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What is UX?

UX stands for User Experience and as a UX Designer it is my job to make things as easy as possible for the user while helping the business achive its goals.

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Recent Posts

Leadership: How to Inspire and Enable Your Team

This week I attended my last event of the year, back at General Assembly in London - Leadership: How to Inspire and Enable Your Team.

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Book Review - Predictably Irrational

I recently received a £5 Amazon token for filling out a survey. But what to spend it on? Alan Cooper of About Face fame suggested reading anything by Dan Ariely, so I looked him up.

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A CV With No Name

This week on Twitter I saw a comment suggesting that ladies should not include their names on their CVs to reduce the chances of being discriminated against when applying for jobs.

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Design Thinking

I have seen the phrase Design Thinking cropping up a lot all over the place recently and yet no one seems to be able to tell me what it is.

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UX Bournemouth 4

This week I tried something a little different. Instead of going to London for a UX meetup I went to Bournemouth for UX Bournemouth 4. Experience UX are an agency based in Bournemouth and set this event up about a year ago.

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Testing a Product Page

I have just spent the last five months working on a redesign of our product description page. It is a really interesting project not just because we have been unable to update the website for a couple of years, but also because of the constraints we are working to.

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Microsoft OneNote

I really enjoy my job. I love the people and the variety of projects I get to work on. But this does have its own problems.

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Usability Testing

One of my favourite parts of my job is when I get to speak to our customers to see how we can help them have the best experience possible on our website. So when the team working on the App asked me to organise a usability test for them I jumped at the chance.

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LTUX - Leadership: Advice to Your Younger Self

I love the LTUX leadership events. They are so inspiring and inspirational and I have been to all of them so far so I could not miss this one titled 'Leadership: Advice to Your Younger Self'.

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LTUX - Machine Learning and Fairness

This weeks LTUX event, Machine Learning and Fairness, was held at the Google offices and with a title like that I knew we would be in for a challenging evening; I was not wrong.

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Book Review - The Design Studio Method

I have run a few design studios in the past, but they have always been pretty fast and basic. (A design studio is a way of getting a group to design something but without the problems of design-by-committee or groupthink.)

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The Ethics of UX Design

I have been reading a lot recently about the ethics of design.

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Book Review - Nudge

I had heard a little bit about how you can use nudges to help people make better choices so I was interested to read Thaler & Sunstein’s Nudge.

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Prototyping a Dog Flap

According to IDEO you can prototype anything so I thought I would put it to the test.

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Communicating Across the Company

I was already aware that when making changes to the website it is always sensible to talk to people across the business to make sure they are aware. For instance you want Customer Services to be aware so that if they suddenly start getting calls about an issue they will firstly let us know as soon as possible, and secondly know what has changed so they can help customers.

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Show Some Passion

When I go to job interviews I sit on my hands. Otherwise I have a tendency to get a bit too animated with hands flying all over the place. I just cannot help myself because I am really passionate about what I do and it tends to show.

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Guerilla Testing

After months of working on improving the Wiggle website navigation it was time to test it with real users. This is the part of my job I love the most, but get to do the least.

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UXPA - What AI means for UX

This months UXPA event was titled 'What AI means for UX'. While Hollywood encourages us to see AI (Artificial Intelligence) as evil and expects it to be the downfall of the human race, others believe it will actually save us. However you view it there is no denighing it is already with us, if hidden in most cases, and it is the job of us UXs to make sure we do not design an intelligence that will destroy us. Best to learn all I can now then.

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Pet Insurance

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I adopted a rescue dog (hence why I’ve been a little quiet on here). Milo is a three year old Lab cross, who came microchipped, vaccinated, neutered and with one month’s free pet insurance.

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Tree Jacking

I am currently working on a project to improve the navigation of the Wiggle web site. This means coming up with a hierarchy which helps our customers find the products they are looking for, helps our buyers find sensible places to put new products and with a combination of the two an improved search function. We then need to come up with an interaction which is easy to use on both desktop and mobile.

