Learning UX Design with General Assembly

When I joined the UX Design course offered by General Assembly, I did not know what to expect. There was a time table provided and on day one, the instructors clearly explained our learning goals and the process to get there. This was new to me, coming from a network servicing environment where the process itself is the end goal. And it got me excited and motivated to learn.

As with all things, learning isn’t as easy as it looks like. A lot of the concepts must be experienced to understand better. This was especially true for UX, hence X for experience. Seriously, though, creating and understanding a process to achieve an end goal, must be a lifehack not a lot of people know. This is probably the biggest takeaway I got from the class, among many others.

Specifically, I learned about the Double Diamond design process which reminded me a lot of the Agile design process. I guess they’re all similar. They’re either procedural or agile. I could be wrong. I’m quite new to this field. What I did find enlightening is the emphasis on the Discover stage, which I’d assume is equivalent to Agile’s Planning stage. While the process is also iterative – providing time for errors and correction, to err in the Discover stage is quite dire. I’m speaking from my own experience here.

In my case study for the class, I realized I asked the wrong questions during my Research phase and I had to remedy it by doing follow up surveys with the users, when I already had a solution designed. As a result, I ended up wasting precious time on my first solution and had to make changes. Of course, this is just small scale but imagine handling an enterprise wide project, which reminds me of a very good case study of a famous video game’s failure and relaunch: FFXIV (check it out on YouTube if you’re interested).

This brings me to a point, the class delivery was designed in a way that would push its learners to just get started. I know, very well, how to procrastinate but while in the course, I often got surprised I was able to complete the week’s homework, on time. I guess it has to do with the reminders that we get at the end of each class. For example, the instructor would tell us exactly what they expect us to complete and by when, after every session. It somehow got stuck in my brain to finish my homework every weekend. Also, the amount of work I was expected to put in every week was actually, really manageable. It can be considered fast-paced though, for some. But the fact that, probably more than 90% of our class completed our projects on time, says something. It’s doable, even with my full time job, it was doable.

Lastly, it was very rewarding. Not only did I get a much clearer view of UX design, I also got new connections in a field, I’m very new to. Imagine having learned your ABCs and entering nursery with faces you are familiar with. I feel ready to take on the world, that’s what it is.

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