learn about how UX and CX are related, what experiments are within UX and even QA testing!
4. Always learning
ECD has helped me realize the vast amount of knowledge that still needs to be learned within the industry. It is a reminder that you can never stop learning, even if at times it feels overwhelming. But the more you practise something the easier it gets!
I feel like I’ve learned sooo much in the last year but I’m excited about and looking forward to what the next few years bring!