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Onboarding

As a UX designer I am very aware of the importance of onboarding your user. This was most important at my last job where I was working on a ticketing app, but is still important at my current job in retail, even if it is different.

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Book Review - Universal Principles of Design

When I finished my General Assembly course I treated myself to a copy of Universal Methods of Design which is a great book. However recently I have been thinking that I could do with improving my knowledge of other design principles from across other design disciplines, which is where its sister book Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler comes in.

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Gantry Signs

Now that I am not working in London anymore I have a much quicker commute, assuming there are no problems on the roads. So while I might not get as much reading done as I used to with over two hours on the train each day, I do get to spend more time at home which is brilliant.

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UXPA - Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2017

This months UXPA meeting celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day with four great speakers covering all sides of accessibility.

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Card Sorting

Over the last couple of weeks I have been in charge of our card sorting project. This is the first part of a bigger project looking at the navigation of the Wiggle website.

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Book Review - The Crossroads of Should and Must

This book review is not for a UX book, but for one that I think a lot of people will get a lot from. It is for anyone who wishes they could quit their day job and spend the time doing something else instead, whether that be creating something or doing some other job - maybe too low paying to support you, but that would fill that gap in you.

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An Ethnographic Field Study

Ever since I started reading about UX I have been really interested in a thing called an ethnographic field study. This is where you get to immerse yourself in the world of your user by sitting with them at their desk as they work, or going out on a job with them - if they drive a lorry you get to sit in the cab and see how delieveries work, for instance.

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Bad UX - Banking a cheque

Imagine you have a cheque to bank. It is for a reasonable amount of money and you need it in your account ASAP as you have money coming out soon for bills which this cheque is meant to cover.

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RNIB Technology Support Squad

Last year I joined the RNIB Tech Support Squad. I do not have any particular association with the RNIB, do not have any vision problems (yet) or know anyone with any but when I saw what the Tech Support Squad do, I though ‘I can do that!’

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Book Review - Undercover User Experience Design

This week I was reading Undercover User Experience Design by Cennydd Bowles and James Box.

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UXPA - How to Develop a Creative Culture Within a Company

This months UXPA event was called 'How to develop a creative culture within a company', which really interested my team at work. Sadly they could not make it, so I was sent to report back.

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International Womens Day 2017

This months Ladies that UX event was a little earlier in the month than normal so we could celebrate International Women's Day. They had also teamed up with General Assembly and Expose UX to give us yet another inspiring event.

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Why Should We Do Research?

We spent the last 5 months of 2016 trying to move house. I was very lucky to be able to leave a lot of the process to my husband to organise as we thought it best to have just one point of contact between us.

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Book Review - Hippo The Human Focused Digital Book

For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive Hippo The Human Focused Digital Book by Pete Trainor. I received a good collection of books for Christmas (not all UX focused) and so it joined the pile to be read some time this year.

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UXPA - What happens next in UX Design

This month's UXPA event was looking at What Happens Next in UX Design. We had two excellent speakers, Pete Trainor and Ben Hart.

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Using Google Maps as a sat nav

Having lived in our new house for about a month now we have a pretty good idea of the things we want to do to make it perfect. A big hammer and Gumtree have been helping us along.

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The Best Advice

How often have you been asked to do something new but it looks really hard so you have put it off or tried to get out of doing it. I know I have.

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Living without the internet (again)

This month we finally moved house after five months of organising. It was grand to be in and unpacking, but because the previous owner had Cable and we do not we ended up living for six days without internet, TV, or phone and due to the rural location we do not have much mobile signal either.

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UXPA - UX and Video Games

After a break for Christmas UXPA were back with an event called UX and Video Games.

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UX Mugs

Around Christmas time I went to see my parents who said they had something I might like. In the depths of packing to move, a tiny part of me could not help but think about how I was supposed to be getting rid of things before we moved not adding!

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UX Box

One morning this week I walked into the office to find silver boxes on every desk.

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Should Designers Code?

The question of whether designers should code or not comes up on a regular basis. I have seen it in blog posts, on Twitter, on podcasts and at meet ups. I have heard both sides of the argument and now I will pitch in with my thoughts on the subject.

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Compromises and Constraints

With our app live in LA, people could now buy tickets on our app to travel on the train. But how would they get home from the station? This question prompted Metrolink to ask for links within the app for Uber and Lyft and space for anything else that might become an option in the future.

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LTUX - Finding Your Leadership Style

Two years ago I attended my first Ladies that UX event. I had left work early and felt pretty nervous going to an event where I would not know anyone or even really know the subject. Should I really be attending as I was not a UXer?

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Book Review - A Web for Everyone

The internet is an amazing thing, as are all the digital products and devices that we all use on a daily basis. But what is even more amazing is how these devices and products can improve the lives of people across the world.

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Awareness Days

This week we celebrate World Usability Day. This is a day of events around the world bringing ‘together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use’ to quote the website.

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Enlarged Text

When I was first asked to look at the accessibility of our products I started by researching accessibility in apps.

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UXPA - The Future of UI

This months UXPA event was held at Facebook and featured four really great speakers all on the subject of The Future of UI.

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Book Review - About Face

If you are interested in interaction design, About Face - The Essentials of Interaction Design, is the text book for you.

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Dyslexia and Me

As a child at school I was diagnosed as being mildly dyslexic, which at the time meant being pulled out of class on a Wednesday morning to do spelling exercises.

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Uber - Good or bad?

Until last night I had not tried Uber. I tend to use the tube or walk when I am in London, or drive myself when I am at home.

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UXPA - An evening with Rolf Molich

This month UXPA was at the Moo offices and had Rolf Molich speaking to us. He worked with Jakob Nielsen to come up with the heuristic evaluation criteria which are used to evaluate websites for usability.

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LTUX - Designing with Kids

After a break for the summer Ladies that UX were back. And what a great event to lead with.

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Imposter Syndrome

As a designer I am quite aware of the problem of Imposter Syndrome and see many articles about how it can be overcome.

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Design Disruptors

A year nearly to the day that I started studying with General Assembly and I was back. But this time things were a bit different. This time I already had the job title UX Designer, we were in their brand new swanky office space in Whitechaple and rather than a course we were there to watch a film.

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Universial Design 2016 York

I have been very luck this week to attend the Universal Design conference held on the massive campus of the University of York. I had a fantastic four days and learnt a lot. In fact I am still processing everything and trying to work out what to do with it all.

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Book Review - How to Make Sense of Any Mess

If you want to work in UX, at some point you are going to come across IA or Information Architecture. This started out in library sciences looking at how to organise information and books, and has move across to the internet to organise digital information.

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The Bin

We have recently moved into a new office. It is very nice (and much better than where we were) but it is taking a little while to sort ourselves out. After all it is not just about unpacking the things we bought with us, but getting used to a new layout and new furniture as we have more room now.

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Personalising reminders

When building things for many different people, how do you make sure it covers all their requirements? Especially when there might be conflict between different groups.

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UXPA - The Changing Nature of Automotive UX

This months UXPA meeting was called The Changing Nature of Automotive UX, hosted by Unruly and curated by the HCDI team at Brunel University.

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Book Review - The Elements of User Experience

Today I am looking at Jesse James Garrett's The Elements of User Experience. If you are into UX and have not heard of Jesse James Garrett go look him up now!

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LTUX - International Research part 2

Last October the Ladies that UX went to the Google offices to hear about how their researchers conduct international research. It was a facinating event and we all agreed we wanted to know more!

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How a little bit of UX could have helped David Cameron

On the 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU. This single question - "should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?" which seemed simple enough at the time has had massive knock on affects across the globe on financial markets and currency values and Scotland saying it may well hold its own referendum on the subject.

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LTUX and UX Jam 2

I have been attending the Ladies that UX meet ups for a good year and a half now and really enjoy them. But it can sometime be a bit of a pain having to get across London to the venue in time. This was especially the case when I was travelling in from Guildford to attend them.

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Educating my colleagues

A couple of months ago I happened to mention to my manager that I am really interested in accessibility issues and how we can improve things within the digital world. I think I was trying to convince him to send me to an accessibility conference at the time.

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UXPA and Volunteering

This months UXPA event was a career fair. Held in the Ticketmaster offices, about 20 companies looking for UX designers and researchers filled the kitchen area, while downstairs CV and portfolio workshops were being held by Futureheads and Zebra People and Sam from General Assembly gave a talk on 'Hacks to getting hired'.

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Design Studio

Recently people in my office have walked past one of our glass fronted meeting rooms to find a small group of us laying on the floor drawing (there is no table in this room). I know the first time we did this some people even came and took photos!

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Book Review - Universal Methods of Design

As someone who still has much to learn about UX Design and research I am always looking for reference books which will help me out.

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LTUX - Access-ability: Inclusive Design

This evening I was back at Atos for the Ladies that UX meeting. Still on the subject of accessibility after last weeks Global Accessibility Awareness Day it was slightly different from the other events I had attended.

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Office Plants

I love nature and being outside and my first choice of career was Garden Designer after Vet. So when my company moved to a new office where we actually have windows the first thing I did was get a plant for our window. First to join us was a peace lilly, swiftly followed by a house leek, cactus and orchid.

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UXPA Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2016

Having spent the day at Atos for their Global Accessibility Awareness Day Event, I then travelled across London to the Daily Mail for the UXPA event on the same subject.

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Atos Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2016

19 May was Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) this year and I was lucky enough to spend it at Atos at their day event where we heard from a wide range of speakers on a wide range of subjects around not just creating accessible products but making our work environment and practices accessible too.

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Side Projects

Working in the tech industry, even as a designer, there is a lot of talk about side projects.

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Inside Intercom

I am always on the look out for interesting events to attend, so when the Intercom newsletter dropped into my mail box a month or so ago with an event about making better products, I signed up.

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Temporary Able Bodied (TAB)

So far in my life I have been incredibly lucky. Except for a short stay in hospital when I was 10 I have always been fit and healthy and able to do anything I set my mind to. But I realise this will not always be the case as I get older.

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UXPA - Hot Off The Press

This months UXPA meeting was held on 17th floor of the News UK building. So with amazing views across London we listen to 4 speakers talk about their thoughts or experiences of UX in news media.

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LTUX - UX Jam part 2

This week I was back at Rated people for the Ladies that UX, UX Jam part 2. Having learnt about volunteering with a charity last month, this time we were actually going to put it in to practice.

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Affordances and Signifiers

As a designer it is important for me to design things that people can work out how to use without them needing a pop up box explaining what to do every time, after all you can not do this with a pair of scissors or a door.

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Book Review - Don't Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Are you thinking about running some usability tests on your digital product? Are you unsure where to start? Then today's books (yep two for the price of one) are for you.

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Get the Picture - Introduction to Infographics

This week I was back at General Assembly to learn about Infographics in an evening session run by Alan Rutter from Clever Boxer.

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Small Jobs - Device Switching

I recently read somewhere that small projects can be more work than big projects but with less pay, and although I have worked on all sized projects and know this to be true I think one of my recent projects shows this well.

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UXPA - UX Trends 2016

This months UXPA meeting was themed round UX Trends for 2016.

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LTUX - UX Jam part 1

This months Ladies that UX meeting was held at the offices of Rated People and was as much to celebrate the groups 2nd birthday as to talk about how to use our skills for charities and non for profit organisations.

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Reporting Back

This week I went back to General Assembly to see the latest group of students on the UXDI11 course.

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Book Review - The Best Interface Is No Interface

I am not sure when I first heard about this book, but it was only when I heard an interview with Golden Krishna on the Boag World podcast that I became really interested. They talked about the book and discussed some of the ideas in it and I found myself wanting to know more.

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UXPA - and now for something completely difficult

This evenings event was held at the funky offices of Unruly and covered the subject of UX challenges.

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Apple Watch

I like Apple. I think their products are good and their marketing done well. I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad and I love them both.

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LTUX - Lightning Talks

I have been attending the Ladies that UX London meet ups, once a month, for over a year now. It is a great group which made me feel so welcome when I joined, before I was really a UX designer.

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Designing for Multiple Devices

This week I was back with General Assembly for an evening class. Although I have spent a good number of years working on websites, and considering I am now working on mobile apps, I know there is still much more I can learn about designing for devices. So when I saw the class 'Designing for Multiple Devices' I thought it might be a good way to improve my knowledge, especially as this seems to be the way technology is moving now.

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Book Review - The User Experience Team of One

When I first found out about UX, I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. Although the internet is an amazing resource with many articles, blogs and videos to use to your advantage, I do love a book. I love how you can take your time with it and mark important sections for reference later and how you can carry them anywhere and you do not need an internet connection to use them (perfect for the train then).

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Going off Grid

The nice thing about starting out at a new company is being able to reinvent yourself a bit and leave some of the old stuff behind. For instance if I had gone back to my old job after my training with General Assembly I know that people would have still contacted me about issues they were having putting content up on the website and I would have felt obliged to help. At least in my new job I am only expected to do UX stuff.

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Examples of bad UX - changing my mobile phone

In my post 'What is UX?', I talk about the problems a company might have if each department is left to look after their own part of the website and the UX within these pages, instead of having an over arching UX strategy. I was recently lucky enough to experience just such a problem for myself.

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Should you do a General Assembly UX course?

Yes. But also maybe no. Let me explain.

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UXDI Week 10: 2 - 6 Nov 2015

So there it is 10 weeks done and UXDI complete. Except it’s not really - now the hard work begins as we sort out our portfolios and start to look for jobs.

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UXDI Week 9: 26 - 30 Oct 2015

Another busy week as we went into the second week of our client project. This week was all about design and actually started on Sunday when we spent the day at Ben’s house working on a first rough paper prototype.

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UXDI Week 8: 19 - 23 Oct 2015

This week has flown by but its gone really well. Week 8 was probably the one I was most worried about. For the last 3 weeks of the UXDI course we are working on a client project - this time with a real-life company who really do need our help.

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UXDI Week 7: 12 - 16 Oct 2015

This week was Front End Web Development (FEWD) week.

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UXDI Week 6: 5 - 9 Oct 2015

Week 6 was all about Visual Design and after the last 5 weeks it was a nice change. There was still much to learn, but it was a little less intense.

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UXDI Week 5: 28 Sept - 2 Oct 2015

Hello October! Hello week 5! Where did September go?! I think this has been the most difficult week so far of UXDI. Second week of project 3 and everyone is feeling the pressure.

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UXDI Week 4: 21 - 25 Sept 2015

Week 4 and I think everyone is starting to feel it a bit. We are all tired and some of us are ill (yep me too) and we’ve had our first drop out taking us down to 17 students. (I think this was a joint decision as I don’t think her English was good enough for the pace of the class)

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UXDI Week 3: 14 - 18 Sept 2015

So that was week 3 and project 2. It wasn’t quite as intense as week 1 and 2 in the sense that there were a few less lectures but there was still a tonne to do.

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UXDI Week 2: 7 - 11 Sept 2015

So that was week 2. It didn’t feel like week 2, we’ve done so much that each time Andrew says something like ‘don’t worry about that now, we’ll cover it later, remember its only week 2’, I am shocked every time.

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UXDI Week 1: 31 Aug - 4 Sept 2015

It’s a week since I started my new adventure on UXDI (User Experience Design Immersive) with General Assembly (GA). It doesn’t feel like a week, it feels more like a year with all the information and activities they have packed into it.

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What is UX?

UX stands for User Experience and as a UX Designer it is my job to make things as easy as possible for the user while helping the business achive its goals.

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